Strong Partnerships, Strong Communications: How to Use Your Network to Share Your Message
Today we share tips on using social media for partnership development, support, and expansion for HIV programs – regardless of your size!
Tip #1: Social Media for Community Building
Community ServingsExit Disclaimer is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program in Massachusetts that provides services to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. We reached out to David Waters, CEO of Community Servings, for his thoughts on leveraging social media to collaborate with partners:
Community Servings is able to provide medically tailored meals to our critically ill neighbors due, in part, to our generous corporate, foundation, and government partners. We use social media as a way to celebrate these partnerships (big or small), and build community among our volunteers, donors, and partners. It's also equally important for us to be a part of the larger conversation around caring for individuals with HIV/AIDS and further expand our reach to care for more people and families in need of our nourishing meals.
Here's a tip from David: "Creating lists of partners is an efficient way to follow our partners' activity and identify opportunities to share their content. Also, when we're running a specific social media campaign, we often invite our partners to participate and provide them with sample tweets, posts, and graphics."
Tip #2: Build the Dialog
It's important to foster an open dialogue between organizations about the messaging they are trying to get out to the community. Once both groups know what the other is trying to portray, then they will better know how to assist one another and impact the community. These relationships can be new ones that are just being started by following each other on social media, or they can be existing relationships that have a newfound campaign or goal.
Kristofir shared this tip: "Subscribe to different organizations' email newsletters to stay in the know so that you can be proactive when something comes by that lines up with your organization's goals. Keeping good relationships with these organizations and being part of their social media following is key."
Tip #3: Put Social Media in Context
In my experience, building meaningful partnerships begins with recognizing that we will never have greater expertise about the challenges a particular community or agency is facing than they do. As an agency that serves LGBTQ people and people of color, we recognize the significance of offering programs and services that are largely informed by our collaborators' needs, in addition to SFCHC's decades of experience providing direct services to clients living with or at risk of acquiring HIV. Trying to work from a place of cultural humility has greatly strengthened what we are able to offer to others.
For more tips, you can make an appointment with our Virtual Office Hours team for free personalized help on using social media channels for outreach.