A very quick, off the cuff post from some thoughts in my head
1) Timing is everything
The very nature of social media means that everything is speeding up. The pace of information, the rate at which we receive news, the very lifespan of events, information, stories – all occurring faster.
For the use of social media, this thing means one thing, you have to keep using it regularly. If your Twitter account or Facebook page goes quiet for a week, two weeks, a month – then essentially it becomes useless to your campaign. People make the assumption that it is no longer current and then finally they just forget you. The key lesson here is post every day even if it’s just once a day on Facebook, or maybe a few times on Twitter. Whatever you do post every day with strong content.
2) Left wing campaigns do not run like marketing campaigns.
There’s a mountain of books, papers and advice out there about how to run your business using social media. Some of its useful, some of its rubbish. However one thing is the definite – if you’re using social media for a left-wing campaign then dynamic is different.
Yes, it’s about getting people to look at your account. However that’s what similarity ends. Companies want you to positively buy into something to take one action – buying the product, using the service. Campaigns are slightly different in; we want people to take a step not just in buying into the campaign and also buying into the ideas of action beyond the moment of buying in. We want people to access our campaign, then become part of the campaign, and then take action around the campaign. We often ask people to take actions the go against the norms they are used to – going on a demo, going on strike. You have to take this into account in how you pitch things on social media.
3) All of your posts must reflect anger, hope, action.
It’s what mobilises people into political action. Anger/injustice mobilises. Hope sustains. Action frames your strategy and tactics. Every post or tweet should reflect one of these elements. Without them they become just info and opinion. We don’t want just to inform. We should be seeking to get people off their sofas and into action fuelled by hope, anger and a burning sense of injustice.
That doesn’t occur spontaneously – part of social medias role is to help build and amplify that anger.
4) Never pass up an opportunity to blame your opponent
Anger isn’t enough. Blame sustains campaigns. However if your tweets and posts blame “the system” or “capitalism” it won’t mobilise great numbers of people. They are too big and vague concepts for people to feel direct anger at. The system needs a face. So use your posts to point the finger – blame Gove, blame Cameron, create hash tags which point the finger of blame.
5) Statistics and logic don’t get people active
….but values do. People make snap judgements about tweets and posts based on how they make them feel. Emotions – anger, hope,happiness, humour, grief, rage. If your tweets are nothing but facts, figures and graphs people will switch off from them. Instead talk about right and wrong, the values of your campaign. Use stats to illustrate your values and why you are fighting. Don’t bore people with numbers, enthuse them with the ideals your campaign embodies.