Curbside Value Partnership recently asked RE3.org to discuss some cost effective outreach methods that we have used for an article in its Bin Buzz newsletter. Want a sneak peak? Read on.
Describe some of the recent education/outreach strategies you have used in the past or plan to use in the future?
RE3.org is using outreach events as an education strategy this summer. We staffed a booth at a month-long basketball tournament (high school, college and pro players were involved) at a local historically black college. The tournament was free and open to the public. The college just started recycling this year and wanted to draw attention to its program. Besides local government recycling brochures, our booth included free temporary tattoos for the kids and bottle openers for the adults. We made sure everyone completes a recycling survey before receiving a promotional item.
This fiscal year we hope to test some guerrilla marketing strategies by hiring college students to be part of our “street team.” The street team will also be involved in our BANneD music tour. As of Oct. 1, 2009, plastic bottles will be banned from landfill disposal. To get the word out, we are partnering with local music venues throughout N.C. to have a recycling presence, staff a recycling booth and have the bands mention recycling throughout the show.
If you’ve already conducted them, were they successful? Unsuccessful? Why?
The basketball tournament was very successful for RE3.org. We participated in the usual Earth Day events every spring, but we also try to conduct outreach at events that are not thought of as environmentally friendly per se. It provides us an opportunity to speak with citizens that we might not normally see. We then provide technical assistance to the event coordinator on how to set up recycling, if it is not currently being collected.
Do you have experience using social media (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) to reach residents? Would you recommend it to another community? Why or why not?
RE3.org has been using social media to reach the 18-34-year-old demographic since 2006. First we created a blog on Blogger. We then made a YouTube account, with one video receiving more than 11,000 views. This is an excellent place to put your PSAs for free. In 2007, RE3.org created a MySpace page and a Facebook account. Also in 2007, we built a page on Wikipedia, uploaded our bookmarks to Delicious and dabbled a little on Craig’s list. In 2008, we ramped up our use of Flickr and Twitter.
I would recommend the use of social media to other communities and organizations. It is an economical way to get your information out. You are able to communicate and engage your clients via these online strategies, moving your organization from a static Web site to “Web 2.0.”
If you had to recommend to a community ONE social media outlet to try, which one would it be and why? (Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, etc.)
I would recommend Twitter. It is like a blog but you post things that can get your information across in only 140 characters. If you have something that needs to be elaborated on, you create a longer blog post and use a URL shortener in your Tweet to direct people to the blog post. According to Harvard Business, 45 percent of Twitter users are men and the site isn’t just for the 18-34-year-old demographic.
What other cost-effective outreach methods would you recommend besides social media?
We have successfully used contests in the past as a way to get new content for our RE3.org commercials. However, we plan to conduct a photo contest, a T-shirt contest and an electronic gaming contest in the future.