"Social media" are forms of communication that use the Internet, including podcasts, RSS feeds, social networking sites, text messaging, and blogs. These forms of communication have made it possible for anyone to create, modify, and share content using relatively simple tools that are often free or inexpensive.
Social media tools can promote collaboration with adoption agencies, advocates, and organizations and connect them to important information and services. These tools offer new ways to deliver content, services, communities, and channels of communication. People of all ages and backgrounds use social media tools in their personal and professional lives, and we in the child welfare field can work to connect advocates to audiences that are active in targeted social networks.
The Children's Bureau Leads the Way
The Children's Bureau, in partnership with the Ad Council and AdoptUSKids, launched a social media adoption campaign to begin a national dialogue with prospective parents about adoption from foster care and to encourage all adults to visit www.AdoptUSKids.org to learn more about foster care adoption. This is another facet of the ongoing national adoption campaign, which includes public service announcements (PSAs) on TV, radio, print, outdoor signs, web banners, and the AdoptUSKids website. It builds on those efforts through social marketing and digital public relations.
Examples of marketing ventures through social media include:
- An AdoptUSKids Facebook Fan Page: AdoptUSKids created a Facebook Fan Page as part of its social media campaign to keep in touch with more than 1,600 members, interacting with users' News Feeds. Stories, videos, photos, and other updates can be sent to fans' friends via their News Feeds, which allows dissemination to an even larger group.
- An AdoptUSKids YouTube Channel: A YouTube Channel dedicated to the Adoption Campaign highlights videos that have been created for AdoptUSKids, the entire library of Adoption Campaign PSAs, and other appropriate content.
- An AdoptUSKids Twitter Account: The Twitter account for AdoptUSKids (@AdoptUSKids) is robust, with nearly 2,000 followers. Its Twitter page features a dynamic visual for the account with an original background and the URL for the AdoptUSKids website. An original Twitter background is important for helping an organization add followers as well as engage with its current community. The profile design is the one opportunity to showcase an organization's logo and communicate information that is longer than a tweet.
- A Child Welfare Information Gateway Facebook Page: Child Welfare Information Gateway has a presence on Facebook, with a group that has more than 2,700 "likes." This site helps spread the word about new Information Gateway products, websites, and other resources targeted to child welfare administrators and managers, supervisors, frontline staff, related professionals, and families.
- Widgets to Honor Adoption All Year: Child Welfare Information Gateway developed several widgets (a small icon that's a device for allowing others to link to your website) for organizations to place on their sites to promote National Adoption Month all year.
- Link Outs: All of the social media outreach on behalf of the Adoption Campaign directs traffic to AdoptUSKids.org. The website provides information about adoption and directs visitors to the appropriate State agencies for answers to questions about adopting a child from foster care.
- Promotional Videos: Watch this video to learn the seven basic steps to adoption and foster care. The video is an excerpt from The Road to Adoption and Foster Care, produced by Rich Newman in association with AdoptUSKids. Watch the entire film.