For Young People

Be Heard:

Success with social media

Young Australians are some of the biggest users of social media in the world. Social media offers great opportunities to promote what you’re doing and involve others. But before you start posting or tweeting, think about creating your own guidelines, who your audience is and what content they’ll be interested in.

Before you start using social media as part of your project, campaign or activity, some important questions to ask yourself are:

  • Why exactly do we want to use social media? To raise awareness or build a community? Or both?
  • What key messages do we want to promote?

Now think about things from the point of view of your potential audience – what’s in it for them?

Why would someone want to like your page, read your posts or follow your tweets?

Think about:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What social media do they actually use?
  • What sort of content will they find valuable or entertaining?
Social media guidelines

Creating a good social media guidelines - for you and your audience - will mean you’re clear on how you guard against things going wrong. You’ll need to decide:

  • Who in your group or team will be responsible for social media?
  • Will you keep your personal social media accounts separate from your campaign, activity or project accounts?
  • What will be appropriate things to share with your audience?
Some things to remember

Social media is a public space, meaning anyone might see what’s been written, possibly some years later. Think about the sort of impact negative comments or images could have on your audience, for you, or any group you represent.

Social media conversations are different to real life. When people can’t see or hear each other they can’t pick up on subtle tone or body language. Which means they might misunderstand someone’s comments or reactions. Unfortunately, some people can act very differently online to how they might act normally. You’ll need to watch out for internet bullies and trolls.

Think carefully about what you share on social media. There could be legal risks, like:

To think through any of these ideas in more detail, take a look at:

And if you’re really worried about some of the legal stuff, get in touch with Youthlaw.


Content is the things you want your audience to see, share and interact with.

Give people a reason to like or follow you, or share what you’re doing. Provide information that’s useful, relevant, accurate, evidence–based and up–to–date. Think facts, statistics, links and quotes. Mix up content with entertaining, funny and thought-provoking. Vary between pictures, videos, links and text.

Always give credit to who you took the information from. Tag them in your post or tweet, e.g. “10 great tips for running meetings, via @yacvic”.

Social media channels need regular content to survive. Try and post something new at least every other day. But don’t annoy your audience by overloading them. If you’re posting more than a few times a day you’re overdoing it!

Think before you post or tweet.

  • How will your audience respond?
  • Are you using language and concepts they’ll understand?
  • Is there anything that could be misunderstood?
  • How might someone from a different background to you feel if they read it? Put yourself in other people’s shoes. If you’re unsure, don’t post.
  • Always check links before you re-post or re-tweet them! Make sure they’re what you think they are and appropriate for you to share.
Growing a social media community

It takes time to build an online community. Be aware that different audiences can grow in different directions. Social media isn’t a competition to get the most ‘likes’ or followers. It’s the quality of interaction – the amount of comments, replies or re-tweets you get – that’s important. To attract more people to your audience, promote your social media channels as often as possible, online and offline. But remember that the best way to grow your audience will be your existing members sharing your content, so don’t neglect them.

To build engagement:

  • Ask questions and facilitate conversations. Ask your audience for their feedback about your content.
  • Respond to replies and comments in good time. Show you value and respect your audience’s opinions.
  • Give your audience a campaign to focus on. Make it clear why it benefits them (and their friends) to get involved.
  • Look to your audience to drive discussions. If you can, give control to users by making them moderators or administrators.
  • Identify and celebrate those people who are most engaged in what you’re doing. Thank them and credit them for their ideas
  • Let your audience see your human side. Include occasional pictures or video clips of people in your organisation relaxing or being silly. Show people that it’s fun to get involved with what you’re doing!
What you can do now

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