Social Media Toolkit. 1

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1 Social Media Toolkit What is social media? Everyday we are bombarded with media: the newspaper, the radio, tv, magazines, billboards, ads in our google searches. Many of us are increasingly also bombarded with social media. The social in social media is what makes it unique. Unlike traditional media, social media can be produced by anyone with internet access. If you have an idea and a login, you can share your idea, your photo, or anything else with the world. You can also share news articles, videos, and other items from traditional media. The lines between traditional media and social media are blurring, as news stories actually get picked up from trends on Facebook and Twitter and many social media heavy hitters also write for regular publications. What s exciting about social media overall is that it puts some power to drive the message in our hands. Social media corporations make money off of ads on their sites, so they don t generally charge for their services (unless you have special add- ons). Why do we use social media for grassroots organizing and movement building? And how? Because of the very same systems of oppression we are fighting together (racism, sexism, transphobia, etc), many people have been excluded from traditional media. The folks who controll most major media corporations tend to be white wealthy cisgender men. Many others whose bodies are policed and marginalized by these systems of oppression find it more difficult to play in this field. Social media offers us some space to generate alternative conversations, to advocate for the interests of our communities, and to make known that we have the numbers and passion to matter. Online work doesn t by any means replace the necessity of offline organizing and movement building but the two can be used together. We can use social media to fundraise for our movements, let others know what our movements are up to, and to spread awareness of how people can plug in. We can also use social media to engage people from multiple geographic locations together. We might have the same action happening in Seattle, New York, and New Orleans, and publicize them together. It s important to remember that social media is a tool, not a goal. It s a way to spread our messages and raise awarenss, but the fight doesn t begin or end online. Every movement still relies on good old- fashioned conversation and planning. But we can definitely use social media to up our antics! What are different types of social media? There are many, many types of social media, each with different uses and forms. Here are a few of the most popular, and ideas for how we can use them for our movement building work 1

2 Facebook: Facebook was originally built for individuals to connect with their own social networks. On Facebook, you can have both followers and friends. Followers can see the content you make public, and friends can see the content you post that is restricted for them. There are more complex privacy settings, but those are the basics. Facebook has a robust commenting platform, and it s great for having conversations all in one place. You can also like content that other users have posted. Facebook also has features that are espcially useful for grassroots organizing like groups, pages, and events. Facebook groups are kind of like chat rooms, where members can share articles, ideas, and more. You can adjust the privacy setting of a Facebook group to meet your needs. Facebook pages, on the other hand, can be the public face of your organization. It s a great place to share blog posts of what you re up to, articles and ideas relevant to your work, images, and more. When you create a page, you can invite people in your network to like the page and follow it for updates. The more people who like your page, the more widely your content is shared. Facebook events are a great way to spread the word about an event, action, fundraiser, or petition. You can create an event through your own account, or through your page s account (if you have a page). E.g. I could create a page as Rohini Patel, a person, or NQAPIA, an organization. Once you create an event, you can add other people as hosts, adjust the event s privacy settings, and change the time/date/location. You can also send and receive direct messages as your Facebook page or as an individual. Twitter: Twitter is a platform built on very short form communication. In fact, each twitter update is limited to a maximum of 140 characters! Characters include letter, numbers, special characters (like and spaces. On Twitter everyone has a handle and a user name. For example, my handle might and my user name might be something as recognizable Rohini Patel or something silly like I m a Lovey Dovey. Twitter is the platform that built up the popularity of the hashtag. Hashtags on twitter are a way of opening up conversation on a particular topic. For example, the hashtag #introvertpickuplines opens up conversation on ways that introverts flirt. Here are some sample tweets (note that they are all 140 characters or less): want to come over and not talk to each other? #introvertpickuplines 2

3 what s your favorite kind of silence? #introvertpickuplines I m going to back away slowly and wordlessly, and if you like me you will probably follow #introvertpickuplines Twitter is also a platform on which it s helpful to engage with other users. You can do this in a few ways. You might reply to a tweet but clicking on the arrow. When you reply to a tweet, the user to whom your replying will have their handle in the tweet you re writing. For example, I could hit reply and write the following Big Bird, you missed a really beautiful meteor shower! You might retweet another user s work (in doing so, you would directly quote that person s tweet. The retweet button is center one that looks like two arrows in a circle. The user who is viewing Sesame Street s twitter above has already retweeted Sesame Street s tweet. You might favorite a tweet by clicking on the star. The user above has already favorited Sesame Street s tweet. A favorite on Twitter is similar to a like on Facebook. You can also write a tweet directly addressing another user. For what are some of your favorite #introvertpickuplines? You may of heard about topics that are trending on Twitter. To get a topic trending on twitter, you need a lot of people to tweet using the same hashtag. Some strategies to do this include publicizing in advance that there will be a twitter chat involving a particular hashtag at a particular time. (eg. brainstorm #introvertpickuplines with us Feb 14th 2-3pm <3!). In order to get a lot of engagement on a hashtag, it s helpful to tweet at, reply to, and retweet other users tweets in the same hashtag. You don t have to retweet things you don t endorse, of course, but boosting one another s content is a simple way to build camaraderie and improve viewership on twitter. It s also likely that if you retweet other people s content, they will retweet yours, and your content will be seen by more people and hopefully you ll get more followers also! 3

