Author Archives: ProMo Cymru

  1. Meet Shazia

    by ProMo Cymru | 19th Apr 2021

    Written By Shazia Ali

    At ProMo-Cymru we support the development of skills for young people and help grow new talent. Meet Shazia, who’s exploring her interests in social media and expanding her skillset through working as a freelancer for our marketing team.

    Media has always captivated me. Like most people, I grew up entranced by films and tv, and continue to consume way too much Netflix, but it’s my complex relationship with the news that’s been something that’s long since defined me.

    Being born and raised in Wales, coupled with my Bangladeshi ethnicity and Islamic faith backgrounds, consuming media that has so often been misrepresentation and distortion of my identity and communities, has made me someone who is acutely aware of the issues around accurate and representative coverage. This pushed me to study Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University, where I would also shadow at busy newsrooms and radio stations in between lectures.

    Following graduation, I was able to launch straight into some creative communications as a media assistant to an interfaith organisation. It’s here that I transformed a highly academic, densely informative space, into a buzzing social media environment. It’s my love for digital communications that helped me produce fresh and timely content that fit current social media styles, while still remaining unique. Then came an extremely demanding role as a reporter for a local news channel. I found compelling stories daily and managed a small team of journalists, as we ambitiously covered all aspects of a tv broadcast. It was in this role that I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the diverse communities of my home city of Swansea and earn the trust of people to tell their stories with authenticity and heart.

    Currently, I’m delivering a , peer-lead, ‘votes at 16’ digital campaign aimed at empowering young People of Colour, to vote in the Welsh election, as well as finding stories about Welsh BAME people’s community contributions during Covid, all while assisting the marketing team at ProMo-Cymru.

    For most people in their early 20s, the job market is daunting, and the odds can be stacked against some of us, so breaking into the media industry can feel impossible. But opportunities like the ones I have now, allow me to hone and develop skills, and explore passions, and I’ve never been more excited for what’s to come.

  2. Coronavirus: How To Deal With Social Media

    by ProMo Cymru | 25th Mar 2020

    Written by Giulia Mammana

    Working from home, it’s easy to find yourself distracted by all the news and opinions being shared on social media. Just a quick check to see what’s happening and you’re caught in a vicious cycle without even realising. Navigating from one piece of news to another, it has never been easier to get lost in a web of arguments, fake news and conspiracies.

    This is even more true when your work actually involves using social media, meaning you have to spend more time on the web finding out about trending topics and what the latest situation is. This doesn’t mean that social media is not helpful at this time of uncertainty. I don’t think that self-imposed restrictions, like just searching for the information that you need, is  realistic in times of crisis like this one. Things are changing quickly and you need to stay informed every day.

    A healthy amount of social media

    The amount of targeted articles and information that you can pick up from social media can save you a lot of time searching. It can inform you quickly and clearly about how to protect yourself and those around you. 

    To lead a healthy life in lockdown you need to develop your own personal strategy, and find a balance between checking information and wasting precious time. Joining in with online disagreements is never a good idea in my opinion. It will soon get lost in replying to what others are saying, and things can quickly escalate to verbal agression, which won’t make you feel great, especially at a time that is very testing mentally for everyone.

    Personally, I spend about 15 mintues of spare time a day on social media, either early in the morning or at night, to make sure I’m up to date on the news of the day. I might get caught up for longer with some funny or engaging content, but I try not to be to hard on myself when this happens. I know that it can be a great way to release stress too.

    Judge what’s reliable and what’s not

    Take time to ensure that what you’re reading and sharing is coming from reliable sources. Check all the pages that you are following, are they what’s considered as respected sources? If not, then unfollow. There’s enough happening in the world right without putting more stress on yourself.

    Be aware that lots of people are spreading fake news. It’s usually easy to spot them, as they tend to link to unknown, obscure sources and use aggressive communication.

    If you don’t think you’re getting enough valuable information from your social media feed then why not have a re-think about the pages that you’re following? Think about what would be beneficial to you and start following new pages.

    A perfect balance of informative and light hearted Facebook pages in my opinion is about 80-20% Social media is a powerful tool to get quick, comprehensive information, you just need to use it in a smart, constructive way.

