Using social media in your 4-H club
Looking for another way to keep everyone in your 4-H club connected? Learn simple ways to a great social media presence for your club.
March 26, 2018 - Author: Christine Heverly, Christine Heverly, Michigan State University Extension
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat can all seem like overwhelming terms, especially when 4-H leaders wonder if they have time for one more thing. In actuality, using social media tools can provide an easy way to keep leaders, youth and parents connected to what is happening in the club and help plan upcoming activities. Using social media is one more tool a 4-H leader can help keep everyone up-to-date on what is happening in the group, promote events or activities, and build a sense of community for members, leaders and families.
Research shows that social media is a huge part of the lives of teenagers and adults. According to “Teens, Social Media and Technology Overview 2015” from the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens reported going online daily while 24 percent reported they were online almost constantly. In addition, according to Pew Research Center’s “Social Media Update 2016,” a majority of American adults utilize social media in some form.
Currently, Facebook has the widest range of age demographics, so it would be a good starting point for clubs. On Facebook, clubs can create group pages where everyone from the club could be invited to join. Group pages are meant to foster group discussion amongst individuals around a particular topic area. Michigan State University Extension recommends 4-H clubs utilize closed groups, that way the information being shared is only available to members of the group, but anyone can find the group page.
Another great aspect of utilizing groups as a way to communicate information for the club is the 4-H leader can schedule posts ahead of time. The leader could take the time to schedule a reminder post about all meetings the day before so everyone can get a quick reminder.
Using social media in a 4-H club shouldn’t be hard. Here are four tips to consider.
- Use what the families in your club are using. If they are not using the social media tool you are thinking of using, your life will not be any easier. Find the tool that works best for you club and use that. If people are already using it, they are more likely to use it to help enhance their 4‐H experience. They will see the things you or others in the club are posting.
- Don’t do it alone; engage youth and other leaders to help share information on your club’s social media tools. Have the club secretary post the meeting reminders, have project leaders post about upcoming project meetings or have youth share pictures of what projects they are working on. You don’t have to be the only person posting information, so help everyone feel comfortable to post.
- Set guidelines for everyone in your club on what they can expect to see and what is appropriate and inappropriate. If everyone knows from the start, you won’t have to be moderating what everyone is posting. If someone forgets, remind them and let them know this is a tool to help everyone communicate in the club, and if we can’t use it effectively then we won’t use it all.
- Remember, this is just one tool, not the only the tool. Not everyone is communicating through social media, so you will still need to utilize email, text, etc.—others ways to share information on what is happening in the club.