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Getting Beyond "Like"

Those of us who have ever been on Facebook know what it is to ‘Like’ something. Those of us who post on Facebook, know how nice it is to have our post ‘Like’ed. We notice how fast it is liked and/or how many ‘Like’s we have. Certainly it is fun when our friends respond. It’s fun when the post is for a cause, and people “Like’ the cause. But that’s it as far as engagement goes! How do we get beyond ‘Like’ to engage, to get the conversation beyond ‘Like’to something meaningful and productive?

Many companies and organizations have a Director of Outreach to get that done. That person wants to strengthen the relationship between an organization and the community. It starts with communicating information to people. Maybe it results in organizing an outreach campaign. More often than not, it means initiating and coordinating an event. And finally, the budget must be determined. All of these efforts, including Facebook ads, are not free.

As Executive Director of River Action, I like to get the public to promote our holistic approach to river design and resiliency and to engage with the public in person, face to face in the process. We are working to find the best ways.

For example, on our Channel Cat Talks, we ask each participant to fill out a survey with ideas for upcoming talks as well as how well we are doing at present. We are then engaged in being responseive.

In August, on Floatzilla, each paddler will receive a mesh bag for picking up plastic while paddling downstream. We hope they are engaged in a Plastic Free Quad Cities when they finish and continue clean-up efforts on their own.

As people respond to Facebook invites and visit Nahant Marsh and Green Valley Nature Preserve, we hope they become advocates for wetlands by letting people of influence, whether local, state-wide, or national, know how much they care about conservation, a cause that is so worth funding.

If the Golf Cart Tour goes through one’s own city, and the parks and greenways are enjoyed, we hope that participants make a point of going to a Park Board Meeting and telling those responsible that their design and maintenance were liked.

We know Facebook can set up a relationship, but going beyond ‘Like” is what strengthens it.