Social Media Samples

How to Engage Your Community with Facebook and Twitter

Once you’ve mastered your key messages and 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 variety of people? Social media is a great place to start. With just a few clicks, you can access the audience you want to engage, 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 start to show their 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.

Did you know that 1/3 of children are at an unhealthy weight putting them at increased risk for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes? Now is the time to work together on a solution. Let’s encourage our children to adopt healthy nutrition and physical activity habits at school. Learn how you can get involved. [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]

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

Does your school district have a local wellness policy? Raise Your Hand and find out how your child’s school can support and cultivate healthy habits for all children in your community. [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]

Did you know kids perform better academically when they receive proper nutrition and are physically active? It’s a fact. Let’s make sure our students get the opportunity to be active and eat nutritious food during the school day. Raise Your Hand and get involved in your local community. Learn more here: [LINK TO ORGANIZATION’S SITE]

This is an example of a lobbying message. You can use lobbying messages to ask people to urge their legislator to vote for or against bills. The small amount of staff time used for a lobbying message (and any expenses to promote the post) must be paid for with lobbying funds. Note: Whether a social media message is lobbying will depend on whether a legislator is named or tagged, and what “call to action” you include in the post.

We have the opportunity to improve test scores and the health of kids throughout [STATE]. Tell your state senator to pass the Smart Food, Healthy Kids Act. [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]

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; using others’ material could cause copyright problems.
    • If you film or photograph members in your community, make sure you ask for permission and get a signed waver 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.
    • Use images that look like your students and community members.
  • 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.
  • Personalize the posts by using facts specifically about your schools and communities instead of general facts.

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

1/3 of kids are at an unhealthy weight. Learn how you can help: [LINK TO MORE INFORMATION] #RaiseYourHand

Hashtags (#) are used to tag keywords in your messages. This can help spark engagement with other Twitter users talking about similar topics. You can also consider adding a hashtag that is used in your community or specific to your local efforts.

Do you support proper nutrition and physical activity for #students in #school? Why you should get on board FAST: [LINK TO MORE INFORMATION] #SchoolWellness [#LOCAL HASHTAG]

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

#SchoolWellness policies can help schools in #lowincome neighborhoods put kids’ health first: [LINK TO MORE INFORMATION]

#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 that physical activity and good nutrition habits help kids perform better in school? #SchoolWellness [LINK TO MORE INFORMATION]

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 importance of physical activity and proper nutrition in schools was so informative! Thanks for sharing. #SchoolWellness

If there is a bill you want to see passed concerning this issue, engage your legislators 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, because using the legislator’s Twitter handle makes it a direct communication to that person.

.@[LEGISLATOR] Active #children become #healthy adults. Support your school’s local wellness policy! It’s better for everyone: [LINK]

Additional Notes for Twitter

  • Consider starting a hashtag for your campaign. This way, supporters, media, legislators, and all other audiences can easily follow along on your online journey.
  • Remember that links take up space! If you want to track how many times people have clicked on your link, you can use a service like bitly.com. Otherwise, Twitter will automatically shorten your link via its own shortening service, making the link count for 23 characters.
  • The good news is that media assets like photos, GIFs, polls, videos, and quoted tweets no longer count toward your 140-character limit.
  • Recently, Twitter announced that usernames will no longer count toward the 140-character limit.