Using Social Media to Engage the Public
A CHC's social media priority should be to connect the public to the CHC's mission. Content posted should directly relate to the goal of preserving and protecting cultural and historic resources, specifically in your county.
Use social media to let the public know about CHC projects and initiatives by posting a photo and writing a brief description of the effort. The work you do each week has value, and posting about these accomplishments is a great way to affirm your identity as preservation leaders and dedicated public servants.
- Promote your meetings and events to the public sharing logistical details, agendas, and schedules.
- Illustrate how appointees are serving the public with pictures that represent your efforts: cemetery clean-up days, festival history booths, essay contests, and marker dedications, of course!
- Congratulate participants for a job well done: an ongoing archival project, a history day celebration, or a completed interpretive exhibit.
Consider ways to tell the story of a CHC project or effort.
Telling a story helps your audience connect with you throughout a process. For example, say your CHC is building a history-themed parade float for a countywide celebration of your historic courthouse. Promote the event in a variety of ways leading up to, during, and after the event--share historic images of the courthouse to show changes over time, post pictures of volunteers building the parade float, share tidbits about the courthouse's history, promote sponsors who have made donations to the event, post images of participants during the event (specially donors/sponsors), and follow up with thank yous. Even one event can generate a plethora of social media posts.
For some, this work may seem overwhelming, but developing content for multiiple social media platforms doesn’t have to be burdensome task. Just recycle content from other sources or from other platforms your County Historical Commission (CHC) is already using. For example, if you have a successful column in the local newspaper or a regular segment on the radio, post that same information to your social media page. Each medium has a slightly different audience and connects you to new people. If you are using Facebook, check to see if your partners have a Facebook page or website that you can link to from your page.
Generating “buzz” online attracts the attention of key decision-makers in your community. Your online presence should complement the updates given to your judge and commissioners during county commissioners court. Working on social media and web content throughout each month creates an unofficial record of activities, making it easier to pull together updates and visuals. This is especially helpful when compiling year-end reports!
Social Media Examples From CHCs
Preservation is a grassroots effort. Sharing preservation opportunities, projects, or information about endangered properties on social media is an effective way to get the message out quickly. Examples below.
Baylor CHC helped save the Lake Creek Bridge by working with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) during a review of existing bridge conditions. CHC used the Baylor County Museum’s Facebook page to share review process updates and a website dedicated to bridge preservation efforts. The campaign was successful and TxDOT agreed to restore and move the bridge to a public park in the City of Seymour.
Gonzales CHC is using their website and Facebook page to both disseminate county history and recruit volunteers. Glenda Gordon, Gonzales CHC Chair, reported the following: “The new Gonzales CHC website and Facebook page have been very useful tools in connecting to both commission appointees and the public. The website is becoming a clearinghouse for education, preservation, and lineage organizations in the region and beyond. Because we now have the GCHC website active, volunteers are coming forward to enter cemetery data to electronic spreadsheets so that the listings and updates for Gonzales County cemeteries may be added to our website.”
Thank you to the Baylor CHC and the Gonzales CHC for sharing the ways they use social media.
Please be sure your CHC complies with all applicable copyright laws before publishing any material on your social media page or website!
Want more info? View more social media and website tips here.