Thursday, October 08, 2015

Developing Strength as a Childbirth Educator Part 3 - Social Media and Space Aliens

"If I put too much on social media, Facebook will suck my brains out of my eye sockets and steal my identity."

Using social media is not about the above statement.

Using social media is meeting your demographics.
Expectant parents are not space aliens!

Remember the old Sesame Street song "Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood"? 

You just sang that, right? Yes, so did I.

But to meet the needs of all of your learners for childbirth education, social media or not, you must know your demographics and how they learn.  And the odd thing is, you cannot lump all millennials into the group of social media learners/hashtaggers.  There are some millennials that still love paper, group work and games.  Yes they are on their phones.  Why?  Are there texts?  If so, you may have just broken a code into how these learners learn.

Take a look at Ez Texting.  From this format, you can text multiple individuals right from your laptop. Their pricing structure has something for everyone and can be very helpful in reaching your class or target market.

Too busy to continually post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc?  Then try Buffer or Hootsuite.  Designed to help you reach all social media platforms with the same message at the same time, each have their own differences.  You'll want to explore both!

For you, it may be taking small steps.  This month, become comfortable with Facebook.  Next month, it will be Twitter.  Then Pinterest.  LinkedIn. Instagram.  One by one, you will conquer them and be able to use them with the ease with which you now use your website or blog or smart phone or tablet.

The learners that you are giving childbirth information to are not space aliens nor do they have different learning needs.  They do have different learning styles and to be able to reach this demographics, you will need to master these styles.  The US national average of parents attending childbirth education classes stands firmly at 33%.  That means that 56% of parents are getting their information in other places, if at all.  This 56% do not have access to your expertise, your information about informed decision making, the use of non-pharmacologic pain relief in labor or when/how to decide if the time is right for medications/intervention.

According the The Millennial Impact report from the Case Foundation, millennials have the following characteristics:

  • were born between 1980 and 2000 (ages 15-35).
  • respond to incentives and competition as motivators.
  • want to know that their involvement means something.
  • want to be recognized for their involvement.
  • peer influence is a top motivator.

From a presentation by James McGee,  Associate Professor of Medicine Assistant Dean for Medical Education Technology Director, Laboratory for Educational Technology at the University of Pittsburgh also are:

  • optimistic, generous and practical. 
  • team oriented. 
  • ability to organize and mobilize.
  • less self-reliant.

And like Gen X, are:

  • tech savvy. 
  • Cyberforagers.
  • multitaskers.
  • able to connect fluidly to their devices.
Professor McGee points out that millennials and learners of the past have many things in common:
  • provide the content themselves. 
  • organize content themselves. 
  • direct others. 
  • combine data from multiple locations. 
  • create groups, collaborate. 
  • share opinions, thoughts, and questions.

So these learners are not all that different.  The style of learning does vary and the childbirth educator can truly promote pregnancy and birth information by using a variety of media.

Do you need a social media doula?  If so, here is a promo for the new 2nd edition of my book on marketing!

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