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Social Media Guide - American Dental Association

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  • 1. 1 Social Media Guide Online Strategies for State Public Affairs Programs
  • 2. 2 Table of Contents Executive Summary ............................................................................................................................. 3 The Case for Social Media ................................................................................................................... 7 Landscape ................................................................................................................................................ 7 Effective Digital Plans .......................................................................................................................... 8 Developing a Social Media Plan .............................................................................................................. 8 Recommended Tools and Channels ...................................................................................................... 10 Effective Measurement ......................................................................................................................... 11 Case Studies: Lessons Learned .......................................................................................................... 12 National, State and Local Advocacy Campaigns.................................................................................... 12 State Dental Associations ...................................................................................................................... 15 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................ 18 Appendices ....................................................................................................................................... 19 1. State Legislatures: Social Media Sites ............................................................................................... 19 2. Channel-based Tactics ....................................................................................................................... 25 S
  • 3. 3 Executive Summary Social media is widely-acknowledged to be useful to state dental associations. The key question is: how useful? What can you reasonably expect in terms of results and benefits, and for what investment of time and effort? This Social Media Guide helps answer these and other fundamental questions about online engagement, such as:     Who is influenced by social media? What tools can state dental associations use for effective online engagement? When is social media most effective? How do you develop a comprehensive social media plan? The guide provides background on the social media landscape, a summary of lessons learned and best practices and information on key tools to help state dental associations develop and expand on their social media strategy. It also includes select case studies of national, state and local organizations that have used social media for advocacy work. Several states in the ADA’s State Public Affairs program have, in some form or another, already incorporated social media into their communications and public affairs programs to advance the issues most important to them. We surveyed a few of these states on their efforts and highlight these findings in the “Case Studies” section. While each state had its differences, a few recurring themes resonated throughout: finding the time to fully integrate social media into current plans was an ongoing challenge, as well as being able to effectively gauge the success of online efforts quantitatively. These are challenges faced by most organizations and we touch on timing later in this section and metrics in the “Effective Measurement” section of this guide. Altogether, these chapters are designed to help you think through your own needs and the possibilities for integrating social media into your larger public affairs program. What is Social Media? “Social media” describes the online tools that people use to share content, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and news, thus facilitating conversations and interaction online among networks of people. Social media can be useful to state dental associations because your key audiences are already operating online. As you will see in Appendix 1 of this document, state legislators, as well as health community stakeholders and media, to name just a few, are using social media and finding it to be an effective way to engage and motivate audiences. S
  • 4. 4 Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are three of the most dominant channels in the social media arena, each with specific components that can bolster your overall public affairs program, as well as enhance issue-specific campaigns.  Facebook allows you to set up a profile of your organization, and post content such as updates, links, conversations, events, photos, videos, and petitions. Users who choose to “like” your organization can see updates and can get involved in discussions with other supporters. Facebook can be particularly good at increasing the level of feedback and discussion you have with supporters, driving traffic to your website, and attracting people to specific events. It’s likely to take about 30 minutes a day to manage your Facebook account to get the best results from Facebook, though a state dental association may still get useful results with less of an investment.  