Topics: Advocacy, Public Affairs, Testing

Tips for Political Advocacy in the Digital Age

Petition drives, calling campaigns to office holders, sending letters to the editor and op-eds to local papers, even protests… for decades, these have been among the standard go-to actions for groups advocating for law or policy changes.

And today – in an age when we manage so much of our daily lives online – it is equally critical to develop smart digital strategies to identify, engage, and mobilize supporters to a cause.

At The Prosper Group, we’ve become experts in honing successful tactics to deliver compelling messaging points, grow constituencies, and turn grassroots support into online action, to reach leaders and impact public policy debates.

Many of the tactics we employ revolve around getting citizens to email their legislators, call them, or engage them via social media (i.e. Tweet at them or post on their Facebook pages). They are fairly simple concepts, but require time, patience, and perseverance to optimize for maximum impact.

Here are four quick tips I’d like to share based on our experience in engaging and mobilizing supporters via online advocacy campaigns:

1. Think About Your Target Demographic
Say you’re working to defeat a tax increase proposal before a state legislature. Who will be hit the hardest? How will they be impacted? What can they DO to stop this tax increase from hitting them in the pocketbook? Putting time and thought into these questions will help guide smart and effective segmentation and online targeting, allowing you to reach those most receptive to your message and effectively engage them on the issue.

2. Create a Strong Call to Action and TEST IT
Determining your most effective call to action is critical to digital advocacy success. Develop multiple calls to action, and test them to see how they perform. Your copy and imagery should build a compelling case and create a sense of urgency, and you should explain how the proposed action you’re urging individuals to take will make an impact in your campaign.

3. Build and Utilize Your Email Housefile
Do all you can to capture the email addresses of individuals who choose to take an action. These folks will make up your most engaged audience, and with a direct avenue to reach them you can provide timely issue updates, encourage them to take additional actions, and ask them to share information on your cause with their family and friends. This is how you create real activists versus one-and-done concerned citizens.

4. Don’t Forget About Organic!
One phenomenon we’ve consistently observed is a high level of engagement (comments, likes, and shares) with our paid advertising content on Facebook, especially on hot button issues. Today, when we develop comprehensive plans for advocacy clients, we make sure to include a robust plan for organic social media content. It’s an extremely low cost way to complement paid efforts, to drive actions and build critical mass.

Want to learn more about our strategies for success in online advocacy, and how The Prosper Group can help advance your cause? Contact us today.

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