How I Nearly Went Viral with Sneaky Safety

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I’m an early adopter of social media and have retained a few apps as old standbys while adding new apps. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are my go-to’s. Google+ is a necessary (and automated) platform for me. And Snapchat has become one of my favorite platforms.

I’ve been able to use all of my favorite apps for personal as well as business communication and content, however Facebook is the most recent social media tool I’m using for business. It seems a little backwards, but for the longest time I maintained a firm line between business and personal use of Facebook.

I started using Facebook more for safety information in the past year because I’m the Assistant Administrator of ASSE’s Women in Safety Engineering (WISE) common interest group. The WISE Facebook group is amazingly engaging. There is fresh and relevant content daily from our members who post, but do not over-post – it’s a great dynamic that needs very little moderating.

Engaging. That’s the key. The WISE Facebook group is successful because the members want to hear what others have to say or have found something valuable to share.

As I’ve experimented with different types of posts on my business Facebook page, I’m learning some hard lessons about engagement. I spent $40 on boosting two different types of posts and learned a lot. One post was an infographic about safety and the internet of things. I boosted it ahead of a speaking engagement on the same topic at a regional safety conference. The engagement was abysmal, barely a blip.

The most recent boosted post was something I almost walked by. I had just dropped off my daughter at daycare and was walking home when I greeted a construction worker who’s been working on the road in our neighborhood for weeks. I usually say hi or good morning to the crew, but that day, the worker was particularly engaging, most likely because the weather was nice, so we commented on it (because it’s Minnesota). As he continued walking ahead of me, I saw his high-visibility shirt had a custom message that you can see in the photo below. I asked him if I could take his picture and immediately posted it on my social media platforms.

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CHECK OUT THESE ANALYTICS! It’s a little ridiculous, isn’t it?

Something Gary Vaynerchuk has discussed on his show came to mind as I reviewed the results of this boosted post – people take photos for the purpose of sharing them on social media to put a specific persona out there to the world. 

Stay with me here…

Safety is boring to those who are not safety professionals.

Safety professionals are always trying to find ways to make safety training or programs more engaging and memorable so that people remember the “rules” so they don’t get hurt.

Safety professionals who can make safety *not* boring have more success with retention of training by their students.

Many safety professionals do not know how to not be boring, and seek out content from colleagues or the internet to improve their training.

Here’s where my silly Facebook post comes in – it makes people laugh, engage, and share the post. It’s sneaky safety, which is a tactic I employ frequently. I hope some of my boring fellow safety pros steal the post and use it in their training. I hope non-safety pros who engaged with the post thought about safety a little more after seeing the photo, and it sets them on a path that safety is not boring.

For more info on making safety fun, check out the podcast that originally accompanied the viral photo here.

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