Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Three big tips for turning digital potential into your next successful campaign

Friday, December 13th, 2019

You remember in the federal election, when Jagmeet Singh had that amazing viral video on TikTok?

A lot of people had three reactions:

One, good for him!
Two, what the heck is a TikTok?
And three, do I really have to learn another frigging app?

We’re all busy people. And there’s so much to keep track of. New tools constantly coming. And the tools we already use? They keep changing.

For those of us in communications and advertising, the pace is even faster.

But whether you’re an ubergeek or a confirmed Luddite, or somewhere in between, progressive organizers and communicators have to keep learning how to make the most of these ever-changing capabilities.

Our movements, unions, and non-profits have powerful and well-resourced adversaries. And we need to get better at taking them on.

It’s up to us to design smart campaigns that marry ever-growing digital potential with the power of offline action. And to do that, we have to pay attention to three big lessons that today’s most successful campaigns are getting right.


Tip #1: Message matters.

No matter what medium you’re in – TikTok, Instagram, or Morse code – one thing’s still true.

Message. Matters.

The right message can succeed even on a shoestring. The wrong message will fail no matter how much money you spend – or what whiz-bang tech you throw at it.

It needs to connect with people emotionally, contrast with the alternative, and offer hope for a solution. And that helps put your campaign on the winning track.


Tip #2: Whenever possible, our digital tools should lead people to action.

One of the most seductive things about the digital realm is how measurable it is. You can track shares, and likes, and views, and follows. You can plot them against demographic information. You can make charts. Charts!

But there’s a mistake in thinking that the fact we can count it… means that it counts. If it’s just the same people liking and sharing over and over again, we haven’t reached outside of our social media bubble. We haven’t persuaded anybody. And we haven’t built a community.

But the click, the like, the share… they can be useful if they connect to action that has an impact. That is, if we translate online action to offline action.

There are three key ingredients to the most powerful connections to action:

The first is urgency. People need to understand why it’s important to act right now. The second ingredient is meaning. Our audience needs to see a connection between the action we’re asking for, and the outcome they want. And the third ingredient is impact. Show your audience how this action is already changing things. And show that they, too, can be a part of the change.


Tip #3: Understand what tool does what job best.

You can get away without knowing the ins and outs of every social app. But you do need to know what each of the channels available to us is good for, when to use it, and where it falls short.

That applies to traditional tools, like TV and radio, as well as the latest and greatest. (More on what-tool-to-use-when in a blog post coming soon!)

With every channel, though – from radio and print to Instagram and TikTok – think about the communications fundamentals. What’s your message? Who’s your audience? What’s your call to action?

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your content and channels is the first step. Understanding how they can connect and amplify each other, though: that’s your superpower.

Together, let’s do some good!

It’s up to progressive organizers and communicators to put these tools to work for working people, not against them. We can use these tools to push back against the forces that are trying to cut public services, keep working people down, and make life harder. We can motivate and mobilize like never before.

And when we do that, we’re doing more than just building audience share. We’re building a community – and building our movement.

Heather Fraser is President and CEO of The NOW Group. This blog post is a condensed version of Heather’s speech to the Manitoba Federation of Labour.

Memejacking: hopping the bandwagon without getting run over

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

ACLU meme image excerptEver been tempted to jump on board the latest meme bandwagon—and hope it brings your message along for the ride?

It’s called “memejacking”. Done right, it lets you tap into the energy of a lively conversation to help amplify your message. Done poorly, it can do you some damage. (more…)

For your Facebook Page, stop thinking News Feed. Start thinking search engine.

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

magnifying glass on the Facebook News FeedIt wasn’t that long ago that when you posted something to your Facebook Page, you had a pretty decent shot of winding up in your followers’ News Feeds — that stream of stories a user sees on the Facebook home page.

How times have changed. These days, you’re competing against literally thousands of other pieces of content for a precious slot in a user’s News Feed. No wonder one study showed a typical Facebook Page post reaches only six per cent of its followers.

There’s been a lot of gnashing of teeth over this among brands and organizations. Facebook is very consciously reducing the organic reach of Page posts, and holding up paid promotion as a way to close the gap. And while it’s hard not to resent that, Facebook is a commercial enterprise, and a lot of commercial Pages have had a good, long free ride. It would be awfully nice if Facebook gave non-profits and civic organizations more unpaid profile… but don’t hold your breath.

So the days when you had a pipeline to your Facebook followers are gone. How do you adjust? (more…)

A little accountability for your Facebook Page

Friday, February 28th, 2014

A screen capture of a really bad Facebook postOne big challenge when you have a team managing a social media presence is accountability. Someone accidentally posted a photo of yesterday’s lunch to your Facebook Page. One of the people with the keys to your Twitter account just responded to an innocent question with an offensive tirade. But how do you know who?

If you’re paying for team collaboration features with a tool like HootSuite, you may well be able to answer those questions. But otherwise, unless someone owns up, you won’t be able to have the conversations that can prevent future misfires. (And conversely, you won’t be able to give the real author of a great post the recognition they’re due.)


Closed-captioning for YouTube: easy and powerful

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Closed Captioning logoOf all the YouTube features that communicators overlook, one of the most valuable is closed captioning.

We’ve been doing it for broadcast TV ads for years, but it’s remarkably easy and powerful on YouTube. By uploading a simple text file, you can have complete control over when closed captions appear, and what they say. That can help you reach hearing-impaired audience members, as well as viewers who’d rather keep their devices muted to avoid disturbing their cubicle-mates.

But closed captioning will even help you reach the folks who crank the subwoofers to 11. That’s because the text in those captions gets read by Google – making closed captioning an essential part of your search engine strategy.

You could just rely on YouTube’s speech recognition technology to transcribe it automatically. But that’s a risky proposition.


Have you thanked a community manager lately?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Computer mouse in the shape of a heartThis Monday is the fourth annual Community Manager Appreciation Day. Officially, it’s a chance to recognize the folks who help keep the online conversation flowing smoothly, and the virtual bowls of Cheesies and beer cooler well-stocked.

But it’s a lot more than just 21-thumbs-up salutes and parades in cities across the world. (Note to self: confirm parades are happening before building that float.) It’s a chance to learn from each other, and share our experiences in community management. (more…)

When tragedy strikes, take stock – and hit the social media pause button

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Photo of a thumb pressing the pause button on a remoteWhen the news broke of last Friday’s attack on a Newtown, Connecticut school, many people turned to social networks: some looking for news, others for comfort, and still others a forum to express themselves.

But amidst the flood of messages of concern, sympathy and anguish on Twitter, you could also see businesses blithely tweeting about deep discounts and holiday sales, and organizations asking their followers to retweet cute photos of cats. And they reaped a whirlwind of online anger over their callousness and insensitivity.

In most cases, though, callousness wasn’t the problem. Automation was. (more…)

Keeping conversations… well, conversational

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Canvasser with an iPadYou might think it should be obvious: when you’re using a conversational medium, stay conversational. But shiny new tactics can derail even the best campaign strategists… including those on Barack Obama’s successful re-election campaign.

In a must-read post on Slate, John Dickerson reports on his interview with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in the afterglow of the President’s November 6th victory. One topic that came up: iPads on the doorstep.


2012 National Day of Mourning

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

In support of working people across Canada on this National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job.

Please copy or share and help promote safety for all workers.