By Iraqi Social Forum and ICSSI Secretariats – August 7, 2017

Since its establishment, the Iraqi Social Forum has worked on developing the skills of its members and volunteers in the various fields in which it works to ensure the success of its activities. Social media platforms are of particular interest to ISF for they are effective in mobilizing the public and motivating and attracting young people. Therefore, they organized a training on social media strategies for a group of their volunteers and active members of the different ISF masar “paths” from 9-13 July 2017 at the headquarters of the al-Awj company in Baghdad.

Each ISF masar nominated a number of its members to attend the training, which developed the capacity to manage those social networking platforms best suited it. Muhannad Munjid, a member of the Iraqi Network for Social Media (INSM), led the training, focusing on how to build clear strategies to support the activities and goals of the individual masar. He helped participants understand techniques to establish proper and professional media campaigns on ISF social networking sites.

12 ISF volunteers attended the training, including representatives from the Water and Environment masar, the Sport Against Violence masar, and the Economic and Social Rights masar, as well as volunteers who work to organize activities for ISF more generally. The trainees were divided into groups according to the social media platforms they most use: Facebook (the most widespread platform across all the ISF masar), Twitter, Instagram, as well as a group dedicated to editing, blogging and writing reports, and another focused on photography, graphic design, and translation.

Over the course of the 5-day training, participants discussed how to manage these sites professionally. The first two days included introductions to different platforms, ways to manage them, and efficient ways to keep them updated, especially when updates are done continually, by more than one person. The third day focused on effective methods for targeting the public (keeping in mind the relevant differences between one platform and another), ways to encourage fruitful discourse across social media platforms, and various marketing mechanisms. The fourth day was dedicated to building electronic content that can attract attention and trigger the interest of its target audience (again recognizing the differences between platforms, and the ways that might change content and its presentation).

On the fifth and final day of the training, trainees learned how to build weekly, monthly and seasonal strategic plans for social networking sites, how to set goals, and how to track those goals to be sure they are met.

The trainer was keen to have the training proceed in an interactive and dynamic manner. He did not merely lecture to the volunteers, but created an experience which actively involved both him and the trainees. This interaction was especially powerful in the analytical exercises dedicated to the production of content — after all, engaging content is a key concern for every campaign.

The training also covered the management of Facebook ads and related techniques. As Facebook is one of the most popular tools used to help spread content on a large scale, its effective management is essential.

An atmosphere of harmony and understanding prevailed during the training; participants worked hard to improve their performances, and learned tools useful for developing successful means of disseminating the concepts and values ​​central to ISF.

The training was carried out with the support of the Norwegian Karibu Foundation, in collaboration with the Iraqi Network for Social Media and al-Awj Company, in partnership with the Information Center for Research and Development, the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative, and the Italian organization Un Ponte Per…