Presentation on theme: "DELIVERING AN EFFECTIVE MESSAGE VIA TRADITIONAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA Sarah Wells, Executive Director, Consumer Voice."— Presentation transcript:
DELIVERING AN EFFECTIVE MESSAGE VIA TRADITIONAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA Sarah Wells, Executive Director, Consumer Voice
Introduction No matter what kind of networking or communicating you do, it’s all about finding the right people to target with your message, conveying your message clearly, and garnering interest and support.
Introduction Agenda What is networking? What is media? Linking it all together Let’s talk about traditional networking & media and how to communicate your message(s) Let’s talk about social networking & media and how to communicate your message(s)
Introduction When I say “networking” what do you think of?
Introduction When I say “media” what do you think of?
Introduction Networking versus media, understanding the difference and how they work together Networking – using traditional or social networking techniques to find people with mutual interests or supporters Media – mass communication (but definitely can be targeted) Networking and media go hand-in-hand – ideally, you find individuals and/or large audiences with mutual interests, to communicate broadly to about your issue(s)
Introduction “Traditional” NETWORKING Face-to-face meetings or gatherings Phone calls Mailed letters, faxes, e-mails “Social” NETWORKING Using internet based platforms (including websites, mobile phone apps, etc.) to network
Introduction “Traditional” MEDIA Television broadcasting Radio Newspapers, magazines, etc. “Social” MEDIA Facebook Twitter Dozens of other web and mobile platforms
Traditional, Social, ??? We’ll use “traditional” and “social” in this presentation, because that is still commonly the terminology used, but realistically, the world is a fluid place in terms of communication. Example: Virtually all newspapers run an online edition and engage in social media (e.g., Facebook and Tweet their articles) in addition to printing their publications Traditional…social…
Traditional Networking & Media Because of time, we are going to focus on two key areas of communication: engaging print media and using e-mail to make your point
Traditional Networking & Media “Print” media (not always printed these days!) Letters to the Editor You feel strongly about an issue, and you want to let people know what you think. You believe you can even influence people to take some action if you speak your mind. But, you want to reach an audience larger than just your friends or your group membership. Letters to the editor can be an effective way to get the word out. A letter to the editor is a written way of talking to a newspaper, magazine, or other regularly printed publication. Letters to the editor are generally found in the first section of the newspaper, or towards the beginning of a magazine, or in the editorial page. They can take a position for or against an issue, or simply inform, or both. They can convince readers by using emotions, or facts, or emotions and facts combined. Letters to the editor are usually short and tight, rarely longer than 300 words.
Traditional Networking & Media When should you write a letter to the editor? You are angry about something, and want others to know it Think that an issue is so important that you have to speak out Part of your group's strategy is to persuade others to take a specific action Suggest an idea to others Influence public opinion Educate the general public on a specific matter Influence policy-makers or elected officials directly or indirectly Publicize the work of your group and attract volunteers or program participants
Traditional Networking & Media What goes in a letter to the editor? See handout Follow guidelines of the publication, found in the paper, online or when in doubt, call and ask! Usually 300 words or less Make your most important points first (editors may have to cut length and you want the most important stuff to stay in!) If local publication, connect the issue back to the locality; if national publication, connect the issue back to national news/happenings Use statistics or personal stories to make your point Provide your name (of course!) and your title and any affiliations
Traditional Networking & Media What publication should I send my letter to the editor to? NYTimes? Hundreds, thousands of submissions, maybe prints 10? But if yours was printed…success! Local newspapers may only receive 2-3/day and print each; less reach, but easier to get published! Consumer Voice has a letter to the editor module online that can help you submit letters (bypassing the research it takes to find the right contacts at publications locally and nationally, etc.) – keep an eye out for when we issue alerts asking you to submit letters to the editor!
Traditional Networking & Media Who here has ever written a letter to the editor? What was your experience? Do you think you’d be willing to give it a try when you go back home?