    Further information

    To find out more about our work, take a look at our Projects pages. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be notified of any new articles we’ll be posting to help you during this time of crisis.

    If you work with young people please let them know about the Meic helpline service that continues to run as normal during this time. Trustworthy articles suitable for young people are being posted about the Covid-19 crisis on their news pages and children, young people and professionals can keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

  3. Giving Biodiversity a Helping Hand: A Bug Paradise

    by ProMo Cymru | 29th Mar 2019

    Written By Thomas Morris

    A group of young people took part in a Wildlife Garden Workshop at the Ebbw Vale Institute creating bug hotels and seed bombs to help pollinating bugs and improve the area around the building.

    The EVI is a historical community building in Ebbw Vale that was regenerated and is run by ProMo-Cymru. It provides a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise developments and is home to a variety of third sector organisations.

    Young people from Llamau, Act Trainingand Blaenau Gwent Youth Services took part in this special workshop run by Eggseeds, an organisation that delivers outdoor education teaching people about nature and biodiversity. The workshop was organised as part of a series of sustainability measures taking place at the EVI as part of a WCVA supported project made possible through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.

    bug houses being painted
    Painting the bug hotels in lovely bright colours

    Vacancies at the Bug Hotel

    The workshop began with building bug hotels, small wooden buildings that can house all kinds of insects and even some birds. These wooden structures were all attached to a big slab of AstroTurf and will be placed just outside the front of the EVI. This will create a small, elevated street for bugs to thrive in inside the community garden.

    Before the buildings could be made ready for the bugs to move in though, it was time to smarten them up a little to catch the eye of any EVI passers-by. The young people got to work painting the bughouses and bug hotels!

    The inside of the bug houses
    Chalkboard roofs, with straw and bamboo filling

    Attracting the bugs

    “The three taller structures will mainly attract flying insects. Bees, butterflies and lacewings might like to nest inside them” explained Sam from Eggseeds.

    “We stuffed some of the smaller houses full of sawdust with just a few small gaps to get in. This makes it ideal for beetles to burrow through. We added larger round holes to some of the smaller houses too, to make an ideal nesting place for birds.”

    Once painted, the chalkboard roofs (good for writing messages on) were nailed to the buildings with power tools and the houses were then stuffed with sawdust and cut bamboo tubes. Sawdust stuffing creates a malleable environment for insects to burrow and nest inside. Think of all the extra surface area for their tiny bodies to slip into and crawl along. It’s hoped that the bamboo tubes will become a place for bees to lay eggs.

    finished seed bombs
    Seed bombs are a great way of planting wildflowers

    Bombing for blooms

    With the bug buildings looking fantastic it was time to move on to the next activity – creating seed bombs. Seed bombing is an ancient Japanese organic farming technique, a way of seeding which is kinder to the land and protects the seeds from birds and other wildlife. This is a great way to increase biodiversity in your local area.

    We used seeds that sprout hardy wildflowers. The other benefit of seed bombs is that, as the seeds are encased inside hard-packed earth, birds can’t easily eat the seeds, giving them time to start growing.

    dirty hands rolling seed bombs
    Getting muddy creating the seed bombs

    How to create your own Seed Bombs:

    Step 1: Scoop up some wet clay, mix it with some soil, roll into a ball and make a dent with your finger

    Step 2: Pick up two or three seeds and drop them into the dent (any more and the seeds will compete for resources when in the ground and won’t grow to their full potential)

    Step 3: Knead the seeds into the centre of the ball

    Step 4: Throw the seed bomb onto any fertile or waste ground and hope that plants will grow.

    bug houses in situ
    The bug hotels and houses standing proudly outside the EVI

    Be a wildlife hero

    It doesn’t take much to make a difference to the biodiversity of your local area. Why not take some of the ideas above and create a paradise for birds and insects in your own garden? The participants were really happy with the finished results and headed off home having learnt some valuable skills thanks to the Eggseeds team for all their expertise and hard work.


    This workshop was funded through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme through the WCVA. The EVI received funding to improve energy efficiency at the building, increase the local biodiversity and involving the community through volunteering.

