Social Media Samples

How to Engage Your Community with Facebook and Twitter

Now that you’re mastering the key messages and you’ve established your campaign, you’re ready to talk about your issue with a wider audience. But, what’s the best way to get the word out to a lot of various influential audiences? Social media is a great place to start. With just a few clicks, you can access the right people, build awareness, and gain support to activate change in your community.

So, what are the most effective ways to use social media to support your cause? Let’s start by breaking down the Facebook and Twitter messages below.

Facebook

Facebook is a great way to reach more people, especially if you already have an established presence through your local organization’s page. You can use your existing account(s) to engage current advocates and recruit new ones, too. If you’ve established a campaign as an individual, consider launching a community Facebook page—“Concerned Citizens of [CITY] for Our Healthy Kids”—when your campaign takes off and community members show support.

Sample Posts for Facebook

Start with powerful examples and statistics about the issue that mean something to the people in your community. Include local or state statistics where possible.

  • Fun fact: For every $1 invested in safe walking and biking options, health care costs associated with physical inactivity decrease almost $3. Share this, and tell your friends about Safe Routes to School! [PHOTO WITH YOUR SITE LINK]

Ask questions and encourage story-telling to engage advocates and get them talking about the issue with each other.

  • Kids in [STATE] need the option to walk and bike to school to help them get the recommended amount of daily physical activity. Without safe bike lanes and sidewalks, our children miss out on the opportunity to be more active, have cleaner air, and experience fewer car crashes. Are safe routes to school a priority in your community?

This is an example of a lobbying message. You can use lobbying messages when there is a bill related to your cause, like safe routes to schools, or if it refers to a specific law or program in another state.

  • Every child deserves to walk or bike to school safely, but it’s up to us to make sure federal funding is used for sidewalks and bike paths. Tell [LEGISLATOR] why we need Safe Routes to School in [STATE].
  • Every child deserves to walk or bike to school safely. We should plan our neighborhoods so they can. Tell [LEGISLATOR] to allocate vital funding to the creation of safe routes in our community.

Additional Notes for Facebook

  • Images and videos attract more attention on social media because they serve as a visual way to tell a story, and they’re more fun to share. Keep these tips in mind if you choose to include them:
    • Use your own images, videos, and graphics.
    • If you film or photograph members in your community, make sure you ask for permission before you post.
    • Think about the story you want to tell with the images you use and how it might inspire the people you want to reach.
  • Want more people to see key posts? You can highlight posts to anchor them to the top of your page. To take this a step further, you can also promote your posts. This has a small fee and will get your posts to show up in the newsfeeds of the types of people you target.
  • If you have a website or blog you want advocates to click on, make sure to include the link at the end of your post. Always give them a place where they can go to learn more, read an op-ed, or join your movement.

 

Twitter

Twitter is a powerful platform because it uses short and informative messages, 140 characters each, to reach journalists, bloggers, news outlets, policymakers, parents, teachers, and other key stakeholders in your local community.

Sample Posts for Twitter

You can use phrases, like this one, to make people curious. If they want to find out an answer, they are more likely to click on your link.

  • #DYK health costs go down when neighborhoods invest in sidewalks & bike lanes? Find out how you can help [LINK] #SRTS

Hashtags (#) are used to tag keywords in your messages. This can help spark engagement with other Twitter users talking about similar topics.

  • Research shows safe routes to school are good for health, economy, & education. Get on board FAST! [LINK] #SRTS

Include your state and/or local community to make sure people in your area can learn how to make a difference.

  • Kids need regular activity and safe routes to school provide natural opportunities to get it. Let’s bring #SRTS to [STATE]!

#DYK, short for “did you know,” is one way you can leverage a popular hashtag to share powerful facts or statistics about your issue.

  • #DYK When kids walk or bike to school they arrive ready to focus? #SRTS

Twitter is a great place to engage journalists, policymakers, and bloggers. Reach out and build relationships with others who care about your issue or use this tactic to catch their attention. Never start tweets with an @ symbol because then only you and the tagged user will see your tweet in newsfeeds! By placing any other character in front of @, the tweet is visible to a broader audience.

  • .@[JOURNALIST] Your article on safe routes was so informative! Thanks for sharing. #SRTS

If there is a bill you want to see passed concerning this issue, engage your policymakers and/or community leaders through this platform. You can also provide this language to other community members so they can tweet at the same lawmaker in high volumes. This kind of message would be considered lobbying if you reference a specific proposed or pending piece of legislation.

  • .@[LEGISLATOR], your community wants safe and healthy options for their kids. Join them in support of Safe Routes to School.
  • Our kids deserve to walk or bike to school safely. @[LEGISLATOR], please dedicate funds to #SRTS in our community!

Additional Notes for Twitter

  • Full web links take up space! You can shorten links by using bitly.com, a shortening tool that also tracks how many times people have clicked on your link.
  • Consider starting a hashtag for your campaign. This way, supporters, media, legislators, and all other audiences can easily follow along on your online journey.