Statistics show us that over half of Americans have one or more social media accounts. In Scouting families, both parents and youth often have their own, discrete accounts, which can mean better internal communication within units, districts, and councils. For those outside of Scouting, including friends and family members, your use of social media can be an important factor in placing the BSA squarely in the forefront of what's going on with today's youth and reinforce the positive message about why others should ensure that their youth join Scouting.
Social media has many uses and one of the biggies is that it is a means by which to create connections. These can be between leaders and Scouts, units and parents, or between the Scouting and the non-Scouting community. Once you figure out what the focus of your social media program will be, you'll be in a better position to create content that is targeted to your intended audience.
Another key element to social media is that it provides the end user with the opportunity to learn something new. In our modern 'sound byte' society, more and more users are receiving new information from social media sources. That you are reading this proves the point! By creating and promoting a positive image about all the great things that Scouting has to offer, you become a key element in 'teaching' your readers about why they should engage with and support Scouting.
A final element to consider -- and admittedly, this is how big business thinks about social media -- is what is our return on investment? Given that user accounts on most of these platforms are free, your investment is one of picture-taking and time. Take the picture, post the content, share the article (this one included!), craft the message. That's your investment -- time. What's the return? Well, that depends on the target of your social media program. If you a running a closed Facebook group for just your Cub Scout pack, then better and more timely internal communication is the key win. If you have a personal account with many fiends and family members, then posting about your own Scout's accomplishments not only keeps the Scouting 'brand' fresh and positive in the eyes of others, it many encourage some of your connections to give Scouting a try with their own youth. That's a return on investment we can all get behind!
If you want to know more about how to create a positive Scouting social media program, then consider pursuing the new on-line Social Media Certification through the Voice of the Scout. Fun, interactive, and jam packed with useful tips, you'll be able to create a Scouting social media program that you will most assuredly be proud of. Click here to access the training.