Twitter lets you send out a stream of short messages called “tweets”—for instance, updates about specific policy positions or links to resources of interest. People can choose to “follow” your tweets, and if they particularly like one they can “retweet” it (post it again so their own followers see it), which can exponentially increase the audience that sees your information. While the 140-character limit per post does not allow for substantive conversation (Twitter does allow for links to more expansive content), Twitter is particularly good for connecting with like-minded organizations and the media, asking questions and providing very frequent updates. Expect to devote about 15-30 minutes a day to manage a Twitter feed, but the time investment could be less depending on the program you structure.  Video and picture sharing websites like YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr allow you to display and build a community around your creative content. YouTube and Vimeo host videos, while Flickr permits users to store and share photos. These tools create interesting social possibilities, such as encouraging conversation about videos and images, spreading your message widely through particularly compelling videos or pictures, or even asking supporters to submit their own content. The primary time consideration with these sites is the time it takes to create the content and post it online. These social media activities can be incorporated into (and help to support) your existing external communications activities, such as direct mail, email, phone calls, events and meetings. This guide lays out the steps necessary to build a solid social media strategy, identifying the places where it can integrate with offline activities to be most effective. S
  • 5. 5 What Can Social Media Do for You? Social media will help state dental associations educate key audiences, allow them to quickly respond to attacks, and most importantly, shape local and state issues. We propose four strategic scenarios that state dental associations might consider when deciding how to use social media.  Thought Leadership: It is important that state dental associations and their leadership are seen as a key resource, not only for the oral health community, but for legislators, media, industry stakeholders, and the general public. Social media can help state dental associations develop and bolster thought leadership by: o Sharing ideas; o Reinforcing view points; and o Expressing opinions.  Issue Advocacy/Legislation: Social media can be a resource to engage grassroots advocates and gain the attention of policymakers and elected officials; and, coupled with outreach to traditional media and face-to-face communication with target audiences, social media can often give the additional “boost” necessary to move the dial on important issues. Online channels can: o Quickly engage supporters; o Push your position into the spotlight; and o Shape the online issues environment - particularly against adversaries.  Coalition Building: In order to shape the outcome of complex issues, organizations often need to recruit “followers” through partnerships with like-minded, diverse groups to build effective policy change movements. Coalitions provide additional voices and lend credibility to policy focused campaigns. Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter allow you to: o Easily facilitate relationships with outside groups; o Actively collaborate on advocacy efforts; o Effectively extend the reach of your following and supporters; and o Publicly demonstrate the interest amongst various organizations - as well as each of their networks of supporters – toward a specific policy goal.  Crisis Management: Good news travels fast online, but bad news travels even faster. The integration of social media channels increases the speed at which negative stories spread – and are commented on. When a crisis breaks an active social media program allows you to: o Instantly push out your message; o Respond to critics; and o Gauge general opinion. S
  • 6. 6 How to Implement Your Social Media Program It is important to consider who is going to help implement your digital program. In some cases, state dental associations have internal staff that take on and carry out these responsibilities. Others bring in outside agencies. If you decide to hire an outside agency, you will most likely chose between a traditional public affairs/public relations agency and one that specializes in digital media. Each brings its own set of expertise for you to consider. A public affairs firm that has a digital practice may be better suited to understand your policy issues and help you figure out the right ways to amplify them in the digital space. A solely digital firm may have better analytical tools and research capabilities, which are necessary if you want to uncover new audiences or target very narrowly. To judge the best agency fit for your needs, consider a combination of prior experience and successes in the digital (and public affairs) space, their creative ideas to promote your public affairs program, and very importantly, your comfort and chemistry with the proposed team. Whether you hire an outside agency or have the in-house capacity to manage a social media program, the person or team in charge should be able to devote between five to ten hours a week to this work on average. Frequency of engagement with your followers and social networks is critical as the provision of fresh information every few days is the key to effective engagement with interested parties and allies online. Whether you choose to use internal resources or allocate online responsibilities to an outside consultant, one thing will remain true: you get out of it what you invest – and it’s an investment important to the effectiveness of your public affairs program. No matter who will implement the social media aspects of your public affairs program, you should have an idea of how they will do it, and be aware of the options and tactics that work. In Appendix 2 we have developed a chart that offers several tactical ideas for utilizing social media based on the four scenarios previously mentioned: thought leadership, issue advocacy, coalition building, and crisis management. While these suggestions are not exhaustive, they should help guide the variety of ways in which a state dental association might use social media channels to connect with key audiences. S
