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How to Promote Social Media in Emergency Organizations

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How to Promote Social Media in Emergency Organizations

bulb-2Two things happened last week that encouraged me to write this article to share with you how to promote your use of social media tools with all your stakeholders. Even though I am writing mainly for emergency organizations, I think the same principles apply in other industries:


I had a meeting with executives from a national non-profit organization, in which they asked me: how do we promote our social media presence? I shared with them two or three of points mentioned below.


The other thing is that I attended a search engine optimization (SEO) class in which I learned some new tricks that added to my own bag of tricks that I have been gathering.

I am very happy to share with you some of these tricks. Who knows, this may be useful to you. If it is, please, leave me a word.

Begin with an Off line Buzz

I was delighted that NGO executive asked me that question because the essence of social media is sharing with friends, fans and followers. It is not about you or me. It is about us. Thus, having to share is crucial in social media. 

I recall saying to her we need to begin by creating an offline buzz about social media within the organization to get an online boom. By that, I explained we needed to get as many staff as possible to be interested in using social media. If possible, train some of staff on how to use the tools comfortably, and above all getting to train a large pool of volunteers. I said without a good following and a robust conversation, the essence of social media is baseless. Thus, it was crucial to invite as many people in as possible to get them to buy into the idea.

Create a Viral Video

In the last couple of weeks, I have been talking to my supervisor at Washoe County about the importance of creating a viral video to promote our newly initiated social media program for the county. My supervisor and other collaborators in the county team agreed that it is a cool idea. In the meantime, I am sorting out the details to produce a fine, funny and engaging video that will introduce our presence on youtube, Facebook flickr, blog and so on to the people in our county. The idea is to use our viral video to reach as many people as possible with our message and at the same time getting them to join us on Facebook, twitter etc. Videos are contagious, so we are making an effort to use them to spread the word. You can do the same.

Facebook Events and Pictures

One other way to promote our social media presence is to invite our existing friends via our email or any other means to check you out on Facebook. That is the appetizer. When they get in, serve them the meal. Share with them your upcoming events like birthdays, anniversaries and other interesting things happening in your life. When they get impressed, they may want to join you as a fan, follower or friend. Through that joining, you are widening your following.

Upload Futuristic Photos on Flickr

I am guessing you prefer pictures to reading text, just like me. Most people are that way. That is the way our brain is generally wired. It resonates well with pictures than text, at least for most people. By regularly uploading pictures of you and your surroundings with our friends, you build strong bonds via flickr. In the field of emergencies, we have more than enough photos. Photos of our colleagues doing heroic things, photos of the good, the bad and the funny are relevant to our friends and community.  All these photos can add to normal day photos to engage your friends.

Blog On Cutting Edge Info

In order to get more visibility and authority within your niche, you need to be consistent with what you preach in your online outreach. Part of this outreach is just presenting cutting edge information in things that are happening around on your blog. Each time we do something that some one in our community likes, we are ‘depositing money into their mind ‘s bank emotional bank account’. Over time, they will love you, looking up to you for even more information and that is where they will become a fervent fan or a dependent of yours.

Here is the good news, all of these methods of promotion cost $0. There are other paid methods of getting the word out, but we may talk about that next time.

Gideon F. For-mukwai, CEM

Emergency & Crisis Management Facilitator