9 Ways Social Media Helps Nonprofits Ignite Supporter-Led Advocacy
By Jeanette Russell on Jan 27, 2017
On January 21st, 2017, millions of people around the world marched as part of a global protest, in support of women’s rights, immigration reform, health care reform, environmental protection, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. This march is said to be one of the largest one-day protests in U.S. history.
Regardless of where you stand on the issues, what can’t be debated is the historic movement that is taking place. A new generation of advocates are making their voices heard and are ready to do more than just speak up – they’re ready to act and to lead.
Today, nonprofits have an opportunity like never before to reignite their partnership with supporters and provide opportunities for people to use their social networks to organize and advance a cause.
9 Ways to Ignite Supporter-Led Advocacy with Social Media:
1. Identify + Activate Your Social Media Influencers
With the historic influx of energy being poured into issues, now is the time to identify which of your supporters are the most active on social media and ask them specifically to share your message with their networks.
Social media influencers are typically active on one or more social networks, have a modest to large following, and can drive significant action and awareness for campaigns. The goal is to find these influencers among your supporter base—in your email list or current social followers—and cultivate relationships with them so that they’ll be primed to serve as a mouthpiece for your cause on social media.
Mobilizing these “everyday” influencers can have an enormous impact on your reach and success. Just imagine what could happen if you had an additional few hundred supporters regularly posting about your campaign! To start, begin benchmarking your current social influence by requesting a free social insights report.
2. Segment Your Email List by Social Influence
Now that you’ve found the people on your email list who can extend the reach of your campaigns, send this group an email with a CTA to share your content.
For example, create a group of supporters with Klout over 40 or people with more than 500 followers. Then ask them to tweet your action in the email subject line. The main CTA in the body of the email should include links to the tweets that you want them to share or a landing page containing with social sharing content. Asking your influencer to share the action, rather than take the action, (but most will take the action since they’re asking their friends to do it) is a small but powerful pivot.
3. Use Social Listening for Real-Time Engagement
By the time someone posts about a crisis on social media, they are motivated to act and are already sharing their opinions with their community. Use social listening to mobilize real-time passion from your supporters when the moment is top of mind. You can do this by engaging everyone who talks about your campaign with a retweet, like, follow, or direct message. With social listening tools like Attentive.ly, you can also send email by social listening as described below.
4. Segment Email by Social Listening
Now that you’ve found which of your supporters are talking about your campaign terms on social, send everyone who talked about these terms an email within 24 hours of the mention. It’s likely more people will act on an issue they just posted about on social because it’s top of mind. Check out our guide, Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening, to learn more about how to utilize this new social engagement strategy.
5. Cultivate Inflluencers into Social Ambassadors
Like prospective donors, your organization’s social ambassadors are a specific segment that needs to be cultivated so that they share again. While social influencers come in all shapes and sizes, they have one thing in common: they drive action. Spend at least 30 minutes a day responding to influencers and supporters, who are talking about your search terms, to show you care. We call this social love, and it makes a huge difference in cultivating your influencers into ambassadors. Also consider creating a social ambassador micro-site or landing page to enlist anyone who wants to share your message.
6. Ask Ambassadors to Live Stream on Facebook and Twitter
This year, 6.8 million viewers watched the inauguration on Twitter’s live stream, signaling the growth of live streaming video. Today, everyday advocates are also using live streaming on Facebook and Twitter to share historic events. Now is the time to create a movement for your campaign that empowers your advocates to use live streaming to engage supporters around a campaign kickoff, big update, or real-time response to a current event.
7. Tweet Your Petition to Congress
Calling Congress and emailing petitions is not always visible to your supporter base. So, consider the ways social media can help you get the attention of elected officials. Send officials a tweet of your petition. For an added effect, include relevant hashtags and the handles of local reporters. Remember, politicians are most interested in getting re-elected, so their reputation to their constituents matters. Twitter is still the best platform for transparency, organizing, and movement building.
8. Video Petitions
One of the most exciting tools for advocacy campaigns comes from our friends at Countable Campaigns. They allow supporters to send video testimonials to elected officials and their personal social networks. The effect is a powerful mosaic of constituents, telling a story to their elected officials, community, and even local media.
9. Invite Social Influencers to Twitterstorms
Many organizations, especially those who work on advocacy campaigns, have been using Twitterstorms to elevate issues, pressure decision makers, reach the media, and engage their base. Take this to the next level by segmenting your email by social influence, and invite those influencers to your next Twitterstorm.
In order to ignite a movement in today’s digital world, you must tap into the influence of your people. This isn’t about going viral as much as it is about arming your supporters with the tools they need to speak up about what matters to them. Develop campaign strategies that go beyond traditional advocacy tactics, and think about how you can harness the influence of your people to activate change.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeanette is the marketing director for Attentive.ly, a social engagement platform. Her deep understanding of nonprofit tech, marketing, business development, and startups has helped her create extensive partner networks and coalitions, along with spearheading innovative campaigns to increase revenue/funding for purpose driven ventures. She serves as an advisory board member of JustGive, co-founded the Montana chapter of the New Leaders Council, co-founded the National Forest Protection Alliance, and served on the board of the WildWest Institute.