Modern problems require modern solutions. So if you’re an activist or movement organizer and you’re not making the most of digital tools like blogging, email and social media, you (and your cause) might be missing out.
Here’s how to skip “slacktivism” and get people engaged, and more importantly, mobilized for the cause with some tools and techniques that digital marketers use every day.
Researchers have found that blogging is a valuable tool for activists to educate and organize a community.
Activists with blogs can keep readers abreast of movement knowledge, offer reactions to current events, and foster a community that translates into offline activism. Check out sites like WordPress, Wix, and Medium to start a blog for free.
Blogger activists can build communities by sharing personal and passionate writing while connecting readers to other sources of information. Blogs are also great for connecting and collaborating with other activist bloggers through commenting features that can make the content more interactive. The ultimate goal is to have this “internet activism” translate into real-world change, and a blogging community is a great way to start.
Before you can convince others to join your community and agitate for change, you need to educate them. Why are you passionate about this cause? What is the history of your cause? How can people help? Blogs are a quick, free, and easily-shareable way to educate others and engage in productive conversations with your readers in the comment section.
Reacting To Current Events
From legislation to major court cases, to cultural events, blogger activists can share their takes on important current events. Share your analysis on things like celebrity cultural appropriation, major incidents and court cases, and new laws to educate your community and foster conversation.
Email might seem passe, but it’s actually one of the most useful and effective ways to communicate with your audience.
However, depending on your organization, it may be important to protect your privacy while using email lists. Make sure to research privacy policies for any provider you look into. And always follow CAN-SPAM laws, which dictate what you can send, who you can send it to, and how you can get their email addresses. Here are a few ways to use this tool to share your message and get others involved.
With a newsletter, you can curate information, news, and content that is valuable for your audience. Pull together a list of your favorite or best content items, then share that with your communities. Readers get insight into your peak creations without having to invest time in sifting and searching for them.
You don’t have to limit your newsletter to content that you created. You can also aggregate blogs, videos, and posts from around the web on topics of interest for your readers. This is a great way to inform and educate without getting bogged down in time-consuming content creation.
Medium.com sends out highly targeted newsletters, so they’re a good reference for newsletter-sending newbies.
Wins and updates
Email is also a great way to keep your community aware of progress, wins, and even losses in your movement. Did you successfully lobby for a progressive new legislative measure? Did a candidate you back get elected? Are you starting a new lawsuit or initiative? keep your readers up to date with what’s going on in your movement.
Email is the perfect tool for donation requests. With one click of a button, you can get your message in front of everyone on your email list. It’s especially ideal when you need time-sensitive donations. Here are a few tips to make your email more successful:
- Use an eye-catching subject line (emojis, anyone?) and be direct with the recipient about what you need
- Make your ask early on in the body of the email
- Explain and describe:
- The work that you do
- Who you serve
- What donations will go toward – be specific
- Consider segmenting your email lists by donor interests to personalize donation requests
- Include clear links that lead to the donation site
- Make sure your emails are mobile optimized! More than ½ of all emails are opened and read on smartphones or tablets.
Clear Common Directive
Social media is an excellent place to discuss issues, share ideas, and create an interactive community, so others can find, connect, and relate with you and your cause. For activists with small or non-existent budgets, social media can be the key to spreading awareness.
Trackability And Visibility
Once your followers know who you are and what you stand for, you can begin following the data from your campaign. By using hashtags, you can see how many people are interacting with your campaign.
Current protest hashtags include things such as #BLM, #BlackLivesMatter, #ANTIFA, and #IStandWithAhmed. If there isn’t a hashtag for your protest, you can start one. Spread the word to anyone who stands by you so you can see how far your movement is spreading and what sort of impact you are having.
If you’re part of a much bigger movement, like BLM, it’s a good idea to combine broader hashtags that apply to the cause at large as well as smaller, “ownable” hashtags. For instance, if you’re posting about the Black Lives Matter movement in Worcester, MA, you might want to use both #BLM and #BLMWorcester or #BLMBoston.
However, as we saw on Blackout Tuesday, hashtags hold immense power. They can be used to spread important and timely information, but they can also be used to ‘“troll” movements and drown out important dialogues. Educate yourself about the specific hashtag you want to use before you post.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Using newer social media networks, like Instagram and TikTok, allows you to engage with users at the cutting edge of technology. You’ll likely be influencing the early adopters and innovators, people who are statistically more likely to take action, naturally have a greater risk tolerance, and actively seek information.
On social media, you should always be your genuine and authentic self. When your audience sees you make statements or take actions that do not align with their perception of you, they may be upset or feel betrayed. This weakens your support and reduces the overall impact of your actions to date.
Whether you’re seeking to organize for a cause or against one, digital marketing and social channels offer you a platform and voice. Use your voice and rally your supporters or use your voice to rally behind others, the choice is yours. If you need help marketing your platform, check out our blog for more tips and tricks on reaching a wider audience, and leveraging digital marketing tools.