Traditional Networking & Media E-mail Action Alerts you send out Action Alerts you receive General e-mail contact with people you want to influence
Traditional Networking & Media An action alert is a message that an organization sends to mobilize people - often members of their group and supports of a specific point of view - calling on them to take action to influence public policy
Traditional Networking & Media Preparing an Action Alert What’s the goal? What do you want to see happen as a result of your alert? (e.g., I want 10 people to call their state legislator and ask the representative to support XYZ bill, we want 100 people to visit our website and read our fact sheet on the misuse of antipsychotics in nursing homes) How will you measure your success? Can you track how many people click on the link in your email? Will you ask recipients to tell you if they reach out to a legislators office? You need to know how well you did so you can improve or keep same strategy the next time.
Traditional Networking & Media What do I include in the alert? Somewhat depends on where you are in the campaign; is this the first time your audience have heard about the issue? (Hopefully not!) One page or less is best (measure by looking at the e-mail in print preview if need be!) Make it readable - use at least 12 point font, must be in lay terms Keep the text brief Keep the most important information in the first paragraph - what the issue is, what action is needed, and label the main message(s) Provide a date by which action needs to be taken (people check e- mail at different frequencies and may see the alert late) Provide a “background” section at the end of the alert with all the detailed info on the issue (and/or link to additional information on a website(s)) Give the reader all the tools they need to take the action - do not say "call your legislator" instead give them the numbers; give legislators the bill number you want them to vote for
Traditional Networking & Media Who do I send the alert to? If your organization keeps a database and/or e-mail lists, then to the people on those lists, provided they have given you permission to e-mail them. If you are an individual or your organization doesn’t keep a database, start with family, friends and ask them to forward to a friend. Consider using a tool like Constant Contact to start collecting e-mail addresses for future outreach.
Traditional Networking & Media Who here has ever sent out an action alert or something like this? What was your experience with it? Do you think you would try this when you go back home?
Traditional Networking & Media If you receive an Action Alert Check the deadline; many are a tight turnaround Skim the contents and decide if it is an issue you understand already or one where you need to read the additional background information If you want to take action, follow the instructions for sending an e-mail, letter or making a phone call to an elected official If time permits, send an email to the organization that sent you the alert and let them know how your experience was (as just discussed, it helps the organization to know how they are doing!)
Traditional Networking & Media Personalizing the alert is key! Consumer Voice or other organizations sending you an action alert may give you some sample or template language to use, and it’s fine to use that exactly or adapt it, but it’s also very important to personalize your content
Traditional Networking & Media Here’s an example…
Traditional Networking & Media Who here has responded to an action alert sent to you? What was your experience?
Traditional Networking & Media Contacting elected officials via e-mail (and much of this applies to faxing and mailed letters too!) See handout for example. It is important that you build positive, working relationships with elected officials well in advance of tapping them for support or opposition to your issue. Your goal should be to become the trusted expert they turn to for information on your issues. E-mail is a common way to communicate with elected officials today Usually you can find the elected officials e-mail address on their official website by going to google.com and then searching their name and state Sometimes the elected official website will not give you their actual e- mail address but will have a form for you to fill out, which is fine too (that form e-mails the content you write to the official’s staff)
Traditional Networking & Media Always be courteous and respectful State the purpose of your letter up front and reference a bill number if applicable (reference the bill number in the subject line of the e-mail too) Identify yourself. Anonymous letters go nowhere. Definitely identify if you are a constituent of the legislator Even in email, include your correct name, address, phone number and email address. If you don't include at least your name and address, you are not likely to get a response. State any professional credentials or personal experience you may have, especially those pertaining to the subject of your letter. Keep your e-mail short and to the point Use specific examples or evidence to support your position. Clearly state what it is you want done or recommend a course of action. Thank the official for taking the time to read your e-mail. NEVER use vulgarity, profanity or threats. Do not let your passion get in the way of making your point.
