How to Use Social Media to Promote Endangered Places Lists

Posted on: June 8th, 2011 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

Written by Priya Chhaya

Did you know that the National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Places announcement is just around the corner? Next Wednesday, June 15, the 2011 list will be announced - so keep an eye out for this year’s list on the blog and www.PreservationNation.org. The National Trust isn’t the only preservation organization to draw attention to endangered historic places, however. Every year statewide and local organizations list historic sites in their region that are under threat, in peril, or endangered.

Here at Forum we put together (along with some help from PreservationNation’s Jason Clement) some tips for how to use social media to promote your list of endangered historic places. This list was adapted from a Forum Bulletin article that provides even more information and resources on incorporating social media into your organization’s communications strategy.

1. Plan ahead to build momentum. Develop a schedule to help you reach a broad audience without overwhelming them with duplicative messages.

2. Form partnerships. Alert partner organizations early on about your announcement date so they can spread the word for you.

3. Go beyond text. Use social media sites such as Flickr and YouTube as a storehouse for images and videos that can be shared with the larger network—including the media.

4. Map It! Use Google Maps to illustrate relationships between threatened sites and their surrounding community.

5. Take action. Invite community members to help you save these places-- ask them to share stories, memories, or even to donate to your organization.

6. Don't just create, curate. As news of your endangered list ripples out, use blogs posts and tweets from “outsiders” to spread the word to your constituents. And don’t forget to …

7. Editorialize. If you link to an “outside” blog post or article, make sure to put your spin on it and explain why this is important to your story.

8. Make capacity. Let your members help you. Find a volunteer to help implement a social media communications plan for your endangered list.

9. Manage the conversation. Monitor any conversations related to articles and blog posts about your endangered list. Don’t play the moderator--instead interact with community members who have a stake in the listed sites.

10. Be prepared to lose control. Start the conversation and advocate for places on the list. When participating in conversations don’t get on the defensive or antagonize. Be prepared to follow the conversation in whatever direction it may go.

More questions? Read the Forum Bulletin article for more information and resources, and don’t forget to check www.preservationnation.org next Wednesday, June 15 for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual 11 Most Endangered Places list.

Priya Chhaya is a program associate in the Partnerships Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

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