Open a Twitter account, you will be glad you did. This is where the conversation is happening, in public, in “real time” and this is where you can bring transparency to your cause.
Once your Twitter account is established, follow other hashtags by searching for key words in the Twitter search bar and begin:
- creating/ joining lists that relate to your specific cause
- identifying influencers who have large followings
- identifying influencers who are actively tweeting
- identifying groups and institutions who share your point of view
- engaging influencers and others who might not share your point of view
- establishing a direct message chat room with other trusted Twitter supporters
- assisting your group to collaborate internally by creating a unique hashtag to tweet under
- build alliances with other Twitter tribes
- consider following lists, or creating lists of the accounts you seriously need to know they are tweeting, it will create a separate stream of tweets with only the accounts you designate to appear
- add a hashtag to your tweets and re-tweets that are trending nationally so that the public sees your tweets, otherwise you are in an echo chamber all by yourself
- along with hashtags that are trending, be sure to use hashtags that the pain community are using frequently to keep them in the loop
- vet accounts that follow or like your tweets, not everyone is who they say there are and provocateurs with anti-opioid sentiment run amuck
Remember to always listen first, begin by following those accounts that relate to your cause, then contribute when you can add value to the conversation.
Here are some tips on elements that you may want to include in your tweets to be successful.
Hootsuite Social Media Management explains
Now that you are tweeting quality tweets, keep a few more details in mind:
- Aim your tweets strategically at trending hashtags to raise awareness with the public.
- Use hashtags strategically to share, inform, support other groups within the pain community that you are building alliances with.
- Direct other tweets to trending hashtags coupled with your unique hashtag to raise public awareness, dialogue to build consensus, or inform individuals, agencies and institutions influencing the issue you are addressing.
- Use Twitter analytics to evaluate the success of your tweets.
- Use Hashtagify.com to identify corresponding trending hashtags and top influencers.
Begin a direct message chat room to discuss your cause.
Invite Twitter users who are engaged in your cause. Be sure that the members you invite are committed to supporting your cause and not there to stroke their egos or cause disruption.
Build consensus within the group. Prepare to extend your mission to other platforms with additional valuable tools.
Set some goals with the group, and then collectively tweet about issues that matter to you. Find public tweet chats and meet collectively to tweet in unity to support your cause.
Direct your tweets strategically to your audience, so you do not find yourself in an echo chamber, talking to yourself, or to people who are already aware of the issues.
You want to inform your community, but most importantly, you want to ad value to the conversation and raise public awareness.
Refrain from slander, abusive language, or shocking images.
You are interested in engaging in dialogue and raising public awareness by illuminating the facts from your research.
There is something to be said for maintaining your credibility.
With that said, feel free to apply witty sarcasm, memes, pointed questions and humor liberally!
Humor is a powerful advocacy tool.
See One, Do One, Teach One
Coach members of your group for the next phase of your eAdvocacy.
Your efforts should be initially directed at identifying appropriate group members to help you expand your mission.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people seeking recognition in the community, putting goals themselves ahead of the project.
Tasks are assigned on a voluntary basis reliant on merit and contributions to the group. Not roles or titles, but passion, loyalty, ability to think critically, and still demonstrate enough humility to follow guidance.
This is thankless work, that often goes unrecognized, powered by the majority.
Not the figure heads.
Having no end to elbow grease, contributing by completing tasks voluntarily, without the need for constant credit, are extremely valuable collaborative traits.
Understanding that team victories super-cede individual agendas, is paramount.
Everything else can be taught, and mistakes can be corrected mid-course.
Cross training across platforms is a must, if you are not prepared to do your due diligence to learn outside of your comfort zone, do not volunteer.
Remember, unless you are physician or healthcare provider, we don’t recommend offering medical advice due to liability. If you are, or someone you know is in a medical crisis, you should devote your efforts towards resolving that critical issue by dialing 911.
The same applies for legal advice. Opinions should be stated as such, and it’s totally appropriate to challenge information by posing questions or having an alternative view.
See more information under free speech section below.
All group efforts and dialogue should remain focused primarily on advocacy.
Other personal issues should be taken to direct message to maintain credibility, for the sake of the group/ community and to maintain productivity.
Trust is the foundation, keep your word to others.
If you are ever in doubt, or when you are ready to expand your Twitter capabilities, be sure to refer to Twitter help as a useful resource.
It’s important to understand which topics are trending and why, then you can effectively combine your tweets for your cause with trending topics on Twitter.
Check out this video below:
Advocacy Through Social Media: Why Trending Topics Matter | Karen McAlister | TEDxUTA
Hashtagify helps you master hashtags quickly and will enhance your social media performance on Twitter and Instagram.
This website will help you amplify your message, identify influencers, extend your reach, dialogue with your intended audience, track your competitors and help you make smarter decisions.
With that said, Twitter algorithms may impede amplification of your message depending on your hashtag.
Now that you have set these suggestions into motion, hopefully your Twitter group has grown, you have collaboratively defined your mission, and your group is ready to broaden their horizons and take your eAdvocacy efforts up another notch.
Slack is a collaborative platform that connects teams with the apps, services, and resources they need to crowdsource a problem.
There are a lot of collaborative platforms out there. Check out which one is a good fit for your group.
Crowdsourcing can be done anytime, anywhere and it can be according your ability to participate. If you can read for 10 minutes and offer a an insight to a problem, you can crowd source.
Launched in 2014, Slack is the fastest growing business application in history.
Slack does require a little bit of learning curve, but it is worth the effort. You can invite the core members of your group to Slack to coordinate your social media strategy. You will be able to set up an organizational space available 24 hours/day without having to hire a project manager. People can come and go a they please or in our case, when they are able.
