Tips for Social Media

Advocate for health care reform using social media

First, be sure you are following the Coalition on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Some General Principles for Using Social Media

Be genuine. Let your personality show, use humor, and be transparent about who is posting content. Try not to simply broadcast; rather, when possible, speak as an individual, to individuals. This will help grant you credibility as a trusted source.

Stay focused. The people and organizations that follow you on social media have certain expectations about the type of content you post and the way in which you engage with them. If you stray too far from your objectives, you will lose the trust and attention of your community.

Be reliable. Share quality content from trusted sources, and avoid amplifying erroneous messages from unreliable sources. Reliability also means posting to your social media services regularly. Frequently sharing reliable, meaningful content helps establish you as an important source of information and ideas for your community.

Get social. Above all else, social media is about conversation. Share and comment on other people’s or organizations’ posts to start new conversations, and join in the conversations that are occurring on your social media pages. The more you engage with your followers, the more they will understand that your priorities are their priorities too.

Advocacy Tips for you and your orginization

Meet your followers where they are already

How? Find out what social media the demographic you want to reach uses most often. Familiarise yourself with this platform and use it first. Increase your reach to other platforms as your capacity increases or supporters or needs change.

Why? If you are new to using social media, it can be better to focus on one or two platforms first to gain confidence and competence. Meeting with followers on ‘their’ platform makes it easy for them to support your social media efforts.

Use platforms as pointers

How? For example, if you have just posted new content on your website or blog, use Twitter and Facebook to let people know it is there. If you have posted a link to an article on Facebook with a comment, tweet the comment and tell people to check out the article on Facebook.

Why? Some channels are more suited to certain content than others. You want to keep things fresh, but you don’t always have to have something different on each platform.

Plan

How? In your ongoing work, schedule regular updates to your online media so it doesn’t fall by the wayside. Within a specific campaign, have a plan for the content, the platforms to be used and a timeline of how and when you will disseminate information. Always integrate social media into traditional elements of a campaign. Put in systems to monitor and evaluate. But remember, don’t be so married to your plan that you don’t respond as things change.

Why? Social media campaigns that work usually have a clear objective with plan to achieve it. They don’t just put messages out there and hope people read them.

Listen and converse

How? Put out your planned messages but also listen to what your networks are saying and respond as quickly as you can to them. Don’t only put out self-interested material like your events, campaigns, and fundraising.

Why? Social media’s strength lies in the direct two-way communication it allows. Your supporters might be able to tell you what is going on on the ground or how they feel about your cause or organisation. They also may converse with each other. All of this information is valuable in understanding how to approach your supporters when you have something to say or need something. Non-self-interested material (articles, videos, news stories that are on topic but not directly about your organisation) will keep followers engaged by showing your broader relevance.

Start now

How? Choose one platform, do a bit of research on how to use it and…START! Your use of social media can be centred on an action campaign but it doesn’t have to be.

Why? If you get the supporters of your cause there before a major campaign takes place, you can have them there for the campaign and, if you treat them well, have them around afterwards. Social media isn’t a fad that is going away – get into it!

Resources - How to Use Social Media for Advocacy - aawu.org, Tips for Using Social Media for Advocacy nonprofit-network.org, The Social Media Advocacy Model [infographic] socialmediaexplorer.com