  • 7. 7 The Case for Social Media Social Media Landscape Social media consumption has risen exponentially over the past several years. Today, Twitter users post 65 million messages per day. Facebook’s membership has topped 500 million people and, according to comScore, U.S. users spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook in August 2010, surpassing Google for the first time in history. In addition, more than 80 percent of Americans who go on the Internet watch videos while they’re there, mostly on YouTube, the world’s largest destination for online videos. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the most widely recognized names of the digital media arena – and for good reason. According to a 2010 Nielson study, Facebook reaches 56 percent of active U.S. Internet users, and Twitter has grown over 500 percent year after year. Every minute, more than 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 51 percent of users visit YouTube at least once per week. Statistics like these make it clear that these channels stand out from the others. These statistics may also seem overwhelming, suggesting that content pushed out by state dental associations will get lost in a web of constantly evolving online content. However, each of these channels provides tools specifically developed to target niche audiences and, in some cases, have applications geared directly at grassroots public affairs outreach. A 2010 study conducted by Burson-Marsteller found that 33 out of 34 U.S.-based advocacy groups examined use at least one social media channel to engage their stakeholders. Most of the nation's most influential advocacy groups, including the National Rifle Association, AARP and MoveOn.org, have embraced social media to reach, organize and mobilize their supporters to influence federal legislation and regulation. S
  • 8. 8 Effective Digital Plans Developing a Social Media Plan  Like any traditional media or communications tool, you must be clear about the goals you want to accomplish, concise messages you want to deliver, and targeted audiences you want to engage. Digital strategies will vary across state dental associations, but consider the step-by-step process demonstrated below to ensure a comprehensive and effective plan.       Step 1: Set the goal. A state dental association’s goal could be affecting legislation and/or regulation, building a base of supporters for long-term grassroots action, or influencing the broader public policy discussion as a thought leader on access or other issues. These are not mutually exclusive, but narrowing your goals will significantly dictate the direction, scope, choice of social media tools, the content posted and more. Step 2: Identify key audiences. Social media allows for niche audience targeting so whether it is dentists, policymakers, relevant advocacy organizations or key industry influencers, it is imperative to determine your target audiences. This will not only affect the channels you use to communicate and connect, it will also impact the message and tone of your content. Step 3: Choose the channel(s). While it is certainly possible for a state dental association to utilize one social media channel, those experienced with social media generally recommend that cross platform programs utilizing multiple channels are the most effective since the channels reinforce each another, expand your reach, and make it more likely that you will be successful in engaging your desired audiences. Step 4: Create messaging and content. Develop messages and content that align with your goals and key audiences. To be most effective, ensure you are engaging target audiences with information they care about. Use the right language for a better chance of proliferation among social media channels, and continually update with fresh content to stay relevant. Step 5. Determine a call to action. The most important difference between traditional and online media is the ability to use digital channels to immediately activate audiences (e.g., email letter writing campaigns, digital pledge pages, online petitions, etc.). The extent to which your followers are engaged – contributing to conversation vs. writing a legislator – lies solely in the direction and opportunities you present. Step 6. Quantify success. Defining the metrics you will use to measure how the social media program is advancing will help you gauge the effectiveness of your plan. By defining success and monitoring performance, you can drive conversation and direct action more precisely and efficiently. Also, this will allow you to refine your messages and calls for action and retool the composition of the channels as you go along. S
  • 9. 9  Step 7: Prepare to manage the conversation. Because social media is about open dialogue, it is important to be prepared for when the conversation does not go your way. For example, adversaries may react to your activities, allies might voice discordant opinions or a dialogue may veer off course. Before your plan begins, it is important to set guidelines on what level of opposition you will tolerate before pushing back and to determine the messaging that will bring the conversation back to where you want it to be. S
