Impact 48 – a learning experience

Impact48 aims to help a charity by having a real impact in just 48 hours. Yet the impact last far longer than that. I’ve been volunteering with Impact48, helping out with social media. I originally got involved because the concept of doing something positive in a single weekend sounded difficult yet fun. I was right but I’ve got so much more out of this experience as well as a challenging and inspiring weekend!

I had a basic grasp of social media when I started out volunteering for Impact48. I used Facebook regularly, had dabbled in Twitter and knew about blogs, although had never written one myself. However, I wanted to do a good job both for our first charity, Music in Hospitals Scotland, and for Impact48. The main goals I was working towards were to promote our pilot weekend with MiHScotland and to help generate interest in Impact48 as an organisation, building a network of followers.

To help guide me through the social media world I was fortunate enough to meet some great people. Dug Campbell, a digital strategy consultant, talked me through the basic and finer points of Twitter. He offered pointers on how to raise awareness, gain more followers and manage various social media platforms under one banner.  His support during my early explorations into Twitter was invaluable. Dug helped me move from using Twitter in a casual, connect with your friends way, to using it in a professional context, network with interested parties to increase dedicated followers. The other key person in guiding me through social media promotion was Alex Robertson, working for Yard Digital. Alex helped me out with strategy and offered more useful tidbits to keep people interested in the build up to our first weekend. He helped me finding interesting articles that our followers might like and offered suggestions to improve my Tweeting. Meeting Dug and Alex opened my eyes to online marketing and strategy and helped push Impact48 forwards.

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The weekend itself was a blast. It was great to meet and work alongside everyone on the team and see what they came up with. I had the odd position of almost being on the outside looking in. I was reporting on the weekend, writing the blog, tweeting, posting pictures and generally letting the outside world feel like part of our little team. Whilst I got to contribute ideas I was mainly observing others and reporting on it. Despite this outsider’s position I still felt like a valued team member and had a great time over the weekend.

One of the most important things I learnt from my experience with Impact48 was not to be afraid to make mistakes. Social media is about finding and expressing your voice and I have tried to do that for Impact48. All the experiences I had culminated in a promotional video I made to try and give a feel for how an Impact48 weekend might go. A mix of video, photos and quotes from the weekend, hopefully it sums up everything Impact48 is about.

Volunteering with Impact48 had given me a greater understanding of social media and a new love for the way you can share ideas across a wide audience. I am incredibly grateful to Barry, Impact48’s creator, for giving me the chance to be part of the team and the responsibility of guiding Impact48 online through their first challenge weekend. I have learnt a lot, meet some wonderful people and enjoyed the experience.

Our first weekend with Ezone Software and Music in Hospitals Scotland was a great success. The next step is another weekend, and to make it as successful as the first. Don’t lose interest – Imapct48 will be back; sign up to our newsletter to find out more and for chances to be involved.

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