Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook can be a powerful tool for campaigning. Here are some top tips on using these platforms.
Social media lets you interact with your audience and find out exactly what makes them tick. People are more likely to get involved if they know that you’re listening to them.
Facebook and Twitter are two of the most commonly used social media sites. Here’s how to get the most out of them.
Top tips for using Twitter
Follow other users. Whenever you choose to follow someone, they will receive an email notifying them that you’re following their updates. If they like the look of your profile, they may decide to follow you back.
- Interact with fellow tweeters using the @ feature. Putting a full stop before you @mention means your tweet shows up in the feeds of all of your followers. Otherwise your tweet is considered conversational and only shows up on your stream, the stream of whoever you Tweeted at, and the followers you both have in common.
- Try to be useful, original and contribute to a conversation. Think about what would make others want to follow you, what you can provide them with and what sets you apart from all the other Twitter users.
- Don’t under-tweet. As with any community, you have to be active in it to reap its rewards. This means tweeting at least a few times a day.
- Use images as much as possible. If you mention a past event or action, make sure to include a photo.
- Don’t over-publicise. It’s important to vary self-promotional updates with interesting links to other blogs, tweets or news stories.
- Make use of the hashtag (#) to flag up keywords. This will help people find your tweets on these subjects and will make it possible for something to spread or become a trending topic.
- Keep your tweets short and to the point – try not to use up all your characters and stick to 1 or 2 hashtags per tweet.
- Reply to tweets. If you’re active on Twitter, people will often reach you via the @ feature, so be sure to regularly check your mentions to see what other people are saying about you.
- Publicise and promote your Twitter account. Whenever you get the chance to promote your Twitter account, do it!
Top tips for using Facebook
- Think about what you want out of Facebook. If you want a space to discuss issues with your members, start a Facebook Group. If you want to use Facebook for promotion and recruitment, then opt for a Page.
- Engagement is incredibly important – the more likes and shares your content has, the more people will see it. So make sure the quality of all your posts is high, respond to comments, and encourage people to contribute.
- Try to post something at least 3 or 4 times a week. Facebook will otherwise flag your page as not relevant – and show your content to fewer people.
- Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of your posts should be sharing what other people have posted, 20% should be organic. Always respond to comments though.
- Positive posts are generally better liked than posts that are negative.
- Images or Facebook videos are a must. Post shareable content. It should evoke a feeling from your audience. Unusual, funny, celebratory and cute are all very shareable on this channel.
- Personal stories can make a big impact. Gather stories about local people.
- Facebook forbids explicitly asking for likes and shares, so instead make your post extra interesting and worth sharing.
- Short posts are better. Ideally fewer than 40 characters.
- Why would anyone share your content? What does your post say about the person who shares it?
Avoid sharing sensitive or revealing information that you wouldn’t want to see in a public space like Facebook. Are there things you don’t want a particular industry to know about? E.g. the fracking industry.
For this guide and others by Friends of the Earth (England, Wales & Northern Ireland) see their website – How to Guides: Running local campaigns