Traditional Networking & Media Here is an example of how to find your state legislator(s) e-mail address
Traditional Networking & Media Who here has sent an e-mail to an elected official? What was your experience? Did you get a response?
Social Networking & Media Stereotype: It’s just a younger persons communication tool.
Pick 1-2 social media platforms to start and do them well; maybe you’ll never engage in more than that It’s more important to engage your audience than be “live” on every single social media site It’s far worse to have a profile/page/account with a social media channel and leave it outdated or dormant than to not have one at all
Social Networking & Media Setup a social media calendar to keep things interesting and give yourself motivation Throwback Thursday Fan Favorite Friday and so on… It is absolutely acceptable and good practice to develop social media messages in advance to have them in the queue (though always be ready to communicate something cutting-edge/breaking news at a moment’s notice)
Social Networking & Media Guidelines for how frequently to communicate and when to do it – no hard and fast rules, but generally accepted in social networks: In general, 80% of US population are on Central and Eastern time zones, so keep that in mind (if you post in middle of the night or too early or late in the workday, they may never see it)
Social Networking & Media Too many social media platforms to cover here, let’s focus on the two that most people know about: Facebook and Twitter
Facebook What is it? An online website that allows both individuals and groups to create their own pages to share all sorts of content they select (text, video, photos, polls, etc.) with people that subscribe to their pages As of June 2012, 995 million people using it How often should I facebook (yes, you can use it as a verb nowadays!)? Once per day; Saturdays actually great for this medium as lots of people are reading it (though perhaps not practical for organizations, but great for individuals) How am I doing? Has built-in analytics for group pages Benefits Lots of people using it (though harder than Twitter to acquire subscribers) Better targeted (you can create groups around specific topics for instance) Easier to analyze than Twitter Not much restriction on length of content, can link to websites, upload video/pictures, etc. Your subscribers can post content on your page, allowing for a lot of interaction
Social Networking & Media Example of information Facebook will tell you about the people who subscribe to see your posts
Who here has used Facebook for personal or professional reasons? Have you ever posted a call to action or important article to get your friends interested? Do you think you would try using Facebook as an advocacy tool when you go back home?
Twitter What is it? Individuals and/or groups can create an account which allows you to submit “microblogs” of 140 characters or less called “tweets” out to anyone who subscribes to read your stuff How often should I tweet? 3-5 times per day would be considered beginner, 10 times or more a bit much and probably wasted time unless you have a devoted following How am I doing? Does not have built-in analytics, but lots of third party websites you can use to track your progress (e.g., http://tweetstats.com/)http://tweetstats.com/ Benefits Shorter content (though sometimes shorter is harder!!) Easier to acquire subscribers (“followers”) than Facebook as people aren’t as selective about who they subscribe to (though that’s a drawback too)
Social Networking & Media Who here has used Twitter for personal or professional reasons? Have you ever posted a call to action or important article to get your friends interested? Do you think you would try using Twitter as an advocacy tool when you go back home?
Potential downsides We’re drowning in messages; you are one in a trillion It can be fairly easy to acquire a lot of hits/likes/friends/etc., but engagement can be tough because the audiences are not necessarily targeted or “deeply” invested (“just because I press ‘like’ on my friend’s Facebook post doesn’t mean I’d actually donate to that cause”) You risk losing some control over messaging if you do it right (that is, you need to communicate quite frequently to be effective with social media that you are likely going to need to bring interns, volunteers, non-communications professionals into to help you; you might lose some control)
Takeaways 1. Choose your networking or media strategies wisely based on your resources, time and goals. Be bold, but don’t over-commit. 2. Communicate your message clearly. 3. Set specific, measurable goals.
Takeaways 4. Provide your audience(s) with all the tools and information they need to do what you want them to do. 5. Analyze your results. 6. Celebrate success; improve on weakness.
You Can Do It! In politics and public policy, if you are not at the [communications] table, then you are on the menu!