Humans vs. Ticks and Internships
Are humans smarter than ticks? According to Dr. Tom Mather at University of Rhode Island’s TickEncounter Resource Center, not by a long shot.
But ticks don’t have social media.
Leading a team 4 social media interns and 2 other social media professionals, we’ve spent the past 6 months fighting off ticks one tweet at a time. How’s that? Come again?
A decades-long leading tick researcher, Dr. Mather saw an opportunity to harness social media to save lives and well-being. According to the CDC, Lyme disease rates are actually 10 times higher than what has been reported. In these parts, it’s hard to find people who haven’t been affected.
Are ticks zombies in our midst? Here’s where we start to fight back
I narrowed down URI’s Harrington School of Communication’s best and brightest to become TickSmart interns. Thanks to Newport Interactive Marketers, I knew just which social media pros would be ideal social media mentors. Once we settled on an initial strategy and goals for this first-of-its kind project, the pros trained and mentored the Journalism, Marketing, PR, and Environmental Science/Writing majors.
The first challenge was nailing the messaging. How to train an intern to speak the language of tick researchers? Everyone adapted, and we found successes.
TickSmart Social Media Team Successes
- Blogger outreach and guest posting
- Building Pinterest boards without strictly showing pictures of ticks
- Developing media outreach lists
- Creating segmented newsletter content
- Developing a TickSmart pledge card tool to link in-person events with ongoing relationships
- Testing and engaging and growing followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook
- Repurposing email content into SEO-rich blog posts
Some Welcome Social Media Surprises
- Developing memes and enticing the tick research teams to create dozens more
- Videoing a riff of a cult movie trailer
- Presenting at South by Southwest Interactive
South by Southwest is still a work-in-progress, and I’d like your help!
Help spread the word about Lyme disease and tick prevention by engaging with these influential people!
Let’s use social media & SXSW influencers to beat back the ticks: Click on the thumbs up, or leave a comment. Simply follow this link, http://bit.ly/TickvsHumansSXSW, sign in, and comment!
Thanks in advance, on behalf of the TickSmart Social Media team, the tireless TickEncounter researchers, and everyone who’s been or will be touched by ticks and may become infected.