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Campaigning on Twitter

Asset 1 5 min Best Practice

Campaigns on Twitter can be global or local, grassroots or organized. In a continuation of our Twitter for Nonprofits series, we’ve laid out some tips to help you think about how to use Twitter for organizing, and both proactive and reactive campaigning.

Proactive campaigning

A good Twitter campaign is all about setting out a strategy, planning your tactics around that strategy, and working cleverly toward success.

 

Identify your audience 

Key to your strategy will be identifying your audience and the goals you want to achieve with them. Do you want to build your following? Drive traffic to a particular website? Your success will depend on how well you have judged and produced content aimed at the target audience.

 

Keep it timely 

A campaign launch can often be months in the making, but as you approach your launch date, don’t forget to examine what’s trending, both online and offline. This awareness will help you navigate the need for any change in direction, and could help identify opportunities to dovetail with the zeitgeist.

 

Pick a relevant hashtag

Hashtags have become synonymous with people, events, and campaigns that have achieved a particular level of mass recognition.Your campaign should seek to either communicate into a popular preexisting hashtag, or identify space where a new, thoughtfully worded one might come to define a particular issue and then capitalize on this by making it the centerpiece of your Twitter campaign.

 

Adopt a content calendar 

When planning any kind of communications campaign, it’s useful to sketch out each day’s activities on a content calendar. Things move fast on Twitter, so to ensure your message is hitting the audience you want it to, consider the flow of how you distribute your content on Twitter, Periscope, and other social media. Plan in advance, but also keep your eye on trending stories and topics to identify issues that are animating the audience you want to reach.

 

Get creative

There are many ways to get your campaign message across on Twitter. To kick-start your content calendar, consider hosting a Q&A with one of your organization’s ambassadors or partner activists, incorporating GIFs, videos, or photos into your Tweets, or live-Tweeting the launch of your campaign.

 

Add personality 

You want your audience to care about your message, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on personality. Sometimes this can just be a simple emoji, or it could be the tone you take with your Tweet copy. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter to showcase the voice of your organization.

Reactive campaigning

Many of the best moments on Twitter are born from spontaneity. Be it something whimsical, something accidental, or something very serious, these moments can light up the internet within minutes and become a global phenomenon. In these moments, Twitter can be used effectively in a reactive manner, by both organizations and individuals, to engage in one-on-one campaigning.

 

Engage with your audience

When someone responds to content you’ve Tweeted during a particular campaign, try to respond in a constructive manner. If the interaction is successful, other people who see it could be more persuaded by your message than if it had been a broadcast-only experience. Likewise, although you might not be able to respond to every Tweet, consider liking, Retweeting or Quote Retweeting responses that add value to your campaign message.

 

Rebuttal and taking control of the message

Because of its live and public nature, Twitter is the perfect platform to fact-check statements or rebut arguments. Whether it’s to clapback or clarify, consider using threads, broadcasting live, or hosting a Q&A to take control of your message.

 

Using Twitter in an emergency

Twitter is a vital tool for those responding to or affected by emergencies and disasters. Whether it’s a natural disaster or an attack, Twitter enables people to issue public updates, contact individuals, and coordinate responses. If you or your organization is involved in emergency response, consider reaching your followers, the wider public, and the media via the tips below:
 
  • Engage with people on the ground to gather eyewitness information
  • Interact with your audience, answer their questions, and dispel any misinformation 
  • Monitor relevant hashtags and Lists to discover key issues as they arise
  • Suggest that your audience set their timeline to β€œsee latest Tweets” during an emergency to get raw, unfiltered, real-time Tweets
  • Advise your eyewitnesses and local correspondents to Tweet their precise location to help you and others get an update of the conditions on the ground, or to be able to aid them if needed

Twitter for networking and organizing

Since its inception, Twitter has been successfully used by many individuals and organizations to create networks and promote initiatives, campaigns, and ideas. People see the networking power that Twitter has and its ability to connect them to their interests, and they harness this to further their cause and passions. Here are a couple of ways you can use Twitter to network and organize:

 

Tweetups

When like-minded people engage with each other on Twitter, they sometimes decide to organize an in-person meeting, known as a Tweetup. Tweetups bring the online conversation offline, where it can develop further and the network is strengthened. Typically built and organized around a hashtag, a Tweetup itself can become a trend, as attendees discuss the conversations they’re having. Use a dedicated hashtag when promoting your event to provide people with key information and to cultivate conversation.

 

Individual meetings

Twitter has helped to connect people across the world since its inception. For some campaigners, organizers, and activists, meeting each other IRL and one-on-one is the next step after connecting through discussions started on Twitter. These meetings serve the same purpose as larger Tweetups, and can be useful for individual networking.