You can create channels that narrow your topics down, allowing sub-groups to form, and address specific issues or tasks.
On Slack you have the ability to:
- hold conferences utilizing Google Hangouts
- screen share during Google Hangout sessions
- share images and documents directly on Slack
- utilize Google tools and a host of other applications
- implement Skype for more user-friendly conferences
- assign tasks and monitor
- direct message group members for one-on-one conversations
- create a channel to hold group chats
- create separate channels to address individual topics
- poll the group for consensus on ideas or decisions that involve the group
There are many other applications that you can download to your Slack platform to meet your group’s needs. If you can download an app to your phone, you can learn how to master the applications on Slack.
Now that you have mastered Slack, you can seriously start tracking issues in your state or on a national/ federal level.
Consider utilizing LegiScan to follow legislation in your state and respond accordingly.
Be sure to check out our PAC Online Resources page for other tools to track the issues.
Going All The Way
Now that you have come this far, you might as well cross the finish line!
Consider starting a blog, a website, a public Facebook page, YouTube page and an Instagram account to augment your message to reinforce and complement what you have created.
It is important to provide a consistent message to your audience across your social media platforms,
You can achieve this by connecting all of your social media platforms together on a WordPress blog or website, allowing you to publish a blog post, across multiple platforms, automatically making your life a little easier!
WordPress is a user-friendly content management system that allows you to publish a website, a blog or both.
WPBeginner is one of the most user-friendly resources for guidance online.
If you are a novice, you may want to start out with a blog that informs your group, community and the public about your advocacy campaigns, and how they can participate in your call to action.
WordPress offers options to set up a free blog and website.
If you want to have a lot of options, you will need to upgrade your site. The staff at WordPress are phenomenal and happy to assist and there is a large WordPress Community to interact with for support.
Here are some WordPress tutorials to get you started.
The idea is to funnel your tribe from smaller platforms such as Twitter and Facebook over to your blog/ website to a central hub for more in-depth information and active participation.
Consider your blog or website your “central hub” to provide more information for your audience.
At the same time, you can customize the content you create on WordPress into posts that you can also share on other platform by connecting the platforms together.
An important part of amplifying your message effectively is the use of images to communicate consistently your brand, regardless of what platforms you are using.
Remember to try to maintain visual consistency between each platform, so your audience recognizes you, and can find you easily.
You can do this by creating logos, memes and images that are visually consistent with your brand.
Here are a couple of tools to help you obtain images without getting yourself into a copyright cat fight.
Images can be hard to find and expensive. Your best bet is to begin with free images. Remember to add an image credit if you are using any other image that you have not personally created.
This is a great website to create an informal logo for your cause.
Pixabay is wonderful source for free images if you are on a budget. There are many other websites out there that you can purchase images from, but we recommend starting out with free images.
Always document where your images came from by giving image credits. Using other people’s images without their express consent could land you in copyright infringement suit. So, try to use free images, images you paid for, or images you have created.
Create humorous or even pointed memes for your content or download content that other people have created.
Navigating Safely Online
Should you ever feel that you are on shaky ground regarding freedom of speech or copyright law, we recommend that you do not take risks if you are unsure, or unprepared to handle the outcome.
Please follow-up with a subject matter expert before you take action.
Here’s a quick refresher on free speech, check out the video
“The First Amendment and Freedom of Speech Online.
Freedom of Speech: Crash Course Government and Politics #25 will help you navigate safely online.
Video Credit: Crash Course
Rule of Thumb
If you don’t want your mother to see it, you probably should not do it.
Online etiquette is everything when advocating, even if you are very passionate, we are not attorneys and we are not dispensing medical advice- we are discussing a healthcare issue.
Don’t find it necessary to employ an attorney, just because a tweet or post took a really nasty turn.
Speaking of attorneys, a terrific resource for online advocates to follow is Ruth Carter’s blog, a social media attorney and visionary for advocacy, with a focus on utilizing social media and collaborative tools.
Check her out!
She is a force to be reckoned with and a social media pioneer.
We highly suggest her book “The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested or Killed” as a definite must read!
Advocacy in the Digital Age
There is no reason to re-invent the wheel, now that you are well on your way to advocating using collaborative tools.
One of the best resources online offering precise guidance on how to advocate is on the Community Tool Box website.
There you will find more inspiration and guidance for directing your campaigns utilizing social media from writing a letter to your legislator to organizing a boycott.
Now that you are armed with some collaborative tools, we should remind everyone that these kind of projects grow organically, in their own time, and require the contributions of the community to accomplish.
They do not happen overnight.
They can not be attributed to one person.
It is a joint venture, and for every highly visible spokesperson, there are many people contributing behind the scenes.
Many people people contributed to this project, momentum only grows with unity and trust.
We hope this information will help you and your team to expedite your cause, but there is something to be said for patience, proceeding with caution, exercising good judgement, and allowing things to unfold at their own pace.
Congratulations, now that you have implemented these social media platforms, together or separately, now your are ready to “go live!”
Edit, Edit, Edit!
Edit your material so that it is easily digestible and accessible for the audience to find what they are looking for.
Recycle your content in a newsletter for those people who couldn’t make it to your website or social media platform.
Check to make sure all your links and pages are visible, and all of your platforms are connected. Be certain your followers can share your content.
Get ready to tell your audience what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them-what you just told them.
We can’t wait to see the creativity and accomplishments in in the pain community!
Tell us about your eAdvocacy journey!
The pain community is doing a phenomenal job embracing collaborative tools, however we expect with proposed changes in 2019 to see a large influx of patients joining our cause, as a result of failed health policy, and we hope to benefit anyone who wants to, to successfully eAdvocate!
Thank you all for your support and eAdvocacy on the behalf of the pain community!
Please share your strategy tips with us!