Do you believe social media tools can be used by collaboratives to

Do you believe social media tools can be used by collaboratives to change attitudes and behaviours? If yes, in what way? If no, why not?

What do you think might be the best social media tool to start with (blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, etc.) and why?

Please post an original response (400 words, with at least 3 reference, APA style). You must also respond to at least 2 of your peers’ posts. (200 words each)

Reply:

Do You Believe Social Media Can Be Used by Collaboratives to Change Attitudes and Behaviours?

As described by Glowinski (2021), a lynch pin of a successful collaborative initiative is garnering support from the residents of a target community. Social marketing is the primary tool to change attitudes in order to gain this support and ultimately change behaviours voluntarily. Especially in today’s society which is rife with apps and smartphones, I believe that social media can be an effective strategy to change attitudes and behaviours in a community. In fact, Shawky et al. (2018) reviewed 29 social marketing programmes covering a variety of community health and social issues and found that social media produced promising results in social marketing, but only when it is used as a way to foster engagement rather than simply awareness of an issue. This makes sense because the uniqueness of social media lies in the fact that it can facilitate a two-way interaction between the content producer and audience as opposed to traditional media with its one-way transfer of knowledge/information. When collaboratives engage with the community in dialogue through social media, they can better understand perceived and actual barriers to change and create effective social marketing to counter these attitudes.

2. What Do You Think Might Be the Best Social Media Tool to Start With?

I think the best social media to start with depends entirely on the target community you are seeking to engage with. For example, the highest proportion of Tik Tok users are aged 18-29 (Auxier & Anderson, 2021). This is in sharp contrast to the 78% of 50-64 year olds in America who use Facebook (Auxier & Anderson, 2021). Thus, if a collaborative initiative is focused on youth, Tik Tok may be a better social media tool to engage with as opposed to Facebook. Before using social media as a tool for social marketing, it is important to investigate the demographics of your target community and ensure it matches with the age, gender, socioeconomic, and/or educational demographics of a particular social media tool. This will ensure optimal results in engagement and attitude/behavioural change.

I believe that it is not only possible for collaboratives to use social media, but also necessary. There are likely to be exceptions as there are so many different types of collaboratives, but I will not speculate on any. It is possible because social media are capable of engaging and motivating their users (Lefevre, 2017; Sanchez & Legovini, 2021). There are already many examples of behaviour change in response to social media campaigns related to community or societal concerns- reduced use of plastic straws, adoption of more inclusive language, reduced vaccine hesitancy, and so on (Sanchez & Legovini, 2021). It is also necessary because without social media there is a massive loss of opportunities for collaboratives. Anything from growing interest over social networks, to direct messaging with important stakeholders, to communication between the collaborative members themselves would be unnecessarily difficult without social media, especially during the pandemic. Furthermore, centering the community of interest should include finding the best way to engage them (Glowinski, 2021), which could easily be through a social media platform.

This is not to say that social media is strictly beneficial for collaboratives. Social media are known to lead many people to become entrenched in their views (Lefevre, 2017), which is not conducive to behaviour change (Glowinski, 2021). Social media can even be a contributing factor to some of the problems that collaboratives aim to solve (Lefevre, 2017). However, these issues cannot be solved by collaboratives not using social media. If anything, this is another reason to be proficient in social media.

The best social media tool depends what it is used for. For example, email can be very useful for activities such as one-to-one communication, applying for funding, or sending tax receipts to donors- but it has little use as a promotion tool. As I just mentioned, it also depends on your community of interest. For example, if you are working with seniors you may want to avoid using platforms like Snapchat that are designed for children. Most collaboratives will find it is best to use multiple social media tools. Services such as HootSuite can help to manage them all in tandem.