Some social media platforms bolster others–especially those designed to share information. Others are mutually compatible.
If you need a quick overview of what exactly social media is, then let me recommend this post: Definition of social media
This will also provide you a brief overview of some of the platforms.
In other words, you can maximize what you are trying to do with your club’s social media by utilizing overlapping social media platforms.
TWITTER Twitter is a real-time social media platform can share up to 140 characters of text, live links, and photos. It be linked to Facebook–as status updates. It is one of the most effective sites at utilizing hashtags. (What’s a hashtag? Learn about it here: http://rotary7620.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/lets-get-people-talking-about-7620rotacon/.) Because live-time tweeting and hashtags go so well together, Twitter is a great way to share information about events–equally well for sporting events or Rotary events! It can be used to share links to other sites as well. (For more on Twitter: http://rotary7620.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/follow-rotary-district-7620-on-twitter/.)
YouTube Google-owned YouTube is a video sharing site. Videos you make about your club, your projects, your beneficiaries of club projects, and about your events can be uploaded onto YouTube and shared with the world. YouTube videos work well on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Additionally, links to YouTube videos can be shared with these platforms and Twitter, or URLs (that is the video’s web address) can be shared in e-mails or in print materials–though this is less effective, obviously. As a club you can set up your own YouTube channel.
INSTAGRAM Instagram is a photoblog site. Most frequently added to mobile devices (phones or tablets) it allows users to post photos with filters that create special effects. It links harmoniously with Facebook (who owns the platform), can be searched with hashtags, and can be used with links to other platforms. In other words, it can be a means for providing visual content in conjunction with other platforms.
Google+ users may find that Flicker or Picasa works better as both photo options are owned by Google. (Picasa has some additional editing operations.) Both of these also double as photo storage sites and require a fee at a certain point, but they work harmoniously with Google+. They are not their own photoblogging sites as is Instagram.
Tumblr functions as a blogging/photoblogging site. It works best if the content emphasizes images over text, but the text feature exists with Tumblr that does not exist with Instagram. This is another site that can complement an existing presence on another platform, but I would not recommend it as a stand-alone attempt.
Whether this is more useful or as useful as a post on the other platforms (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn) really depends on whether or not you have an audience in the Tumblr community, and the same applies to Instagram. On the other hand, if your people are active with social media, then broadening the scope of your reach onto other platforms will be fruitful, because it comes down to interactions that draw the attention of people beyond your club.
Pinterest Pinterest is a social media platform that operates like a digital cork board where you pin things that are of interest to you. (Note, the legality of this, and to lesser extent the other social media platforms that allow you to share other peoples’ content as your own, is still up in the air. In other words, the brave new world of social media has yet to be subject to rules the way print, radio, and TV have. So for now, carry on.) This means you can pin websites and pages that have content you find interesting and you can label your boards to organize the content. How can your club use this? Create boards that focus on “community service” and “Rotary service.” You can set up a board for Polio Plus and fundraising ideas (or PR ideas for social media). Again, the more active your members on the platform the more likely this takes off, but it can be a great way to fuel club ideas and help communities become more aware of Rotary and your club specifically as a means for giving back.
Foursquare A social media platform like Foursquare utilizes check-ins, or people digitally notating where they are. Many businesses have used this to run specials and drive people in the door. This is exactly what Rotarians can do with it. For example, as you are getting club members to invite folks in for an open house to get members, you can create a check in option that rewards the first five individuals to check in at that open house. Foursquare also integrates with the other major platforms, so if I have my Foursquare linked to my Facebook and I check in at your open house, it creates visibility across two platforms. The same tactics can be applied to fundraising events and service projects.
These provide a quick overview of some of the most popular social media platforms that can help extend your visibility and outreach. WordPress and Blogger are also popular blogging sites that can be used to enhance your presence on the web. For more resources on social media platforms, consider using the website About Social Media Today and the social media pages at Mashable, or simply Google your question. For example, Googling non-profits and Foursquare returned this link: How Nonprofits Can Get the Most out of Foursquare. Just be aware that Google, as with most things on the web, bows first to popularity and secondly to any other criteria–including accuracy.
Are you on one of these social media platforms? Do you have a useful experience or an appraisal you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below!