Social media is a powerful platform to communicate ideas and raise awareness, but it should be used with great caution.
We should always use social media consciously. Don’t get sucked into the social media trap, of having arguments with others, or spending hours scrolling aimlessly though posts. Remember to always check the reliability of the information you find online.
Creating a social media campaign
Social media campaigns should be designed to encourage broad support and to build momentum around your cause. There are powerful examples of social media campaigns, such as #AfricaMatters, which is a platform to empower African youth to reject indifference and pessimism about the continent.
How to create a social media campaign:
- Create an account on a social media platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or any platform that is popular in your area.
- Identify and create useful hashtags. Hashtags allow people to easily identify your issue and track the discussions taking place around the topic. Catchy hashtags that capture the essence of your campaign can gain attention fast, such as the #MeToo and #BringBackOurGirls campaigns
- Produce and share content. Whether it is articles, memes, photos, videos, music or articles, social media is a great way of sharing content. Make sure what you share speaks to your issue and encourages discussion. Be unique and creative – there is a lot of competition out there!
- Host live chats, this is an easy way to bring people together to talk about different things.
- Organise a social media thunderclap, where many people and organisations post the same message at the same time. If they are well executed, they can make hashtags and movements go ‘viral’.
- Collaborate with social media ‘influencers’, individuals who have a large following and powerful impact on social media. These influencers can help gain traction for your advocacy project.
- Identify the best times to post on social media. If you post information when people are using social media, your ideas are more likely to be seen, liked, and shared. To engage with school pupils, the best time to post would be before and after school. If you want to engage with adults, early evening might be better. If you want to engage with decision-makers, during the day might be more effective.
- Respond and communicate. By responding to messages and comments you receive on social media, you create an important space for dialogue. Engage with people to show your passion and demonstrate commitment to your cause.
- Protect yourself on social media. There can be a lot of negativity on social media and you should know how to stay safe. Make sure you have strong passwords and that you protect your accounts, report any inappropriate posts and maintain a civil and compassionate dialogue with people. Be aware of your country’s social media laws. We have seen several influencers being taken into custody over tweets or Facebook posts – while online advocacy is important, always be responsible when using social media. Read more on online safety here.
Make sure you don't turn in to a "keyboard warrior", your actions should be just as powerful as your hashtags! Let's dive into some personal lifestyle choices.