Sea Scout Ships across the Western Region are using social media to promote Sea Scouting in their communities. Here are tips on how you can start using social media to market your Ship. This is not an all-inclusive list and there are many ways to launch a social media campaign. The purpose of this post is to help a Ship begin a social media campaign that has never organized one before focused on photo sharing. Each social media application has its own features you can use to create dynamic content, so there are many ways to showcase your Ship in action.
Some might wonder, what is the value of using social media? Professionals and Volunteers see social media as a great way to show the best of our activities to the community for external marketing and internal marketing to highlight activities. More importantly, it can be done with no financial investment if you have a smartphone or tablet.
According to Business Insider, 91% of people in the United States between the ages of 18 to 34 are on Facebook; 85% of those between the ages of 35 to 54 are on Facebook. Business Insider also found that Facebook is the most used social media application by teenagers on a daily basis.
Nearly half of the US population between the ages of 18 to 34 is on Instagram. Moreover, photo driven social media is very popular with teenagers.
This data shows us that the parents of prospective Sea Scouts, future volunteers, and youth who could be interested in Sea Scouts, are on social media.
Social media campaigns can reach an extremely large audience, with little to no cost in operating the campaign. Here are tips in starting a social media campaign:
Appoint a Social Media Coordinator
Ask a parent or alumni to be the social media coordinator for your Ship. This individual’s responsibility is to manage the different social media accounts for the Ship and encourage parents, volunteers, and scouts to take photos or video during weekly activities.
Social media requires photos and supporting content, so encourage everyone to participate with smartphones, Go Pro Cameras, and cameras to capture the moments that show the best of Sea Scouting for use on your Ship’s social media accounts.
Create Social Media Accounts
There are many different types of social media. Try starting out with Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook Fan Page for one integrated marketing campaign for your Sea Scout Ship. Instagram can act as the “hub” for all content. Photos from Instagram can be cross-posted to Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook Fan Page, so you only need to post one photo to have information posted to four different accounts.
Tip on connecting your Facebook Fan Page to Instagram: You will need to change the default from posting to your personal timeline to your Fan Page. This can be changed in Instagram by tapping “Share Settings,” followed by tapping Facebook, and then tapping “Share Photos To” settings. You will be given the option to share photos to your timeline and any Fan Pages where you have administrative rights. Select your Ship page and are ready to post photos. For more help, please see the Instagram help page.
A note on Facebook Fan Pages: “Fan Pages” are to represent professional personas and organizations, such as a Sea Scout Ship. Facebook’s terms of service state that Facebook profiles are expressly for individuals, so Sea Scout Ships should use Fan Pages, because creating a Facebook profile named “Sea Scout Ship [X]” violates Facebook’s terms of service. To learn how to create a Fan Page, please visit Facebook’s help page. [Note: Private Groups are an excellent means to communicate information to your existing members that is not for the public if interested in using Facebook to communicate to scouts, parents, and volunteers].
How You Share Photos
Photos can be shared from a smartphone or tablet. If taking photos on a smartphone, you have the ability to take a photo of Sea Scouts in action, and immediately post to four different social media accounts with a message in less than a minute.
To post a photo, launch the Instagram App by double clicking on it. Select the photo you wish to post. Select a filter and enter a message about the photo. Select the other social media accounts you wish to post the photo to for publication.
If you are using a tablet such as an iPad, you will need to upload photos from a camera to your tablet. Large format photos may need to be reduced in size for use in Instagram. The remainder of the process is the same for posting photos to Instagram.
What To Share in A Social Media Campaign
Sea Scouting is an extremely visual program where our Sea Scouts get on the water and have fun. The 4 S’s of Sea Scouts are a great outline for types of activities to photograph: Scouting, Seamanship, Service, and social activities.
Taking photos of Sea Scouts on boats and engaged in any one of the 4 S’s really shows the best of our program. Mix in photos of boats in use, but focus on the Scouts on your Ship.
If you do daily posts, consider having a theme each day that highlight your program, such as Regatta Mondays, Paddle Sports Tuesdays, or Sailing Wednesdays, for example.
When to Post To Your Ship Social Media Accounts
Always post at least one photo during your weekly activities. If you have a database of photos, try sharing at least one post a day to show social media activity. Alternatively, you can share interesting maritime or scouting information for those your follow, such as ReTweeting the Safe Boating Council or sharing a post from your Council on your Ship Fan Page. There are many options for sharing, depending on which social media application you are using, and what is relevant to your Sea Scout Ship.
Incorporating “hash tags” in social media posts helps other searching for content to find your posts. For example, if you post a photo of Sea Scouts sailing, use the hashtags #seascouts and #sailing. This will enable Sea Scouts looking for Sea Scout photos to find the post and those also looking for sailing to see Sea Scouts in action. Additionally, consider using hash tags with your community, such as #LakeTahoe or #Seattle to show those searching for activities in your area that Sea Scouting is active.
Who to Follow on Social Media
You can follow many maritime and Scouting organizations on Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr. Moreover, approximately half of the Boy Scout Councils in the Western Region are on Twitter and Facebook, so check if your council is active. Here are just a few options of people or groups to follow on Twitter:
Sea Scouts, BSA @SeaScoutsBSA
US Coast Guard @USCG
Safe Boating Council @SafeBoatingCouncil
Sailing World @SailingWorldMag
US Navy @USNavy
Scouting Magazine @scouting
America’s Cup @americascup
SAIL Magazine @sailmagazine
The BSA Chief Scout Executive is @BSAchief on Twitter
There are possibly hundreds if not thousands more, so check out active social media profiles that are relevant to your Ship’s activities on who to follow.
Youth Protection and Talent Releases
Always use common sense when posting to social media. The Boy Scouts of America have Guidelines on Social Media that everyone must follow. It is also highly advisable for every Sea Scout Ship to have talent releases of all Scouts on file prior to posting photos. The BSA has Talent Releases available for download on Scouting.org. Many Sea Scout events include talent releases in the event permission slips.
Build Your Sea Scout Ship’s Brand in Your Community
Social media is a low cost tool for sharing your Sea Scout adventures with your shipmates and community. If all 109 Sea Scout Ships in the Western Region posted one photo every Saturday, we would see a diverse program in action, from Denver to Kapa’a. Please help show your active program to your community by incorporating social media in your strategic marketing plan.