Over 12 million Australians have accounts with Facebook1, and Australia now ranks second in the world in terms of smartphone penetration, with 37% of people owning one.2 So, what are the opportunities to utilise social media to change Australia’s drinking culture?
GrogWatch asked Chris Raine the Founder and CEO of Hello Sunday Morning, what is important when developing a community through social media.
If I’m a member of your community, I need to trust you before I’ll do what you ask of me. Trust is about making small agreements and keeping them. This is crucial in any relationship and building an online community is no different. When I started my own Hello Sunday Morning blog, I promised my readers that I would share a blog every Sunday for the year. I did that, even when I didn’t feel like it. When people see that you do what you say, it builds trust in what you have to say and to offer, and this translates into a positive relationship where both sides listen and act. Great things take a lot of energy to build over a long period of time. There are a lot of dreadful websites out there in the alcohol and other drug field that no one uses because the funds ran out on the person who was responsible for building that trust. And once it’s gone, it’s really gone. So, be there for the long haul or get behind someone that will.
Another aspect that is critical to building trust and the success of online communities is authenticity. If you are trying to set a standard, you keep it. If I’m a member of your community, I want to be able to read about your life and how you use alcohol or drugs – authentically. I want to know that there is a real person on the other side asking me to change. I want to see their change, because if that is not there, forget it.
When it comes to alcohol and other drug services, your customer is not the person funding you. The number of websites and the amount of information that focuses on exploring the problems that governments experience with drugs and alcohol, rather than concentrating on the problems that people who use drugs experience every day, is mind-boggling. For example, if I’m your average binge drinker, I’m not going to associate my drinking with issues such as rape or violence or anything like that, even if some of these things have impacted me or people I know, because I will frame my drinking in a positive way that supports my lifestyle choices. However, if you present me with an argument that resonates – losing weight, feeling better about my life or not losing friends when I change – I am more inclined to listen and to act.
Keep it simple
Have just one or two simple things that you ask. Don’t try to change every part of my life. Just focus on one or two little things – the things that will make the most difference.
Founder and CEO of Hello Sunday Morning
For more information on leveraging social media:
- Check out the Australian Drug Foundation’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
- Read our publications on social media: Prevention Research and Prevention in Action.