Online Communication Strategy for the North American Sturgeon and Paddlefish Society
Audience: Facebook users, LinkedIn users, Twitter users, and NASPS website viewers
NASPS Mission: Seeking to address current declines in sturgeon and paddlefish populations across North America, NASPS is dedicated to promoting the conservation and restoration of these species by developing and advancing research pertaining to their biology, management, and utilization. Distributing scientific, cultural, and historical information related to sturgeon and paddlefish in North America and encouraging the inclusion of sturgeon and paddlefish fisheries science in college and continuing education curricula is critical to achieving these objectives. As such, NASPS recognizes the importance of engaging NASPS members, local, national, and international government organizations, educational institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the general public through publications, professional meetings, and community events.
Implementation Strategy: Online communication and use of existing and future social media platforms for messaging is an important part of our society's ability to achieve its mission. In order to do this, a few basic rules need followed:
- Online media represents the voice of the NASPS. As such, all posts should keep the society mission and objectives first and foremost in mind. Anything short of authoritative, science-based posts will not be acceptable.
- Different sites offer different formats, and therefore different opportunities to communicate society activities and to offer information and educational materials. As such, we need to examine those that allow us to meet our mission and objectives. Responses to comments or questions posted by members or the general public must represent the NASPS mission and objectives. If the posts are inappropriate or unworkable with our society message, they risk doing longer-term damage to our society than a short boost in visibility could ever cover.
Media Platform Strategy: Because we anticipate the vast majority of our online media users to be either NASPS members or people interested in supporting the mission of the NASPS, we are focusing primarily on providing information to members, science professionals and interested persons on the above listed sites/formats. Our message will be similar on each, but tailored as follows:
- Facebook’s platform will let us target professionals and lay persons with information about NASPS, NASPS activities, and benefits of being a NASPS member while directing the viewer to the NASPS website.
- LinkedIn's platform is more oriented towards professionals and as such our post will be more static and will describe the purpose and benefits of becoming a NASPS member while directing the viewer to the NASPS website.
- Twitter will be used for quirkier purposes, not the normal, dry, business stuff a lot of places use it for now. Links to videos, sturgeon-in-the-news, and the like will be our primary communication through this channel.
- The NASPS website will bring us the largest percentage of our business and be our primary method of communicating with the general public and NASPS members. As such, we will provide viewers with NASPS information, bylaws, governing board information, a members-only section, and how-to-join information. We will promote the benefits of being a NASPS member or supporting NASPS, educating viewers about our affiliation and giving us a hip, online edge.
Future formats: We understand the online world changes and online platforms must be aggressively used while still relevant. To that end, we must strive to make sure our message stays relevant - and is being given in the right places to grow our society.
Projected effectiveness: We expect our approach to online communication to be successful given the relevance of sturgeon and paddlefish issues across the continent. As long as we don’t seem “stiff” or "obtuse" to those readers seeing our posts, an online presence can only help, and, as stated above, could certainly benefit the mission of the NASPS.
Closing: This document serves as a general guide to our online communications and may change depending on the society’s needs and focus. Other professional society's have employed similar schemes to great effect. Let’s keep it fresh, original, and informative.