    This is the latest in a series of articles on the many ways we’re promoting sustainability at the Ebbw Vale Institute. Read the others here:

  4. Young People Using Private Channels to Communicate Online

    by ProMo Cymru | 5th Apr 2019

    Written By Thomas Morris

    Young people are becoming ever more aware of their digital footprint. The digitally native generation has learned to separate their various online personas and their real life presence. The amount of admin involved with running various social media accounts (and various not so social accounts too!) is likely to perplex the average adult.

    Alt accounts

    “Alt”, or alternative, accounts have always been a thing- in online games. A player might log in to their usual play-space under a second account, with a different name, in order to do things they can’t do on their main account. For example, if a player has developed a big following either in game or in an online community such as YouTube, they might like to play without fans harassing them for the digital equivalent of an autograph.

    Social media buttons for Young People Using Private Channels to Communicate Online article

    Fed up of Facebook?

    On Facebook, in particular, as demographics have changed and parents have tried to add themselves to teens’ friend lists, young people have started using more comprehensive forms of privacy controls online. They filter who gets to see their various types of user-generated content. Many young people, fed up with this paradigm shift, appear to have left the social network entirely – which of course is a big part of the reason that Facebook bought Instagram.

    Flop accounts

    On Instagram and Twitter, it is much easier to have separate accounts – public and personal, perhaps a business account too. You can switch accounts easily on their apps too. This has led to the development of the “flop” account on Instagram. Flop accounts are where young people share an account and post images related to current affairs or drama within their real-life or digital communities. There is an element of anonymity behind the accounts, but they effectively act as curated news feeds.

    game control for Young People Using Private Channels to Communicate Online article

    Private group chat

    Then you have the private channels that are harder to observe. How much chat do you think goes on in the chat box of an online game for example? A particular behemoth now is Discord, the social app designed specifically for gaming. Private groups on Discord, WhatsApp (also a Facebook acquisition) and Facebook itself are closed channels. This means you can’t simply look on or lurk. The design of such a group is that you are a key participant, even if one of many. You are constantly compelled to contribute, and by doing so become part of the community. This has caused issues for journalists, who struggle to maintain the distance with their subjects needed for objective reporting. Would third sector workers have similar issues, or would you benefit from the increased trust of your participants?

    Contact us

    If you would like to better engage with users on private platforms or learn to create and run your own get in touch with ProMo-Cymru by emailing Nathan on nathan@promo.cymru

  5. Jumping on the Podcast Bandwagon

    by ProMo Cymru | 6th Mar 2019

    Written by Thomas Morris

    Podcasts are undergoing a renaissance. Originally developed through a series of happy accidents in the early 00’s, the podcast format has now come of age and is an accepted mainstream form of entertainment- and arguably the most democratic.

    If you’re a charity or social enterprise looking to get your message out to a wider audience, a deeper understanding and engagement with this newly matured medium may be key. Take a read of our blog to find out why you should be considering a podcast.

    Radio mic in front of ipad for podcast article

    Tuning in with podcatchers

    If you’re yet to witness the portable audio phenomenon yourself, you’ve been missing out! There are all kinds of great podcast listening apps, called podcatchers, available for you to try.

    Apple have officially supported- and been the main curators of- the medium for some time, with iTunes’ podcasts section. However, recently Google has released an official podcatching app, which bodes well for Android users.

    Getting down with the podcasters

    What kinds of things do people talk about on podcasts? There are repurposed radio shows from organizations such as the BBC from The Reith Lectures to Tomorrow’s World.

    But the real individuality comes with smaller podcasts, usually staffed by just one or two people, often recording in bedrooms- Cardiff local Daniel Minty is a great example. In his series, Minty’s Gig Guide to Cardiff, he interviews musicians at various stages of their career from the studio, which he enthusiastically admits is “the bedroom.”

    Distraction Pieces Podcast advertising image - Scroobius Pip holding mic to head

    Benefits of podcasting

    Another benefit podcasters have is rich data about the demographics of people listening to their podcast- often enriched by a tight social media community. Many podcasts rely on an interview format for their content, and often hosts will be highly interested in offers by charities to come on and talk about their cause. Podcaster and musician Scroobius Pip recently interviewed Natalie Clapshaw of brain injury charity Headway on his Distraction Pieces Podcast. Radio Cardiff also host a regular show for charities to discuss their work.  

