Listening To Meet Community Needs

When I first started my position as a Family Living Educator for UW-Extension I wanted to learn about the community, the people, and the families living there. Therefore I decided to dedicate my first year primarily to an assessment and listening process. This allowed me to design programs which the community and families needed and programs that were lacking in the community or not offered by other agencies.

The listening phase of a social media marketing plan is much the same. Currently UW-Extension has a social media presence on the state level. Few county level UW-Extension offices have taken on a social media marketing plan due to lack of support from the county level and from the state as well. Fortunately in the county which I work, Iron County, we have strong support from county government to be innovative. For this reason I feel that my county, Iron County UW-Extension, can begin to explore a social media marketing plan. The county UW-Extension office is made up of four departments each with one program agent; 4-H Youth Development, Family living, Community Development and Nutrition Education. I believe that each of us could assume roles and responsibilities of a social media program with the main responsibilities being that of our support staff employee, who oversees our website.

In order to launch our first phase of the social media marketing plan; listening, each department agent would need to dedicate time to perform an audit, conducting keyword searches including the program area title, our county, and UW-Extension as well as other combinations of keyword searches. It would be important for us to become more aware of our web presence on a local level. Further we would have to understand our presence on the web as a whole office; perhaps this could be the responsibility of our support staff colleague. Lastly as part of the listening portion of the social media marketing plan it would be important for our county office and program departments to connect with the state level social media sites and to learn from other counties social media efforts.

The listening process will also assist our office in planning and implementing programming efforts that better meet the needs and gaps in services in the community.