The time between June 21st and 29th, 2021 was a time well spent! Together with the help of 8 social media and communications professionals and 120 participants from Central Asia and Caucasus regions we uncovered the power of social media for activists.

The workshops allowed a deep dive into building a comms strategy and evaluating its performance, “how-tos” on podcast production, creating cool graphics with Canva and making videos with your phone. We also hosted a networking session for women’s rights activists. Let us walk you through the key takeaways!

Day 1&2 

Val Voshchevska (Amnesty International) and Dante Likona (IFRC) kicked off MEGAPHONE Central Asia and Caucasus with a two-part knowledge-packed seminar: “Mobilize a community of like-minded people through social media!” and “Evaluate & improve your social media performance”. 

What did we learn? 

Social media challenge traditional concepts of information and power and have encouraged some of the most influential social movements of today, such as the revolution in Ukraine, #metoo and Black Lives Matter. And since 4.3 billion people use social media globally, the number 1 tip is to BE THERE. 

Once you are, it’s good to know the 3 main principles: connect, motivate and engage. You can think of it as a journey that a person takes with your content and your brand. Curate your posts around value-based graphics to warm up to new audiences, educate them, react to current events that people are already talking about and only then ask for a specific action like donating. 

💥 “There is no innovation without experimentation” 

The options to promote your initiatives are almost endless, so experiment and evaluate on the go, measuring what is important to you. And while adapting to the ever-changing algorithms, remember that it is a rented land and we do not own the channels (so also invest in those that you do own –  like your website). 

Day 3 & 5

During the next sessions Kairzhan Albarazov, the founder of Kazakh’s “FindyourB” podcast, shared his experience with building a brand that attracts over 10000 listeners with every episode and explained the technical aspects of podcasts production. A couple of the main points that he touched up upon during a two-part workshop are: 

💥Creating a successful podcast requires time and consistency – building a large following might take up to 2 years so don’t be discouraged 

💥It’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Create content for a minimum of 5 episodes and work on the newer ones in the meantime 

💥Don’t worry about how your voice sounds – we’ve all been there and you’ll get used to it 

💥Don’t be afraid of rejection from your potential guests – it is a part of the podcast game! 

Additional pro tip from our speaker: If you would like to learn more and get your hands “dirty”, you can check out the anchor.fm online tool with all the necessary functions to get you started. 

Day 4

Day four of MEGAPHONE Central Asia and Caucasus was a special one. We met with women’s rights activists that work tirelessly in both regions, including our speakers: Dina Smailova from NeMolchi.KZ, Nigina Khalmukhamedova, Exponaut, and Hera Hussein, the founder of CHAYN.

Lightning talks and a Q&A session were moderated by Irina Matvienko, the main force of NeMolchi.UZ, and touched on the most important initiatives, everyday struggles and victories as well as offered a wellbeing ABC for activists.

 

 

 

 

Day 6

On Monday, June 28th, we turned to TechSoup Europe’s own Communication Wizard, Kasia Zwolak-Szwechowicz with a session on making cool graphics for social media using Canva.  

Statistically, we scroll up to 100 meters of content on social media each day (!) so you should make sure it stands out from the crowd with: 

💥 Remembering less is more: don’t overcomplicate your creation with too many graphic elements or text
💥 Thinking about the colors you use as each entails different qualities and emotions
💥 Using animation in your design (animated text, videos, stickers): it’s good for the social media algorithms
💥 Choosing a font with a modern-looking feel to it (like Sans serif) – it will improve the readability of your text
💥 Making sure to prepare your design in the right format (check graphic dimension requirements for the social media platform you want to post on) 

And most importantly, have fun with it! 

Day 7

The event was concluded with a “Making videos with your phone” workshop by George Gogua, a journalist and visual storyteller from Tbilisi, Georgia. Amongst other topics, we talked about the importance of knowing the audience you’re talking to, not only in terms of what topics are crucial to them but what social media platforms they use.  

It is a known fact that we have our mobile phones with us all the time, and with the amount of information that we consume daily – according to multiple researchers – our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. That is why on average we have only 3 seconds to draw the viewer in and should fill the first 15 to 30 seconds with the message that we want to get across.  

💥 Pro tip from our speaker: create a script for your video before you hit record. Include the verbal/text information and visual description for each scene. 

And remember: “If you have social media – you can be a storyteller”! 

What’s next?

We would like to thank all of the session leaders and participants who made this event possible and hope that we will be able to host you again soon! 

The MEGAPHONE Central Asia and Caucasus sessions were not recorded but we encourage you to visit other MEGAPHONE-related resources from previous editions: 

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