Think about what people are doing on Facebook today. They’re keeping up with their friends and family, but they’re also building an image and identity for themselves, which in a sense is their brand. They’re connecting with the audience that they want to connect to. It’s almost a disadvantage if you’re not on it now.

Mark Zuckerberg, Co-founder and CEO of Facebook

In our work with the youth, we cannot ignore the enormous potential that social media and websites give us as means to reach out to and stay in contact with young people. We need to keep up to date with social media platforms learning to engage with the young people right where they are. Online platforms and websites will also serve as an invaluable way of marketing our youth club activities, enabling suggestions, registering participants, and creating timely communication.

How young people learn about opportunities

How do you learn about new things? The chances are that it is because a friend sends you a message on WhatsApp, or you see it on Facebook or Instagram. The days of picking up printed leaflets are largely gone. They cost money to print and quickly end up in the bin. 

If we want to engage more young people in our communities, think about how they access information. If they have smartphones, that is probably the best route – and the easiest way for them to share things with their friends. Can you spend the time and money you would have spent on designing and printing a leaflet on designing something that could be shared online? Free tools like Canva – also available as an app – make this easy for anyone to do. Can you ensure that you have an Instagram account, regularly updated with attractive images of your activities, or other content that your young people like?

Young Women’s Digital Leadership

Young women typically understand the digital world, and they understand their peers. If you don’t have time to keep an Instagram account updated, maybe this is a chance for them to build leadership and communication skills. Within the parameters you set, could they keep your social media accounts up to date, and create publicity for your activities?

Your Online Presence Matters

More and more, having an online presence is a sign of legitimacy. If you don’t have a website or active social media account, parents or students may not trust you or be able to find you. Many times people will google your youth club when someone hears about it. Find out more about this here: [Outcomes and Outputs in African Youth Work].

Reflection Questions

  1. Does your youth club have social media accounts and/or a website? 
  2. Do you know if your young people and/or their parents are engaging with them? What do they think about them?
  3. How do you currently promote your activities? Is this effective?

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