High Impact eAdvocacy and Social Media

This training teaches essential processes and strategies for getting the most out of various online channels. These processes include:

  • Audience Assessment: Organizations must assess whether they really know who they are talking to online. First and foremost, web traffic must be assessed using a tool such as Google Analytics to measure numbers of visits, pages viewed, popular search keywords and referring pages that drive traffic to the site. In addition, more experienced participants can track which mailing list segments drive traffic to the web site, as well as any traffic coming from social media efforts.

    Other forms of audience assessment include tracking which and how many recipients are opening email messages and clicking on links embedded in those messages. Which and how many users are following on Facebook, Twitter, and social networks are also worth tracking for trends and patterns. Finally, those who comment on and subscribe to any organizational blog are a very strategic audience to understand and track.
  • Publishing Matrix: Very few organizations have an intentional model for when to use specific online tools for specific purposes, or how to coordinate their use of different online channels to greater effect. A “publishing matrix” offers an integrated way for deciding which messages go to which online channels: what's tweet-worthy, what is “just” web content. Cohort participants create a matrix for their online efforts, based on the following explicit steps.

    As an example of this process in practice, refer to the Aspiration publishing matrix.
  • Message Calendaring: Most organizations campaigning online have short messaging horizons; it's the exception when an organization has planned out message content more than several weeks in advance. This represents a missed opportunity, as the most impactful online communication follows narrative arcs, with senders intentionally weaving recipients into the story line and narrative of campaigns and programs.
  • Social Media “Dashboarding”: Using free or low-cost online tools to track where an organization, its issues, and key stakeholders are being mentioned online, from Twitter to blogs to random web sites. Examples of these tools include iGoogle, NetVibes, Radian6, and Filtrbox, and span a range of price points. Dashboards track strategic keywords and tags to assess both whether outbound messaging propagating as well as whether others are mentioning the organization and its work. A specific use case of such dashboards is to receive prompt notification when an organization is mentioned in a blog post or comment, to enable program staff to add appropriate responses or appreciations for the mention in a timely fashion.

The training presents these processes in the context of an overall model for high-impact online advocacy and social media engagement.

These materials are distributed under a Creative Commons license, and we encourage re-use, modification, and re-distribution in any situation where they may be useful.

  • Training Overview
    Provides the framework and expectations for the overall training including limitations of online organizing and organization-specific outcomes.
  • eCampaigning Roadmap
    Looking at the broader organizational process of eCampaigning and developing an online strategy.
  • Best Practice Processes
    Reviewing the processes for online activities including identifying online audiences and being aware of an organization's data.
  • Spectrums of Engagement
    Examining the different online communications channels through different spectrums comparing them to one another in terms of voice, time, message matching, etc.
  • Publishing Matrix and Publishing Matrix Templates
    Templates for creating a simple grid that establishes an organizational process around using different online channels in an overall online communications strategy.
  • Message Calendaring
    Scheduling out a campaign's messaging, establishing a narrative arc and timing for each send.
  • "Web 2.0"
    Examining the extended functionality of newer web technologies including tags, badges and widgets.
  • Email Best Practices
    Maximizing the impact of an email blast through the design of the message, placement of the "ask" and overall structure of the message.
  • Blogging
    Understanding the value of using a blog for online communication including advantages of conversational functionality and RSS basics.
  • Social Networks
    Looking at different social networks as communication platforms and how they differ from one another.
  • Mobile Advocacy
    A baisc overview to the possibilities of SMS and mobile platforms for social action.
  • Social Media Dashboard
    Tracking what is being said about your organization on social media through RSS.

Gunner and the Aspiration team have been an incredible inspiration and resource for us at OpenNews. Our organization would not be the same without the open approach that Aspiration and Gunner model so well, and their ongoing coaching and support as our programs evolve. Thanks!

Erika Owens, OpenNews
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