Monday, November 14, 2011

Social media for outreach and engagement. The e-Agriculture platform

During the KM4Dev meeting held at IFAD in Rome last September, we had the chance to sit with FAO Michael Riggs for an interesting conversation on social media, and what benefits it brings to the e-Agriculture platform.

e-Agriculture is "a global Community of Practice, where people from all over the world exchange information, ideas, and resources related to the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for sustainable agriculture and rural development.In this sense, e-Agriculture is essentially a web platform where users can register a profile, or simply browse content without loggin in onto the site.
Michael explains which social media channels they are using and what strategy and purpose each of them respond to. Michael also reflects on the issue of social media engagement and define what this means for the e-Agriculture platform. Further, he touches upon the resources they are investing in these efforts. He concludes with three top tips for effective use of social media:
  1. Make it look human - There needs to be a person behind the accounts and you cannot just feed the different channles in fully automated ways.
  2. Reach out to different communities -  Using multiple platforms allows to create awareness of what your are doing to users beyond your website visitors; it also allows to reach different demographics.
  3. Be strategic - It is good to 'play around' with social media tools but eventually you have to strategically look at how they fit into your toolbox, and what they can help you achieve. Specific implementation depends on your context and your objectives.