Social media has become an absolutely essential tool for any effective No Kill advocate in today’s world. Today, Alan Rosenblatt, Associate Director of Online Advocacy at the Center for American Progress, instructed a conference room full of eager students on the many tools of his trade. From Facebook to Twitter, Alan covered the social media gamut, and helped us all gain an even better understanding of how we can utilize these tools to drive change.
Some of the key highlight’s from Alan’s presentation included the following:
- Reaching out to key legislators via Twitter and Facebook is very effective, as these are completely public forums. Via email, they can easily claim to have never seen the correspondence, but with social media, the proof is public.
- Before reaching out, do extensive research. Determine who the key legislators are, and find their social media profiles. The easiest way to do so is via Google – a simple search with their names and the word “Twitter” or “Facebook” is usually effective.
- When it comes to petitions, act.ly is a simple tool that easily allows petitions to be shared via Twitter. Users can sign directly from the page or Re-Tweet another’s signature.
- Although Twitter allows 140 characters per Tweet, 120 characters is the maximum recommendation, so it allows for followers to add their own commentary or additional information when Re-Tweeting.
- When linking to outside content or information, use a trackable service like bit.ly. This website offers a free URL shortening service that also provides click-through statistics when users are registered for an account.
- Twitter hashtags are an invaluable tool to insure your message begins to reach a wider audience. Look for relevant and frequently used hashtags through Twitter search. Identify four to five that relate to your cause, and use them to share your message with like-minded users. You can search for issue-specific hashtags, state-specific hashtags, and ideologically-specific hashtags, among others.
- Always remember that Twitter is an entirely public forum. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want the world to see. Private messages are an option, but the site is primarily
- If you click “favorite” on any given Tweet from another user, it prevents them from deleting said Tweet. Additionally, remember to take screenshots of your comments to organizations and legislators. This provides proof should the content be deleted.
- Social media has made everyone a citizen journalist. Now, every individual has a platform from which to speak that could potentially reach the far corners of the globe. Social media also allows everyone access to influencers – both traditional and new: press, legislators, bloggers, etc.
- Among institutions, Non-Governmental Organizations are the most trusted in the US, however, Americans trust individuals that they know far more highly.
- There is a three-step process for increasing followers on any social network. One: connect with them. Two: engage with them. Three: Recommend them.
Alan’s presentation was impressive, and left us pondering a world of possibilities for No Kill advocates everywhere.
Stay tuned for additional blogs outlining content from the conference!