Social Media’s Part in Growing a Platform’s Wings


Braylen Ferrell

Columbia Audubon Society stands around their booth in the Columbia, South Carolina street market on March 4, 2023. The organization has used its social media to draw in new members in recent years. “There are so many interesting species here that people don’t realize they’re here,” Columbia Audubon Society Member Allison Bugarin said.

Saving (a little more than) two birds with one society.

The Columbia Audubon Society (CAS) has not only found many of its members from its social media activity but has also been able to spread its message of protection as well.

The CAS is a non-profit organization located in Columbia, South Carolina which strives to support bird conservation and teach people about the birds in the area. To get more people interested in what they do, society uses its social media and website to draw in more members. This activity on the organization’s social media has helped them grow and made more people aware of their purpose. 

The CAS was founded in 1971 and has been growing with its members ever since. The society is active in both birding and conservation activities around the midlands of South Carolina and in centers in Columbia. The society’s purpose is not only to support bird wildlife conservation but also to educate people in the area about the birds around them. “We do a lot of educational stuff with the Audubon Society. We actually do a lot of walks to teach people how well the birds are doing and just general knowledge about the birds in South Carolina,” CAS member Allison Bugarin said. The program is a member-led organization and depends on its members to continue completing the mission of sharing knowledge on birds in the area.

The organization has many ways to keep its members involved and to get new ones to join. They offer and create magazines for the members that join and the organization also manages the Wannamaker Nature Preserve located in Calhoun County, South Carolina. “Some other things they do is install birdhouses for people for free to teach them about birds in the area and it’s just really cool to show them these birds in a great habitat,” Bugarin said. To keep its current members involved and have new ones interested, the organization has been focusing on its social media presence. 

Social media is critical for society to promote its organization and draw in new members. “I found the society through their social media and that’s actually what made me interested in wanting to join. I’m from Illinois originally and when I first came here I didn’t know a lot about birds so I joined the Audubon Society. It’s just so cool to be taught and be able to now recognize a bird by ear,” Bugarin said. Bugarin mentioned their social media page, along with a website that further provides insight into their vision as a program. The organization mostly uses its website but recently has been trying to reach out to people from their Instagram. As of March 2023, their page has 483 followers while their Facebook has 897 followers. Instagram is the best way the organization has found to reach its younger audience for new members. “When I moved here I was looking for a way to get involved with nature and the outdoors in birds in particular and I found their Instagram and it just helped me a lot,” Bugarin said. The organization’s past efforts in earlier expansions had allowed them to begin its social media presence successfully.

The CAS has been trying different ways to engage its audience through its social media posts and website. “Social media is definitely

Infographic of the many different bird species spotted in Columbia, South Carolina. Information from Infographic Credit: Braylen Ferrell

something we use so people can get involved as I did. We also use it to invite on walks or have QR codes with more information and stuff to direct people,” Bugarin said. The organization posts information over their meetings and habitat in the area to watch the birds but a recent thing they have started sharing are the photos of the birds they see. “Posting photos is also something we love to do so people can look online and see it and be like “Oh, that’s a cool bird,” and then want to join,” Bugarin said. Birdwatching is a fast and growing activity so the organization has to regularly manage and update its social media to spread its message.

The organization’s goal is to not only spread the knowledge of birds in that area to the people who are interested but also to keep the species protected. “Just being able to post so people can see that or the stuff we do helps spread that knowledge and awareness and maybe spark some interest in people,” Bugarin said. Being able to use social media has not only allowed the organization to spread awareness to everyday people but to also spark new Audubon Societies in hopes of keeping these magnificent creatures flying.

To check out the organization’s social media, their handle for both Instagram and Facebook is (@columbiaaudubonsc).