    One of the great things about the medium is that listeners are often very engaged. Podcast listeners have carved out special time during their day, to learn something fascinating about the world simply through the act of kicking back and listening in.

    Going It Alone

    If you decide that your organization could possibly get its message out better with its own podcast, there are a number of options available to you to keep costs low.

    The easiest option by far is using the Anchor app. You can record with a smartphone, you can edit on your desktop, you can submit your podcast feed to iTunes and, from there, all other podcatchers with just one or two clicks.

    Alternatively you could use the Virtual DJ desktop app, which includes audio channel mixing, all for free. The web service Podbean offers free/ cheap podcast hosting, as does Mixcloud. If you have an Apple account, you can quite easily submit your RSS feed to iTunes, and from there the world is your oyster.

    Strangetown Podcast logo

    Here to help

    ProMo-Cymru has experience in providing podcast training and have developed a podcast for young people in collaboration with Radio Platfform called Strangetown, which features on theSprout website for young people in Cardiff. You can listen to the latest episodes by scrolling down to the bottom of theSprout homepage or by visiting the Radio Platfform page on the Wales Millennium Centre website.

    If you would like help in setting up a Podcast then we would be happy to discuss how we could help with training. Contact: arielle@promo.cymru

    One word of advice though: if you’re starting a new podcast right now, you’re not alone. Because it’s easier than ever before, everybody’s at it. You’ll need to keep up in this auditory arena- and a great place to do that is with Nick Quah and NiemanLab’s Hot Pod newsletter.

  6. How We Claimed Our Online Presence on Facebook, TripAdvisor & Beyond

    by ProMo Cymru | 18th Oct 2017

    Written by Dan Grosvenor

    Using Facebook as an Organisation:

    Claiming Your Online Presence

    Social media is the most popular way for people to access information about, and engage with, organisations. It is essential the information they are accessing is up-to-date and accurate, and that they can easily engage with you. In this series of short guides we aim to teach you the basics of using Facebook effectively as an organisation.

    You’re probably already on Facebook

    Even if you’ve never touched a computer, you may already have a Facebook page… or several!

    Once you’ve signed up to Facebook a good first move is to search for the name of your organisation. Why? Because it might already be there.

    You see, Facebook doesn’t wait for you to join: if people are talking about you, Facebook creates a page. Some users may also take it upon themselves to create pages and groups, particularly for venues.

    Here’s what used to show up when you searched for EVI:

    evi search for Facebook tips

    Despite the slight variation in name and detail it’s evident the places all refer to the same venue.

    Losing control

    There are a few reasons why this is problematic. For starters it’s confusing as there’s no way to know which (if any) is the official page. Unofficial pages often contain information from Wikipedia and/or input from members of the public — it’s not always reliable (Ebbw Vale is not in Chepstow). You don’t have control over what is said. As well as causing confusion, it splits your audience. By merging these pages into one it would have up to* 9,169 fans and 871 check-ins.

    * Assuming each ‘like’ is from a unique user. In reality a lot of these users had liked multiple EVI pages.

    These unofficial pages aren’t likely to be malicious. It’s far more likely they were created by people who have tagged, reviewed, or otherwise got involved in your organisation and wanted to talk about it. Let’s take a look at an unofficial page:

    It looks like this page has been created because a user has location-tagged a picture on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook). Note that the information is lacking, including a typo in the website address.

    Clear the confusion

    Fortunately it’s easy to claim unofficial pages. You can either take them over or merge them with an official page.

    Just click on ‘Is this your business?’ in the top-right corner

    A verified page shows up higher in search results and has a reassuring tick, confirming it is official. If your organisation has a listed office number then getting verified is as simple as answering the phone and typing in a code. It is definitely worth doing.

    After verifying our page and merging it with the unofficial pages, the search results look a lot better:

    Much tidier. No confusion, and a verified tick.

    Remember you don’t want to remove people’s ability to talk about your organisation; you just want it to all happen in one official place (and have the option of moderation where necessary). So make sure people can still post on the wall, tag the page, and get involved. Ultimately you want to be saying “Hey, thanks for talking about us — please continue to do so on the new, official page” rather than “we’re taking over now, beat it”.

