Youth report by Kimberly Atkins
Social Media (SM) can be a powerful and effective medium to convey a message to a wide audience. Social media was defined as “any tool that uses the internet to facilitate conversations.” This session explored various social media outlets and what makes marketing on social media successful.
GYCA is a youth led global network of over 7,000 youth leaders/adult allies working on youth and HIV/AIDS topics in over 170 countries. It aims to empower young leaders with skills and knowledge to be more effective in leading peers in the HIV/AIDS movement. Specifically, through e-learning it offers 3 courses on political advocacy, project management and resource mobilization. Challenges mainly deal with language barriers (since it’s an international audience), accessibility (rural areas) and variability in skill levels of participants. However, e learning does provide a platform for youth all over the world to share best practices, challenges, strategies so they can go out into their community/train other peers to be leaders in HIV/AIDS response.
SM provides a platform for individuals world-wide to share stories, experiences, photos, graphics on a range of issues. Facebook offers 3 options: profile (for individuals), pages (for organizations, good for advocacy platforms) and groups (could be around specific topics, could be closed or secret- potential to use for support groups for PLHIV). Tumblir is also viable for advocacy for organizations.
A successful SM campaign will appeal to one’s emotions and personalize an issue or brand or whatever is being marketed. For example, Old Spice ran a campaign to increase sales among youth using a series of videos involving an actor who ultimately become the poster boy for their product. After the campaign, sales increased 40% among the targeted population- youth. The key to success is to promote a sense of identity/personality and allow your brand/idea to “speak” to the audience. Also, innovation and creativity is essential. *Many online sites were mentioned for SM/managing SM/free graphic development tools etc- will all be posted at youthaids2012.org.