4-H Social Media Storytelling through Youth-Generated Content
For many years, Nebraska 4-H has explored ways of showcasing the learning and life skill development that happens through 4-H projects. Recently, social media storytelling has been a focus for achieving this objective. Social media storytelling is an approach involving series of posts and stories that together tell an organization’s brand story. To tell this story Nebraska 4-H utilized youth-generated content, a spin-off of user-generated content which is anything from images, videos, text, to audio that has been shared by contributors or “fans.” With an emphasis on project-based learning, 4-H is uniquely positioned to share youth-generated projects as a way to shed light on youths’ learning experiences.
Nebraska 4-H utilized three showcase opportunities to collect and share stories, including the 2020 4-H Project Showcase, the 4-H Community Service Project Showcase, and the 4-H Photography Showcase. These programs provided youth with opportunities for recognition and a chance to practice reflection and communication skills. Web-based forms were used to collect content, including photos, contact information, and quotes from youth regarding a project of their choice.
Submissions were curated to showcase a diverse group of youth. Determinations were based on information provided by youth within the submission forms, including age, geographic location, and project area. The content was also curated based on articulated, high-quality learning experiences, quality photos, and interesting or unique projects.
This innovative approach to showcasing youth and the 4-H brand story resulted in significant increases in engagement. Throughout 2020, 58 Facebook posts engaged 10,954 and saw an 11.16% engagement rate which outperformed the platform average of 7.05%. The 43 Instagram posts saw a 10.19% engagement rate, outperforming the platform average of 9.93%. The 38 Twitter posts saw a 3.1% engagement rate outperforming the platform average of 1.9%. This storytelling content contributed to year-over-year platform-wide increases in engagement. Facebook engaged 76,336, an increase of 71.48%. Twitter engaged 5,412, a 281.93% increase. Instagram engaged 4,572, an increase of 34.39%.