ABC of social media

Publikálva: 2020. június 29.

EIONET is happy to give a summarization of the presentation of Gülçin Karadeniz (EEA Communications Programme) titled “ABC of social media – understanding social media” taken on the 18th of June, 2020. We thank her great contribution!

Working with social media does not stand in itself; it should be taken into context. The basic question to be answered is: Why do we communicate? Just because we have to, is it a task? Or do we have a purpose, an objective? Do I want somebody to act differently? Maybe I want somebody to do something? I want people to collect plastic rubbish? Or maybe I want somebody definitely not to do something? I want people not to buy plastic? Who can make that difference?

Who do we want to reach? Policy makers? Or citizens?

What does this person need for taking action? Do I have what is needed to make this person take action? Maybe your institution do not have the thing that could make an effect on the target group. For example a switch to renewables is not only saying that renewables are good, but it could be about funding for example.

One should listen and monitor to the conversation before join. Who are the actors? What do they do? When? When should I act? Timing is also makes a big difference. What are the needs, the values, the habits? To map this, social media can greatly help. What language and style do they use? Do they use short sentences or longer ones? If we do not use their language and style, or give too much information, that may be disturbing. Is it one by one communication? Social media may help in gaining relevant information.

For example raising awareness campaign can go on social media about consumption behaviour, but if it does not aim their concerns, if it does not use their language, in the format that they like, then it will not be working well.

This activity is far from only publishing and waiting. We have to asking them questions.

Dialogue, conversation. Listening.

What is purpose? If, for example it is stopping people eating meat, then maybe social media is not the right way to approaching it. Then it is maybe supermarkets or show business organizations and so on.

Communication is also about thrust. Will people believe us? It is also about brand building. When is the communication credible? It is about quality, it is about being transparent. It is about an institution that is accessible. Where is the information from? What is fake, and what is real? Social media is not necessarily the reality.

Social media is not necessarily the reality.

The way social media operates: not everybody sees everything. It is similar to the google search engine: it does not find everything. The algorithms, the rules of the games are kept changed. Is it about the institution? Is it about the keywords?

EEA Communication Framework objectives

©Istvan Kerekes, Sustainability Yours /EEA

For EEA, social media is one of the many channels. EEA launched these communications in 2011, Agency is present at Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Social media gives about 100 000 visits, usually emphasizing key messages and figures from EEA products.

For using social media EEA has to

For an effective communication all has to be familiar with the content as well. To consider before investing in social media:

Communication must be planned in details. EEA follows its communication calendar. Timing is very important: social media sometimes is surprisingly silent.

The EEA website has over 10 000 pages. In peak times it can have 1,5 million visitors during a month.

About 60% of the visitors are brought by Google. Some are brought by EEA’s reports. It is about 20 % who definitely wants to visit the website of the agency. And, press also brings some.

In recent months national language use has been developed. In the first 5 months of 2020 at some national language sub-pages the number of visitors has doubled. Still, EEA does not translate all, and it is not targeted.

EEA seek to build conversation. All questions received must be answered within 15 days, however usually they answer much quicker. Still, this is not true to social media.

When in a certain conversation a very concrete, detailed question arrived, then the leader of the topic did give answer under his own name. So that “high quality” question based a good conversation.

“Critical” or “irrelevant” notes are not typical. Actually it is rather notable when having a live chat (for example at Facebook live).

In Gülçin’s opinion social media does not necessarily changes habits. People may read articles and continue routines. Actually a pier to pear conversation may stronger effect. Real behaviour may be far from a projected behaviour. Of course information must be provided but it should also be something that is “easy to adopt”, something that is “cool” and something that fits to values.

At Twitter it is advisable not to use more hashtags than two or three. It may be wise to use the good-old hashtags, and of course one can launch new ones too. All hashtags should be easy to remember.

©Juanma Vlaroto, Sustainability Yours /EEA

social media is „where people are”

The obvious advantage of social media is that „this is where people are”. If targeting younger ones, then Instagram may be the solution. Younger audience is much more visual content driven, anyhow. EEA aims to focus more on LinkedIn. But setting up new channels need time. It needs promotion, and the number /accessibility needs boosting. It is not sure that that certain channel is the one to use. From the aspect of an institution, the space at social media is very short. The core of your knowledge base is not social media.

To distinguish real and fake one should check the resource of the information. Is it The Guardian? Then it is probably OK. Or, was it Trump’s scientific fact? Well, consider brand and validity; otherwise it is almost impossible to fully avoid all fake news.

It is almost impossible to see the outcome of a social media campaign. Just as distinguish organic debate from an artificially generated debate. For framing a debate one has to understand the audience. People recently are concerned about corona, its secondary effects, its economic effects…

Social media can offer great “early signal”. But to give a detailed picture, it is not too reliable. For depicting public opinion the number of protesters on street seems to be more reliable indicator than social media. Social media statistics can be very misleading. For example the followers of a post are not always real followers.

Before enter into a conversation, it is wise to listen common talk a bit. And at that point social media can be useful. One can find great opinion leaders, slogans, jokes. Social media can help to find out about things, it gives an overview. EEA makes media scan and social media scan too.

Potential partners in communication must be given attention. Institutional partners must collaborate, to build alliances.

Communication is a must. What is our target and object? That determines all. And social media is only one channel.

©Burcu Emektar, Sustainability Yours/EEA


The presentation in PDF format is available here.