Our tips for using social media

By Paula Echeverría Suárez

During my year as an intern for the City Water Project, I was in charge of its social media campaigns. I thought it would be a pretty easy task, but I was totally wrong.

I started using social media at 12 years old and consider myself a “social media expert.” I have spent an average of four hours a day for the last 10 years of my life on social media. My accounts seemed to be pretty successful as I had over 1000 Facebook friends (I have met all of them in person); a Twitter, a YouTube, and even a Google+ account. I grew up on the internet, I remember all the trends, the failed social media platforms, and the scandals. With all of these things in mind, I accepted the responsibility of being in charge of all the social media accounts of the CWP.

At the beginning, I thought that managing the CWP social media accounts would be just as managing my own. Meaning, that I would get attention and followers in a blink of an eye. However, soon after I became responsible of the CWP’s campaign I realized it wasn’t this way. It is important to highlight that the social media accounts of the City Water Project had a low level of success,* because I had no professional experience with social networks. And after a whole year of testing, trying and repeating, the next ten tips are all the lessons I have learned in the process. I am sharing them with you right now to make it easier for you to start promoting your project.

  1. Take into account that the use of social networks for leisure is completely different from their use for professional purposes. On one hand, you receive instant reward by getting likes, comments and new friends in your personal social media accounts. On the other hand, it is going to take some time to get the attention you expect your project to receive (unless you pay money for it.)
  2. If you share your professional social media accounts with your friends, they might give it a like out of solidarity, but it doesn’t mean they are actually interested in what you are promoting. In fact, they might not even check what you are promoting.
  3. Getting a bunch of likes doesn’t necessarily mean that your content is being read and shared.
  4. It is important to have an active social media page. This means you need to post something AT LEAST ONCE A DAY.
  5. The best times to post something are between 18:00 – 21:00. Remember that if you are promoting a project abroad you need to take into account time difference.
  6. Start following projects and organizations that have a similar goal as yours. They might actually help you to promote your project to the intended audience.
  7. Share the content you created in all your social networks. For example, if you upload a video in YouTube, share the link in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  8. One person can do it, but it is even better to have a team in charge of the social media campaign as strategies and creativity are needed. It is also very time consuming.
  9. Believe in your project and its goal.
  10. Don’t give up.

* Addition from David Z: Twitter @citywaterpro has 39 tweets and 2 followers (both in the project). Our YouTube channel has 4 videos with 205 total views and 4 subscribers (3 from our project). Our facebook page has 73 followers, and we have 37 Insta-followers!

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It is time to say good-bye to the CWP

By Paula Echeverría Suárez

I started my internship with the City Water Project in September 2016. It all began in the committee fair of my university, where Raghav, founding member of the CWP, was looking for enthusiastic first-years who were interested in carrying on with the project.

At first, I was surprised but curious. Why would a group of college kids be interested in the water quality of the world? The first city they have been working on was The Hague and its water quality seemed pretty good. Everybody was drinking water from the tap and they didn’t get sick for doing it. In comparison to my home country, Ecuador, where it is almost impossible not to end in the hospital if you do the same thing. Wasn’t it too ambitious to be part of a project like this? In the end, I said why not? Maybe I could learn a thing or two about water quality, team-work and cross-cultural communication.

After this encounter and a meeting with David, the professor in charge of the project, I became part of it. We were a small group of people believing in the importance of the dissemination of information about water quality. Each week we would meet and have a meeting with all our plans for the next seven days. It wasn’t only work, it was also a time to talk about our week, our problems and our dreams. However, we soon realized that believing in the importance of water quality wasn’t enough to carry on. We needed to get contacts in The Hague, and it was a bit difficult as we didn’t speak Dutch.

Step by step, with different campaigns such as social media and flyers we tried to enter in the community. We wanted to know their opinion of the quality of water in the city. In order to do so, we had created a survey in 5 languages. After three months of working in The Hague, we decided that it was time to move to another city and try again. Our efforts in The Hague weren’t enough. We never managed to create the impact we wanted.

At the beginning of 2017, we moved to Galway, Ireland and Flint, Michigan. After working in The Hague, we had more patience, discipline and cooperation in our team, which made our second campaign more successful.

The City Water Project has been a great experience, but a year has passed. It is time for me to say good-bye to my teammates. I am moving on, but I will never forget the importance of water quality.