For the last two months I have been working with advocacy agencies (read NGOs, CBOs) in the communications department and as it is already known my part is in the use of  Social media to reach a greater number with few resources and at a faster rate.

I have learnt a lot from the people I am working with better than what my lecturer taught me in class, which is not a surprise we learn a lot from the field than in class.

Anyway I have a dream that every sector of the economy needs social media as human being need relating to each other. This is why advocacy needs social media to help it contact, inform, and mobilize a group of concerned people around an issue or cause.

Advocacy needs Social Media not all for the above but because of the low (or no) hard costs required for setting-up; the potentially wide reach; quick/instantaneous sharing of messages; and new opportunities to listen, engage, and monitor the advocacy campaign progress. Here tools like websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, email, and texts are great advocacy tools that help integrate efforts of advocacy for better overall results.

Specialized tools too exist to help organize volunteer-ism, donate, fundraising, bring people together for rallies and meetings, to boycott or support businesses, participate, discuss, and subscribe to updates.

As humans can decide to connect with each for certain reasons, is the same way social media works. When ever you are working towards engaging people, you’re going to want a social media presence to amplify your ability to reach supporters quickly.

You use it as part of a direct action campaign, it is helpful, but not necessary, set up the social media tools and gather supporters in advance of making a specific request. No matter where you are in the process of a campaign, you can use social media to help support your cause. You can join and participate in social networks at any time, 24/7. However, timing is important to consider when carrying out specific tasks.

Keep in mind that like all technology, social media is constantly changing and growing, and you will need to keep evaluating your social media plan to make sure that you are maximizing your reach and meaningfully engaging your audience.

As I always say, Social media with no strategy is a dead end you will knock walls, a lot of walls if you have no sense of direction, so before you engage anyone you need to clarify your main goals and your social media objectives. In the cluttered world of social media, the most important thing to remember is to stay focused on your advocacy objectives – what are the actions and outcomes you want to achieve? Don’t get caught up in pursuing every “shiny new tool” or participating in ways that don’t support your goals (directly or indirectly).

Research and evaluate where your supporters are most likely to be online. With digital advocacy, you’ll want to identify who is most likely to support your cause, and go to them wherever they are—use the social media tools they use.

To stay on top of your social media objectives, develop a single content plan or editorial calendar of topics to post, which will include the timing of advocacy requests and key dates for desired outcomes. This can be a “skeleton” framework — you can always add to it as time goes on. Allow enough flexibility to react to current events and topics the social community cares about. Your ratio of non-self-interested material to self-interested material should be roughly three to one.

There has been these four skills that I have seen being used to drive social change by the use of social media like

  • Focus – that hatches goals that will make an impact
  • Grab Attention – where one stick out in an overcrowded, over-messaged, noisy world
  • Engage – when one makes people connect with the goals of advocacy
  • Take Action – empowering others, enabling them, and cultivating a movement.

To stay on top of your social media objectives, develop a single content plan or editorial calendar of topics to post, which will include the timing of advocacy requests and key dates for desired outcomes. This can be a “skeleton” framework — you can always add to it as time goes on. Allow enough flexibility to react to current events and topics the social community cares about. Your ratio of non-self-interested material to self-interested material should be roughly three to one.

You’ll also want to integrate any online efforts with your offline efforts (printed materials, public relations, media outreach) to maximize success. Make sure you include social media reference points on printed materials, and promote content from printed materials online.

Patricia Kahill

is a Social Media, Content Creator and Marketer at Kahill Insights. A Development Practitioner who has no self talent but is driven by curiosity and passion; in a nutshell she is a Multipotentialite. She believes in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit which makes her a Christian.

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