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 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 nearly 2/3 of SNAP participants are children, elderly and people with disabilities? SNAP incentive programs help those in need by reducing food insecurity. Learn more here: [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • SNAP incentives can increase spending on fruits and vegetables in grocery stores. In fact, every $5 spent using SNAP generates as much as $9 in economic activity. [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 [TOWN or COUNTY or STATE] support SNAP incentive programs? Discover how you can advocate for families and individuals in your community who need greater access to healthy foods: [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]
  • Did you know that every $1 billion of SNAP benefits also creates 8,900 – 17,900 full-time jobs? It’s a fact. Let’s make sure that our economy can thrive by advocating for these important incentives: [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 boost local economies and reduce food insecurity throughout [STATE]. Tell your state senator to implement and fund SNAP incentive programs for a stronger [STATE][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:
    • You can use the sample Facebook graphics included in this toolkit, but keep in mind that using the materials of others could cause copyright issues, so try to capture you own images, videos, and graphics as well.
    • If you film or photograph members in your community, make sure you ask for permission and get a signed waiver 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 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 community instead of general facts.

Twitter

Twitter is a powerful platform because it uses short and informative messages, 280 characters each, to reach journalists, bloggers, news outlets, policymakers, parents, teachers, and other key stakeholders in your local community.

Sample Posts for Twitter

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.

  • Does your [COUNTY or STATE] support #SNAP incentive programs? Discover how you can advocate for better food access in your community: [LINK TO MORE INFORMATION] #SNAPincentives [#LOCAL HASHTAG]

You can use short phrases or stats, like this one, to make people eager to learn more.

  • Nearly 2/3 of #SNAP participants are children, elderly & people with disabilities. Learn how you can help these populations in need get greater access to healthier foods: [LINK TO MORE INFORMATION] #SNAPincentives
  • #SNAPincentives can increase spending on fruits & vegetables in grocery stores. In fact, every $5 spent using #SNAP generates up to $9 in economic activity. [IMAGE/GRAPHIC] [LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION]

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

  • #SNAPincentives can help families in #lowincome neighborhoods and boost local economies: [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 44% of #SNAP participants are children? Learn why #SNAPincentives are so important: [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 #SNAP incentive programs was so informative! Thanks for sharing. #SNAPincentives

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] Every child deserves a #healthy start. Support #SNAP incentive programs to help families in [STATE/COUNTY] provide nutritious meals for their kids: [LINK] #SNAPincentives

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 280-character limit.
  • Additionally, usernames no longer count toward the 280-character limit.