Social media interactions appear to influence the actions one take. According to a survey of 500 individuals, it was found that over half the users on four of the top five social media platforms have taken offline action as a direct result of an online interaction. According to Ned Smith, the three most popular offline actions taken as a result of online interaction are: to contact a person directly, attend an event and participate in activities such as sport and class (Smith,2012).
The five major social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest, however, of the five, Facebook appears to have been the most influential in gathering offline action. A survey of 500 individuals suggests that Facebook was able to generate more donations and in-person contact than any of the other platforms (Smith, Ned). Evidently, a study at the University of Carolina found that social messages on Facebook, posed as a reminder for 300,000 individuals to go out and vote (Al-Greene,2012).
How to Harness Social Media for Social Good:
“Each day, over 250 million users of us log on to Facebook. Each minute, twenty hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Each second, over six hundred tweets are “tweeted” out onto the Web, to a worldwide audience. And these numbers are growing exponentially” (Aaker and Smith, n.d.).
The first step necessary for influencing individuals to take social action, outside of the social media platform, requires having a personal goal. This goal must be translated into a story of passion, one that will generate interest and stay in the mind of readers long after the reader has commented on the post of Facebook page. By doing this, you generate participation,growth and networking. However, in order to maintain a readers interest or to get them to read a post, ensure that the story is no longer than 6 lines(Aaker and Smith, n.d.) .
In addition, when publishing stories, it can also be useful to publish short stories related to the cause in a timely fashion. For example, if you are running a breast cancer campaign with an event taking place a month from now, then each week leading up to the event, you can post short stories or facts relating to the cause.
Secondly, at the end of your story or description, be specific, and clear in providing easy to understand information as to how an individual can get involved and participate ((Aaker and Smith, n.d.).
When creating events, limit the amount of inbox messages and tagged messages that are sent to individuals invited. A majority of individuals who receive mass messages drop out of the conversation, and therefore lose interest in the cause.
If you are an organization,entrepreneur, philanthropist or friend in need of generating some offline action (this can include anything from getting people to visit your store, party of volunteering for a cause), make certain you are using Facebook (since it is currently the no.1 Social media platform in generating offline action), and ensure you have event or fan pages created, with timely stories published.
Aaker, J., & Smith, A. (n.d.). The Dragonfly Effect: Take Action. How to empower others, enable them and cultivate a movement with social media | The European Business Review. The European Business Review. Retrieved December 3, 2012, from http://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/?p=3325
Al-Greene, B. (2012, October 26). Facebook Inspires Young Voters to Take Action [INFOGRAPHIC]. Mashable. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://mashable.com/2012/10/26/facebook-vote-infographic/
Smith, N. (2012, December 3). Social Media Use Leads to Real-World Actions. Mashable. Retrieved December 3, 2012, from http://mashable.com/2012/12/03/social-media-real-world-actions/