Monthly Archives: June 2014

Using social media to reach more people

As an Extension Agent, you may already have an excellent network of people in your community. But how do you reach others who may not know you’re available as a resource?

You can try adding social media as another point of contact! You don’t have to invest very much time to put yourself and your expertise out there for the public.

How do you get started, you may ask? I highly recommend testing the social media waters by setting up a Twitter account.

Screen-Shot-2014-06-19-at-10.05.10-AMYou can start by going to and signing up for an account. You’ll be walked through steps to set things up, and you’ll be given suggestions to find people and organizations to follow. Be sure to follow @VCE_news, @VAExtensionPubs, and @VTAgLifeSci!

Once you’re set up, spend some time browsing through others’ tweets to see what people are posting and who their followers are. You can start building your networking by following other people and groups and sharing their posts. Many users use the practice of following their followers, which in turn increases your visibility online.

After you’re comfortable with how Twitter works, you can start promoting your account! The best way to gain followers is to tell people how to find you — word of mouth, business cards, website links, etc.

The Office of Communications and Marketing is here to help promote your social media account, too! We have more than 2,000 followers on both Twitter and Facebook, and we have a growing number of followers on Pinterest. We’d be happy to share your information with the masses to get the word out.

Once you start gaining followers, be sure to keep dialogue open. More social media accounts fail because there’s no two-way communication. If someone sends you a note, respond! Even if you don’t know the answer, a prompt response increases your reputation in customer service. One thing we do with the Extension accounts is direct people to contact their local Unit Offices if they have a specific question, and we provide the URL link to the offices’ website.

With your helpfulness, you’ll be seen as someone who has the answers or knows where to get them. You’ll see your online followers grow without much effort, and people will know to look to you as the expert!

If you have specific questions about how to get started, please contact Brandi Evans ( in the Office of Communications and Marketing.

More Tips:

Susan Gill

The life of Extension materials

One of the core values of Extension is providing relevant, research-based information.  Whether that is in the form of educational presentations, phone conversations, web or social media materials, or written publications.  Recently, the Extension Project Leaders started a process to develop a sunset date for all of their Extension fact sheets, newsletters, and publications that are posted on the VCE web site.  The VCE website contains over 3,000 separately posted items and over 1,200 have not been reviewed since the last web site update (2009).  After reviewing and soliciting other state policies, most are using a 5-year time frame.  VCE has adopted this time frame as well.

The revision process can take place at any time and if the information has changed, new information/research is available, or new recommendations are warrantied, the materials should be updated.  This has always been the author’s responsibility.  The sunset date provides an effective way to keep authors accountable so that periodic review and reassignment of authors (if retirement or movement of an author) occurs.  This will assure that VCE publications are timely and the information has a specialist/contact who can provide follow-up if additional information or clarification is needed.

While we desire the most relevant information, some publications will be pulled from the VCE website and we have been diligent to archive these publications with the Library of Virginia –

Please let us know your thoughts on the life of Extension materials.

Bobby Grisso