Social media, it seems can bring out the worst in people. For some it offers an opportunity to share negative opinions that would most likely be internalised, in any other social setting or interaction. Trolling and fat shaming are just two examples. A whole host of celebrities have ditched their social accounts due to harassment and bullying.
But this isn’t the whole picture. For an organisation like IAM RoadSmart, social media can be a huge force for good.
It’s our 60th birthday this year and last weekend we held our conference in Birmingham. This is an event where representatives from our volunteer network from around the country and staff come together to discuss ideas and strategy about where we, as an organisation, are going.
The nature of the conference is very much internal. How do we work as a team to get the best results? But the outputs and outcomes give us an ideal opportunity to demonstrate to others what exactly advanced driving and riding is about. It’s fun, it’s social and it’s relevant to all drivers and riders.
Social media provides the ideal channel for making the jump between an internal story and an external one.
At the event we had a message board, where guests could share their thoughts on the day, as well as leave feedback for other attendees and staff. As well as providing a heart-warming keepsake for the office this allowed us to visually share the sentiment of the day.
Over the two days, 400 of our group representatives attended 50 sessions. From motorcycling, to new drivers and riders, to insurance, we tackled the topics which affect our work the most. We shared information and ideas. A session on policy and research generated several hundred post it notes of new ideas on the things we should be looking into.
IAM RoadSmart has 92,000 members and 5,000 active volunteers. We have a huge network of individuals supporting us and spreading the message of improving driving and riding standards and enjoyment through life-long learning. But social media allows us to expand that reach by an infinite amount.
Many of our groups are also using social media to great effect. Shropshire Advanced Motorists and Motorcyclists took our social media award home from the conference. Check them out on Twitter @SAMMShropshire.
As demonstrated by Three’s #holidayspam campaign – the video is well worth a watch – in 2016 everything a company does is driven by what its customers want. Not the other way round. What do drivers and riders want from us? What worries people on the road? What are the road safety topics we should be campaigning on?
Social media is a fantastic way for us to answer these questions. Let us know your thoughts via the comment section on this blog, twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, or of course put pen to paper or pick up the phone.
Caroline Holmes, IAM RoadSmart’s communications manager