Social media can add tremendous value to your organization’s advocacy efforts. The tools can help increase the visibility of your initiative, recruit more supporters, and positively influence the stakeholders involved in the advocacy issue. But creativity and persistence are key to keep the momentum going. Learn key strategies for different channels to spread your message, and discuss with your colleagues which tools are most feasible to use for promoting your message.
Strategies for social media
Some things to keep in mind as you consider using social media as a vehicle to deliver your message:
- Set clear objectives and focus: clarify the exact call to action that you hope to achieve from your campaign. Clarify the actions and outcomes you want to achieve.
- Identify the audience you’re aiming to engage: think thoroughly about who you are speaking to, and who you hope to reach. Segmenting your audience will help decide who your specific target audience is and how you craft the message to them.
- Define the message: what story are you trying to tell? What is your call to action? For your message to resonate with your audience, your message should be clear on what kind of issues, solutions, and actions are involved in the campaign.
- Connect with audience with storytelling: an advocacy campaign with no one listening is a failure. A good story should resonate with your targeted audience. You can amplify your story by adding humor or reflecting your personality into the issue you are trying to change or advance.
- Use facts and data to educate and make a statement: the reputation of your organization depends on how credible you remain. Share quality information in your advocacy campaign, and avoid using false or exaggerated information.
- Strategically select the best time and day to post: with so much information flowing on social media, it’s hard to reach your target audience. Be strategic and post your message at the peak hours and dates. Take a look at this infographic that explains the best, peak and worst times to post on different social media platforms.
- Stay positive: positive messages resonate more with people than negative calls to action. Avoid negative messaging and deliver encouraging words to motivate your followers to join the cause you’re advocating.
- Use multiple integrated channels: cross-promotion is the best way to reach the largest number of people. Use mix of media to spread your message, including emails, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and other channels.
- Know that social media networks are mobile: in many countries around the world, smartphones and tablets have become the most common way for people to read social media contents. Study your country’s mobile penetration rate, and modify your content visuals that work best on both computers and mobile devices to create the most impactful messaging.
Suggested online or mobile tools to collect information during the advocacy strategy phase:
- For listening and tracking, aggregator platforms are helpful in automatically pulling articles from certain sources based on topics you choose. These include Google Alert or Google Scholar Alerts, Feedly, Old Reader, and Pocket.
- Though Feedly is most widely used and better than Old Reader, it also uses more bandwidth. For low bandwidth or poor connectivity regions, use Old Reader.
- Pocket is another platform that is less customizable, higher bandwidth, but a good option for saving articles. Pocket also has an iPhone app option.
- If your selected site does not have an RSS feature, you can create one via Page2RSS.
- M-Government and E-Government Tools are beneficial for obtaining feedback for your advocacy work. These include CitizenSpace (fee), Democracy OS (free), U-Report (free), Budget Simulator (fee), and Dialogue (free).
- To gather information or feedback from your member networks, there are a number of online or mobile tools for surveying or polling.
- Survey Monkey and Google Forms are free online surveying tools.
- Bulk SMS, U-Report, TaroWorks, SMSPoll, and Poll Everywhere are effective mobile tools.
- For polling, popular low-cost tools include SMS Poll and Poll Everywhere. Textit and RapidPro are useful mobile tools for authoring surveys and gathering input.
- For online data and research, sites such as World Bank Development Indicators, UNData and Data (UNESCO) are useful to bookmark. For non-profit organizations, discounted or free access is available for platforms such as Developing Nations Access, and Open Research.