    Do it again!

    Now that you know how to claim your online presence on Facebook, keep an eye out for other websites where you can do the same. From LinkedIn to Foursquare, there are plenty of places where people are already talking about you. Make sure you’re part of the conversation.

    This doesn’t just apply to Facebook. (Screenshot from Bing Maps)

    More Facebook Tips

    Facebook Tips: Creating A Profile Or Page


    If you found this helpful please follow us on Facebook for more tips and tricks!

    Want to learn more? Get in touch about our bespoke social media training.

  7. Facebook Tips: Creating A Profile Or Page

    by ProMo Cymru | 1st May 2017

    Written by Dan Grosvenor

    Using Facebook as an Organisation:
    Creating a Profile or Page

    Social media is the most popular way for people to access information about, and engage with, organisations. It is essential the information they are accessing is up-to-date and accurate, and that they can easily engage with you. In this series of short guides we aim to teach you the basics of using Facebook effectively as an organisation.

    Pages and Profiles

    If you’re new to Facebook the first thing to understand is the two types of Facebook user:

    Every Facebook user has a Profile. A Profile is your online identity: it’s personal and moderately private. It’s where you list your favourite things (Likes), share your thoughts and memories, and is used to interact with others. Profiles are people.

    Dan's Facebook Page - Facebook Tips - Part 1: Creating A Profile Or Page

    A Profile

    A Page is a public presence. Think of it like your website. A Page can be about anything: a company, a product, a celebrity, a campaign… Your aim is to get people (Profiles) to Like and engage with your organisation’s Page. If this sounds confusing don’t worry: as soon as you’ve signed up to Facebook and had a play it’ll make sense.

    A Page

    Facebook used to be just Profiles. If you have an older account you might find it looks more like a person’s Profile than an organisation’s Page. Don’t worry — it’s easy to convert it into a Page. Alternatively you may want to turn it into a Professional Profile:

    https://www.promo.cymru/professional-facebook-profiles/

    You’ll need a Profile before you can set up your company Page. For now don’t worry too much about the Profile – keep it locked down in private mode if you like, as we’ll cover that in a later chapter.

    Creating a Page

    Now it’s time to create a Page.

    Select the category that fits your organisation best

    You’ll be presented with different fields to fill in. Fill them in as reliably as possible: the more information you provide, the more interesting your page will be (for instance: providing an address will place an interactive map on your Page).

    Make it Official

    Anyone can set up a Page. One of your first priorities should be to assure visitors that this is the official Page. Upload your logo as your avatar, and find a nice wide image — preferably branded — for your cover photo. Perhaps a group photo of the staff, or something which encapsulates the work you do.

    Verify your page. This will make it show up higher in search results and place an official tick at the top.

    Embrace Featured Likes (particularly if you run multiple pages!)

    Pages can Like other Pages, and recommend up to 5 of their favourites. Go and find some partner orgs or other Pages which reflect your ethos. Click the ‘…’ button and select ‘Like as your Page’.

    Now return to your Page, open Settings, navigate to Featured and select ‘Add Featured Likes’

    Initially this can be useful in giving your audience an idea of the kind of orgs you affiliate with or are similar to. But its real value comes when you persuade others to list you as a Featured Like as it’s great, free exposure.

    Reply Promptly to Messages

    Doing so will unlock a bonus icon — but keep it up or it’ll disappear! (However you can set office hours so people know when is best to message you.)

    Once you have enough Likes you’ll also be able to choose a custom URL (e.g. www.facebook.com/myorganisation).


    Hopefully this is enough to get you started. Follow us on Facebook for more tips and tricks!

    Want to learn more? Get in touch about our bespoke social media training.

  8. How To Add Instagram To Your Boosted Posts

    by ProMo Cymru | 26th Sep 2016

    Written by Dan Grosvenor

    Facebook’s Boosted Posts are an incredibly cost-effective way to reach a target audience, and they’ve just got even better.

