Do you 'like' us? Ecology Center social media platforms support communications, advocacy efforts

U-M students help with updates

The Ecology Center’s social media presence took major steps forward earlier this year thanks to a crew of graduate students from the University of Michigan School of Information who came into the office to take part in the school’s annual volunteer day of service.

social media meetingAmong other chores, the students helped with updates to the Ecology Center’s entry on Wikipedia, created a new channel for Ecology Center videos on YouTube, made a few tweaks to the website, and added features to the organization’s Facebook profile.

“But the biggest chore they did was to create a platform for us on Google+,” according to Ecology Center communications director Terry Gallagher. The adoption rate for Google+ is rising much faster than other social media sites, and playing a role there is expected to raise the organization’s visibility.

“Even at this point, we know that Google+ offers us great advantages in communicating with supporters, members, partners and each other,” Gallagher said.

Over the last year, Facebook and other social media platforms have become major factors in the Ecology Center’s efforts to inform and engage supporters and allies.  The number of Facebook members who “like” the Ecology Center has risen more than 50 percent over the last year. Similar increases have been seen for other Ecology Center-related profiles on Facebook, including those related to Ann Arbor 350, the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health and the Built by Michigan campaign.

Also last year, the Ecology Center was among the first of the twenty or more organizations with very similar names to have an entry in Wikipedia, which is a key element in search-engine optimization.

 “An organization like ours could never afford to pay for the level of service we received from these talented and connected students from the School of Information,” Gallagher said.

And the students’ response indicates that more help may be available. One of them, Jonathan Brier, has met twice since January with Ecology Center staff to discuss e-communication issues.  And another student, Pranay Sethi, said in an e-mail: “It was a great experience for all of us working on this. Please do not hesitate to drop me an e-mail in case you need any further assistance. At SI, we are mostly up for such tasks.”

EcoLink — February 2012 Ecolink
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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