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Sharing sustainability stories: Case study of social media content curation for Canada Research Connections
What is the best way to break through all the online noise with the vital message of sustainability? This paper details a case study on the strategic use of social media, where content curation tactics are employed to share scientific information related to sustainability. This type of marketing approach is currently under-utilised in both environmental marketing and scientific communication. The study finds that the best practices in the online marketing literature are profoundly useful for spreading sustainability messages to the public via social media platforms. Best practices such as knowing one’s audience, using visuals, maintaining a positive message and providing value make it possible to grow reach, even with a topic that is somewhat dry and unlikely to inspire sharing. In a world where information overload is a pressing concern, content curation is a valuable tactic in every digital communicator’s toolkit, allowing even scientific, technical and sustainability communicators to build communities with relatively low resourcing requirements. This shows how content curation can be highly effective in cutting through internet ‘noise’, even in challenging or non-typical communication situations.
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Jaigris Hodson is an Associate Professor in the College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads University. Her research concerns online information flows and the ways social media and digital communication technologies can be leveraged to support communication in the public interest. She has previously worked as a Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellow, where she was embedded with Environment and Climate Change Canada, recommending strategies for the effective communication of climate science to the public.
Ann Dale is Director of the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University, and is a former Canada Research Chair and Trudeau Fellow Alumna. Professor Dale’s current project — National Environmental Treasure — uses social and digital media tools to educate the public about the importance of biodiversity to the future of the planet.
Jaime Clifton-Ross is a research associate and associate faculty member in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University. She is currently the communications lead on the National Environmental Treasure project, overseeing the communication strategy and development of social and digital media messaging across a variety of platforms. She also teaches environmental communication at Royal Roads University and has experience in both digital and analogue curation practices.