July 23, 2014

Social Media comes to United Through Reading

Marcia, our Social Media Manager, talks about what the job is like and what it means to her… and invites you to blog...

Social Media is a broad term used so often now, a buzz phrase now encompassing everything from Public Relations to Advertising, even fund raising. From the United Through Reading perspective we are utilizing the position to raise awareness of our programs, brand recognition, increase partnering with organizations and authors, even recognize our volunteers as well as beneficiaries of all three of our programs. What a great job! Really, how great is that? Knowing that each day I am able to tell someone new about the availability of a program which unites families who are apart utilizing the read aloud experience.

When I was originally asked to manage our Facebook page I was excited about it but had no idea the impact it would have on me personally. Every day I hear about another family’s experience with United Through Reading which motivates me to keep pushing the word out, to let more people know we are here for them. In a time of world stress with war on several fronts and natural disasters striking, it is such a ‘positive’ to be able to check our Facebook page and see the fun going on in homes, on ships and in the sand. Just yesterday I saw a video story posted by AFN featuring United Through Reading being offered via our partner USO in Afghanistan. http://bit.ly/eJXEtd  Another day a comment shared from a Grandparent who has recorded a DVD for a grandchild…I feel so fortunate to be able to meet many of these folks in person or via email and pictures. Doesn’t it make the world smaller? To have a comment from a parent in a war theater, to see a photo of that parent’s child receiving their DVD and sitting, enthralled, as the story unfolds. Of course it also speaks to the Navy spouse in me.

Another fascinating aspect of our Facebook and Social Media component is the relationship building with other organizations and those who support our mission. It is really exciting to be able to share information from those sources with you, to hear about opportunities of book discounts or other benefits which we think you’d enjoy. Researching new organizations and networking with their Social Media contacts has been professionally and personally rewarding.

Another aspect of my job is to fill in as media liaison on the east coast for stories such as when CNN featured us or NBC Nightly News’ Making a Difference segment. (Both seen on our website: http://www.unitedthroughreading.org/ ) While upwards of 9 hours of preparation, taping and editing can go into a 2 minute (or less!) video on TV, the opportunity to reach so many viewers is amazing. The Social Media job hours can be challenging but the energy is so high that it really keeps me going. It is fast paced, exciting, fun, exhausting and did I mention fun? I love my job.

As our Facebook fan base has expanded, so has the opportunity to share more information in an in depth fashion through READ! our blog. I thought the task of setting up the blog, coordinating the posting schedule, providing content material, even designing upcoming contests would be daunting. But the truth is that it is a joy. After taking the plunge into learning WordPress, the material has been flowing in. I invite you to share your stories with me at READourblog@unitedthroughreading.org (Blog posts which are selected will be edited) Whether you are a parent, grandparent or child, whether you have ties to our Military Program, Transitions Program or Grandparents Program, I would love to hear from you.

Here are a few Blog post guidelines:

• Identify your purpose and your audience.
• Keep posts to the point. 300-500 words.
• Use the first person singular. Writing in a conversational tone engages readers and we like hearing personal stories of your involvement with United Through Reading.
• When possible, include at least one image in your post. For help with appropriate photos, video, and other non-text material, contact the blog’s editor.
• Be respectful to United Through Reading, its partners, and recipients.
• Reinforce United Through Reading’s mission and values. Blogging is a great way to emphasize the principles shared by all those who work and volunteer for us, and to highlight how they relate to your work in particular.
• Keep in mind that all blog posts will be viewable – and able to be commented upon – by any reader.
• When in doubt, don’t type it out. Always feel free to ask the United Through Reading’s blog editors if you have any questions about what is appropriate to write or publish as a comment.
• Editors reserve the right to edit or delete any blog post at any time for any reason .

United Through Reading will not publish comments that contain any of the following:
• vulgarity, needlessly aggressive or rude language, nudity
• offensive comments that target or disparage any ethnic, racial, or religious group
• personal attacks of any kind including statements or material that defame, harass, abuse, stalk, threaten, or in any way infringe on the rights of others
• statements based on hearsay or made on behalf of another individual
• spam or links to personal or inappropriate sites
• items that are clearly off topic
• advocating of illegal activity
• promotion of services, products, or political organizations
• material that is copyrighted or trademarked
• disclosure of “personally identifiable information,” proprietary or privileged information, or information that could compromise the military’s security
Additional information about blog post submissions:
We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium and your submissions are invited. However, given the need to manage resources, we ask that you allow up to two business days for approval and notification of receipt of your post; We will try to let you know if and when it is published. When composing a post for READ! We need  your contact information to include, name, address and contact phone number as well as email address.

Basic HTML tags are allowed in the body of comments, including hyperlinks. Links to other websites are fine, as long as they are germane to the topic. Once a comment is submitted for moderation, it cannot be edited. It will be either approved or declined as is.
Thank you for taking the time to read this policy. We encourage your participation on ‘Read! our blog’. Please remember to be respectful toward the authors and your fellow posters. If something you are about to submit for approval makes you feel uncomfortable, think about your actions. When in doubt, don’t type it out !

If you haven’t “Liked” us yet on Facebook I invite you to visit us there, put United Through Reading in your FB search bar. Visit our website http://www.unitedthroughreading.org/  to see details of our programs.

About READ! our blog

READ! is an online space where you’ll find the latest news and information on the nonprofit United Through Reading. The best part? It’s a place where we’ll be sharing your testimonials, photos, videos and more to create meaningful online conversations. Our aim is to share our passion – uniting geographically separated family members through the read aloud experience – and become a trusted source of information for those we serve which now number over one million beneficiaries. Our DVDs bring a family member home every night for a bedtime story. We invite you to enjoy and participate with us as we continue to build family connections.