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.

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.

• Some low-income neighborhoods lack safe spaces for people to walk and bike. These same areas often have higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Learn how #StreetsBuiltToShare can help. [PLEASE INSERT YOUR SPECIFIC FUNDING MECHANISM FOR WALKING AND BIKING BASED ON WHAT YOUR COALITION HAS IDENTIFIED].

• Studies show that when children can be physically active, they are more likely to do better in school. But many low-income and communities of color have lacked safe spaces for kids to walk and bike for decades. Are #StreetsBuiltToShare a priority in your community?

Be sure to include images, infographics, videos, and other content that readers can interact with beyond just text. Posts that have multimedia content along with the text perform exponentially higher in terms of engagement and click rates.

• Are you spreading the word about bike and walking path access? This flyer will help. Print it and pin it up around your neighborhood! While you’re at it, snap a picture of yourself in action and come back here to share it. [LINK TO FLYER]

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

• In thousands of neighborhoods across the country, it’s difficult for kids to bike and walk safely. Tell [INSERT DECISION MAKER’S NAME] to support walking and biking projects in [STATE]. [LINK TO WEBSITE WITH LETTER TO LEGISLATOR]

• Too many families in the U.S. live in places where they can’t access safe paths, sidewalks, or lanes to walk and bike. This can make it more difficult for kids to maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. [LINK TO INFOGRAPHIC OR OTHER ASSET DESCRIBING IMPACT OF LACK OF BIKE AND PEDESTRIAN PATH ACCESS]

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 (Did You Know), to make people curious. If they want to find out an answer, they are more likely to click on your link.

• #DYK many communities of color don’t have access to safe biking and walking paths? Learn more: [INSERT LINK]

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

• We need more bike paths in #[STATE] so all children can stay healthy and strong. RT this if you agree!

Remember to include a link to your action page or a website where advocates can learn more and get involved.

• Safe bike and walking paths: everyone deserves the chance to be healthy and active. [INSERT LINK]

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 the impact of bike paths on health was so informative! Thanks for sharing. #StreetsBuiltToShare

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’S NAME], thousands of people in #[STATE] can’t access safe bike paths. Bring #StreetsBuiltToShare to our state! [PLEASE INSERT YOUR SPECIFIC FUNDING MECHANISM FOR WALKING AND BIKING BASED ON WHAT YOUR COALITION HAS IDENTIFIED]

• .@[LEGISLATOR’S NAME] Bringing bike paths to #[STATE] helps prevent #diabetes AND improves quality of life. Support #StreetsBuiltToShare!