Social Media Samples

How to Engage Your Community with Facebook and Twitter

Now that you’re mastering the key messages and have 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 diverse, influential audiences? Social media is a great place to start. With just a few clicks, you can access the right people, 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 show support.

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 more than four million miles of public streets stretch across the United States? The majority of these were built for vehicles and aren’t safe for other kinds of transportation such as walking and biking. Learn how you can help change this and create more streets built to share™: [LINK TO ORGANIZATION WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION TO TAKE ACTION]
  • Walk outside your home and take a look around. Do you see a sidewalk? Do you see a bike lane? How can we be expected to get the recommended amount of daily physical activity if our neighborhood streets aren’t safe? Complete streets can help!Act now to create a safer, healthier environment in our town: [LINK TO ORGANIZATION WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION TO TAKE ACTION]

This is an example of a lobbying message. You can use lobbying messages when there is a bill related to your cause, like regulating vending machine options, or if it refers to a specific law or program in another state.

  • Across the country, Americans aren’t getting enough exercise due, in part, to the lack of safe sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks needed in towns like ours. We can help make streets shareable for walkers, bikers, and vehicles by bringing complete streets to [CITY]. Tell [LAWMAKER’S NAME] we need streets built to share™. [INSERT LINK TO WEBSITE].
  • Each year, more than 4,000 pedestrians die in traffic crashes, and 7% of those fatalities are of children age 15 and younger. By providing areas to walk, roll, or bike that are safely separated from vehicles, complete streets could help prevent up to 9 out of 10 crashes that occur alongside roadways. Learn how we can make streets built to share™ by visiting [LINK TO ORGANIZATION WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION TO TAKE ACTION]
  • Our low-income communities and communities of color often lack well-maintained routes to parks and schools, leaving kids and parents who rely on walking, biking, or public transit with unsafe options to get around. These same neighborhoods often experience higher rates of chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. All kids deserve the option of being physically active in their town. It’s time we create streets built to share™. [LINK TO WEBSITE 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:
    • se your own images, videos, and graphics.
    • If you film or photograph members in your community, make sure you ask for permission 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.
  • 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.

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

  • #DYK 75% of teens aren’t getting enough physical activity? Here’s how to help: [LINK] #streetsbuilttoshare

Hashtags (#) are used to tag key words in your messages. #DYK, short for “did you know,” is one way you can leverage a popular hashtag to share powerful facts or statistics about your issue. This can help spark engagement with other Twitter users talking about similar topics.

  • Streets should be safe for all by including sidewalks, crosswalks, & bike lanes. Learn how you can help: [LINK] #streetsbuilttoshare

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

  • Give everyone in [STATE ABBREVIATION] the option to choose how they get around town! Visit [LINK] to learn how we can make #streetsbuilttoshare
  • #DYK Unsafe roads are often the main reason people aren’t active enough? Let’s make #streetsbuilttoshare.

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 impact of bike lanes on obesity rates was so informative! Thanks for sharing. #streetsbuilttoshare

If there is a bill you want to see passed concerning this issue, engage your policymakers 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.

  • Will @[INSERT LAWMAKER’S TWITTER HANDLE] support complete streets that allow everyone to feel safe when they’re traveling—on foot and in cars? Let’s make #streetsbuilttoshare
  • #streetsbuilttoshare can connect our neighborhood and make it more lively – as long as everyone can get around safely. Learn more: [LINK]

Additional Notes for Twitter

  • Full web links take up space! You can shorten links by using bit.ly.com, a shortening tool that also tracks how many times people have clicked on your link.
  • Consider starting a hashtag for your campaign. This way, supporters, media, legislators, and all other audiences can easily follow along on your online journey.