Influencing Government Policy: Leveraging social media in lobbying politicians: the platforms, technology and winning strategies
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Influencing Government Policy: Leveraging social media in lobbying politicians: the platforms, technology and winning strategies

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Christian Graham, Publishing & New Media Manager, Friends of the Earth...

Christian Graham, Publishing & New Media Manager, Friends of the Earth

Richard Hines, Individual Activism Coordinator, Friends of the Earth

Hear from Friends of the Earth about how digital campaigning has been used to influence governments in the Join the MOOvement campaign, Copenhagen climate talks and the General election last year.

Learn from leading practice how to mobilise your supporters and followers in lobbying politicians and government through digital and social media

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  • [chris] 7 weird social media tips for influence. Politicians will rarely listen to us – on our own. But they will listen to their constituents, celebs, business peeps, the media and other politicians (mostly). So most of what we do is about influence by proxy. We ask others to help us convince politicians that something is a good idea. http://www.flickr.com/photos/spilt-milk/357016203/
  • [chris] And that’s what Tip 1. Partner for success is about. We can’t do it alone – so we look for partners. Some like celebs have a big fan base. Some are even friendly politicians which are happy to help convince their colleagues. Still others –like the media and social media companies like YouTube often have access to tools or audiences that we don’t have. But matching the partner to the right campaign is crucial. Be like the flower and the bee - think win, win. Thom Yorke for the Big Ask – and helped us get leading politicians and celebs to a exclusive music gig – the Big Ask Live. David Cameron came along. Later, David Cameron’s support helped get the Climate Bill in the Queen’s speech. *** Our partnership with YouTube got us 1m views of one of our videos when they featured one of our films on their home page. *** The list goes on. http://www.flickr.com/photos/aussiegall/2088034431/in/photostream/
  • [chris] Social media can be a big time sucker. You can’t do it all. We first realised this a couple of years ago when one of our videos got 500,000 views (and 2000 comments) over a weekend. It was no longer possible to keep up with the comments etc. We quickly had to exterminate the task of looking after comments so we left it to the community. So we say you should concentrate on the tasks that have the most influence. Sometimes this means you want your social media channels just ticking over while you concentrate on something else. So when it came to setting up and running a twitter account – we immediately looked at automation and its first cousin – batching of repetitive tasks. We automatically post all of our regular news updates from our blogs etc using tools like feedburner. We use Cotweet to schedule tweets over weekends etc. This gives us time to focus on the 1:1 relationships that make the difference. And Rich is going to talk a little about this. http://www.flickr.com/photos/31112252@N00/5331464137/in/photostream/
  • [rich] Don’t just think of your social media channels as a place to broadcast your mass actions. A crucial moment of our Food chain campaign came shortly after the announcement of the result of the private members bill ballot. What’s a private members bill? Basically, a select number of MPs can the chance to put a bill before Parliament. Two MPs in the Stoke on Trent area were selected in the draw. So we tweeted for help in the Potteries. Astonishingly – an ex-employee of a Potteries MP said he’d try and persuade his ex-boss Rob Flello to adopt the Bill. And quite soon afterwards, Rob did. Later, we asked Rob to be the voice of the campaign. He produced videos and wrote emails to them. Rob’s support was a major factor in convincing some of our more sceptical staff that twitter could be really useful in our campaigning. You can also use your social media channels to crowdsource ideas for new kinds of actions. During the general election, we asked blog readers for help visualising the numbers of MPs who had signed our green pledge. One came up with the idea of a balloon based photo stunt. The end result was that the stunt got us featured throughout the media the next day. How can you make a start? Tools like Sparked.com are great at helping you harness specialist volunteer expertise. Some of the images in this presentation have been found by volunteers at Sparked. But if you don’t have access to this – just pop the question out to your followers, fans and email subscribers. Ask for help – you don’t know who’s out there. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bixentro/2370399969/
  • [rich] One of our goals is to make taking action to support our work as normal as brushing your teeth. We want to make taking action a everyday habit. Well almost. How do we do this? We post about ordinary people doing cool stuff to support our campaign. For example, we’ve often featured supporters in videos – notably for Climate Act campaign or in blog posts if they’ve come up with a creative tactic to support our campaign. One librarian handed out postcards in their local library so we ran a mini-interview with them. [show climate act video] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56fvtM-Df6k Make them feel special by doing mini-interviews. Retweet those who have posted about taking action. Make it easy to tell their friends they’ve supported your campaign. Make taking action seem normal so others will also take action. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rvoegtli/4982791906/
  • [chris] If you see a good idea – borrow it. No, scratch that – I think you should blatantly steal it. Look to the US – they are often a year or so ahead of us. Look to the commercial sector – they are too. Finally, if all else fails, you can even look at what other charities are doing. Other the years, we’ve recycled, reused or resampled more ideas than we can count. For example, one of my hobbies is writing. I was struck by the success that some authors were having with promoting their books with competitions and giveaways. They not only raised awareness of their book, they also generated a valuable email list of people who were interested in their kind of writing. Others were being very canny by giving away goodies before their book launched. So we borrowed this idea. For our recent cycling fundraising challenge, we ran a cycling themed competition ahead of the actual ride launch. We now have a list of 25K people who we know have some interest in cycling who can talk to our ride about over the coming year. Encourage successful ideas by copying them. http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasukaru76/4350792315/
  • [chris] Not every idea is going to be a good one. You are going to make mistakes. We’ve made plenty. Maybe we’ll tell you about them someday. The important thing is to learn from them and keep testing. Turn failures on their head and create policies and guidance so others don’t repeat your mistakes. Look to tools like Google analytics to help you distinguish reality from what you’d wish had happened. One surprising learning for us – hundreds of thousands of video views doesn’t translate to meaningful levels of action. We’re cool with this – it’s a great awareness raising tool and can generate some fantastic PR (eg a video featuring Morph got us into the Sun). But perhaps we don’t worry so much about using it to drive traffic to a specific lobbying action anymore. But once you find something that works – keep flogging it or spin into new forms. I guarantee you will get bored of doing it before your audience does. Now over to Rich for our final tip. http://www.flickr.com/photos/telachhe/3342173731/in/photostream/
  • [rich] It ain’t about how many fans you’ve got on facebook, views on YouTube or followers on Twitter. It’s about action and influence. That means social media is only a small part of the picture. Keep it in its box. Most of our online action still comes via our email lists. Also many politicians or others you’d seek to influence don’t get email or social media in either the figurative and literal sense. An awful lot of our wins come from face to face lobbying – from people like you and me door stepping their MP in their office, or calling or writing. In the end – you probably need to run an integrated campaign incorporating on and offline tools and tactics. http://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/3401684162/
  • [show video] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRt4lEXkDJs

Influencing Government Policy: Leveraging social media in lobbying politicians: the platforms, technology and winning strategies Influencing Government Policy: Leveraging social media in lobbying politicians: the platforms, technology and winning strategies Presentation Transcript

  • weird social media tips for influence
  • 1. Partner for success
  • 2. Exterminate what you can
  • 3. Ask for help
  • 4. Make action normal
  • 5. Copy genius
  • 6. Failure is good
  • 7. Be anti-social
  • Thank you PS. Shout out to @thaumata for some of the pics [email_address] [email_address]