4 Users can also send and receive direct messages on Twitter, as long as you both follow each other. Direct messages are like and can t be seen by other users. Instagram: Most social media platforms (including Facebook and Twitter) can be used on both web and mobile apps. Instagram is primarily used on mobile, however. Instagram is a platform where you can upload photos and use filters that adjust the color and light in those photos before you post them. You can also post captions, comment on your photo and others, and tag other people in your photos. On Instagram you can follow other people s feeds and other people can follow yours. You can also upload and share videos. Like twitter on Instagram you have both a handle and a username. For example, my username might be Rohini Patel and my handle might It s best to think of Instagram like a virtual photo album. The photos don t have to be perfect it s better if they arent. It s a good place to place candids, images of in- progress work & fliers, and humorous or quirky content. Instagram helps build the visual character of your organization and/or work. You can also send direct messages on Instagram with photo or video content attached. Tumblr: Tumblr is a social blogging platform. Even if your organization already have a website or blog (on wordpress, or another platform), it can be useful to have a Tumblr also. On Tumblr everyone has a blog title and a tumblr url. For example my blog title might be Lovey Dovey Blog and my url might be You can also use an external hosting service (such as 1&1 or Bluehost) to host your own domain name, so your tumblr would link to a regular url like Tumblr has a number of different themes, or designs for their sites. Some of them free, and some designs cost money to use. They have site designs for almost every applications: designs that are appropriate for text/writing blogs, photo- heavy sites, newspapers, zines, organizations and more. Play around with them! You can adjust the color, text, header, and more once you choose a design. You can post content on tumblr in the form of text, videos, links, quotes, photos, and a combination of the above. Think of it as your sock drawer you can put a lot in it and the order isn t necessarily important, but you still want to have good content. It s also a great place to 4

5 share blog posts from your website and screenshots from other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr is a social platform because it s super easy for others to reblog and like your content. You can also easily reblog others content. When you reblog, you can add your own comments and content to the original content. The more reblogs your post gets, the more times it is viewed. Getting reblogs and engaging with other users on Tumblr is also how you acquire more followers. Tumblr has a robust direct messaging feature, and you can add an ask me or talk to me page on your Tumblr site. This may be less useful to your organization if you don t have a lot of time or people to answer direct messages, but it s sometimes a useful way to build Tumblr community. 10 Tips & Tricks There are a lot of different social media platforms, but a few tricks hold true across all of them that enable you to use them effectively meaning, you can reach more people, build your online network, and spread your message more widely. Here are a few! 1. Likes, comments, & shares Content that gets a lot of likes, comments, favorite, reblogs, and shares tend to be viewed by more people. It s not just because sharing content widely gets more networks connected to it it s also because algorithmically, social media platforms will bump up content that a lot of people like and enage with. Try to post content that will enage and excite your audience (eg questions and photos/videos), not just plain text. 2. Photos & Videos People are more likely to like and share photos and videos, so take and post more of them! It s even useful to post photos and append links to where those photos come from, rather than just post the link directly. Keep videos short and easy to understand, and make sure photos are of the appropriate size for the platform you re using. 3. Consistency People are more likely to trust your social media and engage with it if you post consistently. That means not just posting when you have a big event or action. Try to post content that excites you in the times in between major happenings. Let your audience know what you ve been up to, and post content that excites you whenever you can. 5

6 4. Scheduling Pre- scheduling content helps you post more consistently. You can add multiple posts to queue on Facebook and Tumblr. You can also use apps like Buffer and HootSuite to pre- schedule posts on multiple platforms. 5. Cross- Post It s helpful to post the same content (in different formats/ways) across multiple platforms to have maximum reach. It s also useful to link to posts on Facebook on Twitter, for example. That way, you can gather followers from one platform to follow you on another. 6. Hashtags Hashtags aren t limited to Twitter. You can also use hashtags on Facebook and Instagram, and you can tag posts with hashtags on Tumblr. Hashtags are an easy way to mark that your content fits under a particular topic or conversation. Creating hashtags for specific campaigns is an effective way to build online buzz. 7. Pinned Posts and Bios You can pin posts to the top of a page or event on Twitter and Facebook. You can also put links and other information in your bio on most platforms. Use that space to let folks know about important things coming up, petitions they might sign, or other relevant, upcoming info. 8. Tag and Share Others Content Tagging and sharing other organizations and people s work helps build your online community. And they ll be more likely to promote yours! 9. Links to Feeds When you re making your website, make sure your social media feed links are prominent and clear. You might even consider posting a live- updated mini- feed in a sidebar on your website. And remember to put those links and handles on your business cards, brochures, and other promotional material 10. Have fun! J Social media is ultimately about showcasing the personality of your people and organization. Don t stress too much about it just post and enjoy. 6

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