Social Media Samples

How to Engage Your Community with Facebook and Twitter

Now that you’re mastering the key messages and you’ve established your campaign, you’re ready to talk about your issue with a wider audience. But, what’s the best way to get the word out to a lot of various influential audiences? Social media is a great place to start. With just a few clicks, you can access the right people, build awareness, and gain support to activate change in your community.

So, what are the most effective ways to use social media to support your cause? Let’s start by breaking down the Facebook and Twitter messages below.

Facebook

Facebook is a great way to reach more people, especially if you already have an established presence through your local organization’s page. You can use your existing account(s) to engage current advocates and recruit new ones, too. If you’ve established a campaign as an individual, consider launching a community Facebook page when your campaign takes off and community members show support.

  • Include your state and/or local community to make sure people in your area can learn how to make a difference.
  • Include powerful examples and statistics about the issue that mean something to the people in your community. Include local or state statistics and examples where possible.
  • This is an example of a lobbying message. You can use lobbying messages to ask people to urge their legislator to vote for or against bills. The small amount of staff time used for a lobbying message (and any expenses to promote the post) must be paid for with lobbying funds. Note: Whether a social media message is lobbying will depend on whether a legislator is named or tagged, and what “call to action” you include in the post.

Sample Posts for Facebook

  • Local governments are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the people in their communities. They should be able to pass laws that are proven to promote good health, well-being, and equity. Let’s make sure [CITY/TOWN/COUNTY] officials continue to have this ability [OR FILL IN DETAIL ABOUT LOCAL ISSUE THAT MAY BE PREEMPTED]. [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • [STATE] has taken positive steps to improve the health of people across the state. Join us to ensure [CITY/TOWN/COUNTY] and other communities throughout [STATE] can continue to build on this progress and pass laws to help residents and businesses thrive. [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • When states block communities from passing their own laws, it can hurt the health and well-being of our families, friends, and neighbors. Join [CAMPAIGN NAME] to ensure that [STATE] lawmakers don’t take away [CITY/TOWN/COUNTY]’s ability to enact laws that will improve the lives of people here in our community. [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • Good ideas often start locally. [INCLUDE EXAMPLE OF LAWS THAT STARTED AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IN YOUR STATE]. Let’s make sure [CITY/TOWN/COUNTY] and other communities across [STATE] are able to continue to innovate and enact laws that meet residents’ needs. [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • Local officials here in [CITY/TOWN/COUNTY] are more connected to our community and should be able to pass laws that are best for us. But that ability is now at risk. Tell [STATE] state lawmakers that [CITY/TOWN/COUNTY] should continue to have the ability to create laws that reflect our views and values [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • What works in [OTHER CITY/TOWN/COUNTY/PART OF THE STATE] doesn’t necessarily work here in [CITY/TOWN/COUNTY]. Tell [STATE] state lawmakers that [CITY/COUNTY] officials should be able to make decisions on [ISSUE]. [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]

Additional Notes for Facebook

  • Images and videos attract more attention on social media because they serve as a visual way to tell a story, and they’re more fun to share. Keep these tips in mind if you choose to include them:
    • You can use the sample Facebook graphics included in this toolkit, but keep in mind that using the materials of others could cause copyright issues, so try to capture you own images, videos, and graphics as well.
    • If you film or photograph members in your community, make sure you ask for permission and get a signed waiver before you post.
    • Think about the story you want to tell with the images you use and how it might inspire the people you want to reach.
    • Use images that look like your community members.
  • Want more people to see key posts? You can highlight posts by pinning them to the top of your page. To take this a step further, you can also promote your posts. There is a cost associated with promoting Facebook posts but this will get your posts to show up in the newsfeeds of the types of people you want to engage in your campaign.
  • If you have a website or blog you want advocates to visit, make sure to include the link at the end of your post. Always give them a place where they can go to learn more, read an op-ed, or join your movement.
  • Personalize the posts by using facts specifically about your community instead of general facts.

Twitter

Twitter is a powerful platform because it uses short and informative messages, 280 characters each, to reach journalists, bloggers, news outlets, policymakers, parents, teachers, and other key stakeholders in your local community.

  • Hashtags (#) are used to tag keywords in your messages. This can help spark engagement with other Twitter users talking about similar topics. Consider adding a hashtag that is used in your community or specific to your local efforts.
  • Include your state and/or local community to make sure people in your area can learn how to make a difference.
  • #DYK, short for “did you know,” is one way you can leverage a popular hashtag to share powerful facts or statistics about your issue.
  • Twitter is a great place to engage journalists, policymakers, and bloggers. Reach out and build relationships with others who care about your issue or use this tactic to catch their attention.
  • Never start tweets with an @ symbol because then only you and the tagged user will see your tweet in newsfeeds! By placing any other character in front of @, the tweet is visible to a broader audience. You’ll notice that often, people begin their tweet with a period.
  • Engage your legislators and/or community leaders through this platform. You can also provide this language to other community members so they can tweet at the same lawmaker in high volumes. This kind of message would be considered lobbying if you reference a specific proposed or pending piece of legislation, because using the legislator’s Twitter handle makes it a direct communication to that person.

Sample Posts for Twitter

 

  • [CITY/TOWN/PART OF STATE] is different from [CITY/TOWN/PART OF STATE]. Local officials should be able to pass laws that reflect the unique needs of their communities. [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION] [LOCAL HASHTAG]
  • Everyone should be able to benefit from smart and effective policies. When states block local laws it can hurt communities most where the need is the greatest. [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • Good ideas often start locally. #DYK that indoor smoke-free laws started at the local level? But now the ability of local governments to pass these kinds of laws is at risk. [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • .@[JOURNALIST] your article on [ISSUE BEING PREEMPTED] was so informative. Thanks for sharing! We’re working in [STATE/CITY] to make sure local officials have the ability to pass laws to promote health in their communities. [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION] [LOCAL HASHTAG]
  • .@[LEGISLATOR] thank you for your opposition to [BILL NUMBER]. Local officials should be able to pass laws that promote health like [ISSUE BEING PREEMPTED]. [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • .@[LEGISLATOR] our local officials in [STATE] should be able to pass laws that reflect the values and needs of their communities. Please oppose [BILL NUMBER]. [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]

Additional Notes on Twitter

  • Consider starting a hashtag for your campaign. This way, supporters, media, legislators, and all other audiences can easily follow along on your online journey.
  • Remember that links take up space! If you want to track how many times people have clicked on your link, you can use a service like bitly.com. Otherwise, Twitter will automatically shorten your link via its own shortening service, making the link count for 23 characters.
  • The good news is that media assets like photos, GIFs, polls, videos, and quoted tweets no longer count toward your 280-character limit.
  • Additionally, usernames no longer count toward the 280-character limit.