    Content that you boost on Facebook can now also appear on Instagram, opening up an even wider audience without costing any extra (it takes your allocated budget and diverts some of it to Instagram, with your permission). This is well worth setting up: since adding Instagram to Meic’s posts the project saw such a huge increase in young people responding that we had to switch off mobile notifications – we went from having an average of 36 Instagram likes per month to over 2,000!

    How to set it up:

    You’ll need a Facebook Page and an Instagram account (both are free and take only a few minutes to create). To link them together go into your Facebook Page’s settings, select Instagram Adverts and log in to your Instagram account.

    connect

    Business Profiles (“What about my personal account?”)

    If you use Instagram personally you may have already tried to combine it with a professional account. Earlier versions were wrought with difficulties; even after adding multiple account support it had an annoying tendency to post to your personal Facebook.

    businessaccount

    Fortunately the latest version of the app now supports dedicated business profiles. Go to your app store and make sure Instagram’s up-to-date. Then open it up and click on the 3 dots in the top-right corner and scroll down to ‘Add Account’. Log in as (or create) your work account.

    Once you’re logged in, click the 3 dots in the corner again. Scroll down to Switch to Business Profile. Now you’re able to post to a Facebook Page instead of just a profile.

    A business profile allows you to access stats within the app

    A business profile also allows you to access stats

    Get Instagramming

    You’re now set up. The next time you boost an image on Facebook – provided the dimensions are okay (Instagram prefers square images) – you’ll see an additional Instagram option.

    This image is too wide, so the Instagram option doesn't appear

    This image is too wide, so the Instagram option doesn’t appear

    Now that we've used an image the right size, an Instagram tab appears

    Now that we’ve used an image the right size, an Instagram tab appears

    Make sure to include a link and some text with the image and you’re good to go!

    Tip: Unlike on Facebook, the boosted images won’t appear on your Instagram ‘timeline’. So remember to add content the usual way as well otherwise people won’t want to follow you.

    View more social media tips

  9. Wales’ helpline for children and young people: update

    by ProMo Cymru | 12th May 2016

    Written by Dan Grosvenor

    It gives us great pleasure to announce that Meic – the national information, advice and advocacy helpline for children and young people in Wales – is entering a new phase, and we’ve launched a new animated video to celebrate and explain our role further!

    Since Meic was set up in 2011, it has dealt with nearly 30,000 contacts, covering a wide range of issues from exam stress to bullying, depression to eating disorders, and much more. Meic was the first universal advocacy helpline in the UK and is now Wales’ leading advocacy helpline for children and young people up to 25.

    Click the above to watch our new video, which further explains Meic and advocacy (Welsh version here).

    Please share with anyone who could benefit. 

    As the young person articulates in the video:

    “Meic ensures our voice is listened to and taken seriously by adviser advocates who are there for us. They give us advice and, side-by-side, we gather the information we need to do something about our situation. If we still feel we can’t do this for ourselves, they can speak on our behalf – that’s because Meic is also an advocacy helpline.”

    Furthermore, we’re excited to be expanding our reach to more children and young people through our website, which will feature “Grab the Meic” – an opportunity for children and young people to have their say, as well as through social media campaigns on key issues.

    After a recent tendering process by Welsh Government, ProMo-Cymru will continue to provide the Meic service for the next two years (until 31st March 2018) for the benefit of young people in Wales.

    Children and young people in Wales up to the age of 25 can contact Meic 8am until midnight, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year by phone (080880 23456), text (84001), instant message (www.meic.cymru) or email (help@meic.cymru).

  10. New Meic Hours

    by ProMo Cymru | 8th Apr 2016

    Written by Dan Grosvenor

    Changes

    The revised Meic service will continue for two years (1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018). The helpline will be open 16 hours a day – reflecting the significantly reduced contact at night. The new hours are 8am – midnight.

    Young people who contact Meic via phone, text or online chat outside those hours will continue to have the option of being connected directly to Samaritans, ChildLine or NHS Direct Wales.

    We are also planning to enhance how we engage with young people across Wales; we’re expanding the website to include more news and articles and an Agony Aunt.

    What we do

    We’re pleased and proud to continue to provide advocacy, advice and information to young people in Wales every day 7 days per week for the foreseeable future by phone (080880 23456), text (84001) and Instant Message via our website.