Selling IVM: Social Media

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Wildflowers under power lines

Social media presents an accessible, effective opportunity for vegetation managers and the departments they work for to take IVM’s message straight to the public. Here’s what you can do. 

As a vegetation manager, you may have limited involvement with your employer’s communications or public relations strategies. But what you do have is expertise in executing an integrated vegetation management (IVM) program, and knowledge of IVM’s fiscal and environmental benefits. Both can be used to help sway public opinion on IVM; and while the specific tactics will depend on the audience and the circumstances, social media offers an easy, effective and inexpensive starting point for connecting with the public.

So how can you help? You can play two key roles – one, by helping your communications group develop IVM-related messaging for use on social media, and two, by engaging directly with members of the public on your own social media channels.

One caveat – any utility or DOT likely has policies governing how and when employees should speak on the company’s or department’s behalf. Make sure you’re clear on your employer’s policies regarding communications with and to the public, and work with your communications or public affairs group to make sure any posts you share are on-message.

Tips to Help Guide the Way

Assuming you have the all-clear from communications or public affairs groups:

Know the rules. Along with policies on employee communications with the public, make sure you’re familiar with your employer’s guidelines regarding the use of photography and video. In many situations, if the photo or video you want to share includes workers or other people, each identifiable person will need to sign a release giving you and your employer permission to use the imagery for commercial purposes. Your communications or public affairs group can help you navigate specific policies, so make sure you engage with them first – before sharing any images that show identifiable people.

Post on your own personal or professional social media channels. Networking platforms such as LinkedIn (and, to a lesser degree, Instagram and X/Twitter) are perfect for posting in-field photos and relevant language. Did you see a bald eagle or a 10-point buck while you were scouting a right-of-way area this morning? Post a photo, along with language explaining how IVM helps restore and preserve critical habitat for wildlife, birds and pollinators.

And if you don’t think of yourself as much of a writer? Keep it simple and don’t sweat it. “Saw this 8-pointer today while treating a right-of-way near Crossville. Thanks to our utility’s integrated vegetation management program, he has plenty of native grasses to feed on and habitat to keep him healthy.”

Help develop IVM messaging. As an alternative, you might also consider forwarding that photo to your employer’s communications team, along with language explaining the benefits of IVM in relation to native habitat preservation. Your team will appreciate having engaging content, and you can share any posts your employer makes on your own personal and professional social media channels.

Don’t forget video. Video content has repeatedly been shown to draw more engagement over social media than still photography. Share a few seconds of that deer in the right-of-way, but keep it short – 10-15 seconds at the most.

Keep your posts positive. Remember: The people you’re trying to reach with your social media posts might be the same people who have concerns over the use of herbicides in rights-of-way or roadsides. Provocative or antagonistic language won’t bring anyone over to your side, so focus on the benefits of IVM and keep the tone light and positive.

Social media offers a powerful tool for utilities, DOTs and other agencies to use when engaging with the public. Share a photo, share a video, and make sure your customers, residents – and co-workers – have a chance to see the good work you’re doing.

In the meantime, to learn more about the role of selective herbicides and application methods in an IVM program, visit, or contact your local Corteva Agriscience vegetation management specialist.


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