By Crystal Ross, UDWR Social Media Coordinator
In the early days of social media, an old photo or a link was adequate in getting word out about what Utah Division of Wildlife Resources was working on. We used social media as a support component (not the primary tool) for sharing information with the public.
The way our customers used social media — as well as the manner in which platforms function — evolved over the years, and it forced us to find ways to adapt. Social media is now one of the most critical pieces in our outreach puzzle, and thankfully, we’ve found some ways to efficiently and professionally use it to develop our online presence.
I’d like to share with you two of our most-used storytelling tools.
I’ve always watched the social media analytics closely and used that data to develop better, more efficient ways of communicating with our public. I noticed that videos with text overlay always have higher audience retention rates and more interaction than those with just a caption in the description box.
But I have a background in writing and editing, not video making. I didn’t know how to make videos like that. The video-making software that exists has always been intimidating to me.
Tool 1. Animoto for video making
A few years ago, the Division’s videographer showed me how to use Animoto – a cloud-based video-creation service that allows users to drag and drop video clips and still images to make customized videos (with text overlay!). I knew the second he sat down and showed me this tool that it would become integral in my social media world at the Division. It’s extremely easy to change the music and design of the video. I mean it when I say I truly don’t know what I’d do without Animoto.
Most of the content I receive comes from biologists working in the field, so I receive it in all forms and file formats. Animoto allows me to upload it all straight from my downloads folder, rearrange the clips how I want, time the slides how I want and wrap it up with clean Division branding.
The program includes many pre-made templates. Often, I’ll just use the generic template for simple storytelling.
Tool 2. Canva for stylized graphics
Canva is a simplified graphic-design tool website that can be used for both web and print media graphics. I like to call it my non-designer design tool because with their easy-to-use templates, anything I drop in there becomes professional-grade in five seconds flat.
I’ve found it particularly useful when I want to add text on top of a still image for an attention-grabbing effect on the Division’s social media platforms. Depending on the messaging, text on top of an image can be very effective.
Animoto has a free trial opportunity, and the annual fees for both programs are very reasonable. Both allow for multiple logins so that you and your team can use it simultaneously.
When crafting messages about fish and wildlife, we often want to evoke a certain mood. Depending on your agency’s communication goals, the mood will shift often. These tools help us customize moods (with limited resources and time) to help get folks excited about hunting, viewing and fishing opportunities in Utah.
(This is not a paid endorsement.)