  • 10. 10 Recommended Tools and Channels In addition to the most widely used social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), there are a variety of other tools and channels a state dental association may consider to support its public affairs program:    Blogs: One of the best ways state dental associations can drive (and control) the conversation about an issue is by developing a blog. Techniques such as linking your blog to a highly ranked and relevant website (and having them link back to your site) will help your blog obtain a higher page rank in a search engine’s results. This will aid in drawing more traffic to your site by attracting Internet users who are searching for information on your issues. Guest-posting on quality, trustworthy blogs will also help index your site, increase links back to it and improve the authority/thought leadership of your association. LinkedIn: Using this channel can help build your brand’s professional presence and can be good for connecting with legislators and others in the medical community. Establish yourself/your association as an expert by joining related groups and answering industry questions. Additionally, this channel has a more upscale and educated audience than the other channels and is important for any thought leadership or public policy advocacy. Online “hubs”: The most effective social media campaigns have an interactive “hub,” usually a website or dedicated micro website or public affairs blog that houses more in depth content than the social media channels. Visitors to social media sites are directed here if they want more information. Ways to Enhance Overall Online Presence   Use web-friendly language to increase search ranking. It is crucial that state dental associations reach and maintain a top spot in search rankings on Google, especially for topics central to their mission. You can gain higher rankings by using terms in your online materials that closely align with the terminology your target audiences may be familiar with (and therefore more likely to search for). For instance, parents looking for reliable information on the safety of amalgam fillings for their children are unlikely to Google “dental amalgam” or “dental restorative materials.” They may search for “children and cavities” or “what to ask your dentist.” This practice is commonly referred to as “Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO.” Conduct media relations online. In today’s communication environment, Web-exclusive editors, bloggers and digital community leaders are the new journalists. Building relationships with these digital journalists is not optional; many “traditional” journalists check the Internet for information before they begin writing, so building online relationships is a recommended component of any public affairs strategy. This practice, known as “online editorial outreach” or “OEO” should support any print or traditional media relations efforts. S
  • 11. 11 Effective Measurement It is important to set parameters to evaluate the success of your online strategy. There are a number of free analytical tools that assist in measuring the fundamental elements of various online channels.  Websites: Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to easily identify: o Number of unique visitors to your website. o Keywords people search to find your website. o Spikes in traffic on particular days or times. o The location (country, state, and city) your traffic is derived from. o What other sites (e.g., Google Adwords, Bing!, Twitter) are referring visitors to your site. o Pages on your site visitors spend the most time viewing.  Twitter: There are numerous free tools that enable organizations to best determine what’s working, what’s missing, what to refine, etc. when posting to Twitter. o Twitter Counter tracks followers, tweets and mixed stats. o Bit.ly shortens URLs for your Tweets (to help stay within the 140 character limit). Each shortened URL has built-in analytics that shows you how many people clicked your link, their geographic location and the source (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) from which they clicked your link to pinpoint trends in certain links and find out which were most popular. o Twubs and WeFollow provide information on influencers based on various hashtags that can be used in future Tweets. (By using a special digital tool called a hashtag (#) before a word such as “#Medicaid”, “#statebudget”, or “#fluoride” Twitter users can follow conversations and comment on those specific issues.)  Facebook: When you set up your Facebook “Like” page you automatically have access to Facebook Insights. Use Insights to find: o Traffic patterns to your page. o Days and specific times when you’re getting “Likes”. o Geographic and demographic trends of your “Like” audience, including information such as the gender, age, and location of your supporters. Measuring your overall influence on the public discussion often proves to be the most difficult social media goal to quantify, as it is typically a qualitative rather than quantitative assessment. However, you can quantify your influence by tracking how many times you are mentioned in the top-level blogs in your topic area, how many bloggers were on your conference call and how many posts resulted, how many times your online video has been viewed, what websites have embedded your content on their pages, and if your site was picked up on “Digg” and other social news sites. S
  • 12. 12 Case Studies: Lessons Learned National, State and Local Advocacy Campaigns We have reviewed a number of national, state and local organizations that have faced legislative challenges to offer specific examples of the effective use of social media to successfully drive advocacy efforts:  Americans United for Change is a union-backed organization formed in 2005 to counter President George W. Bush’s push to create personal Social Security accounts. Today, its policyoriented campaigns push the Obama administration’s legislative priorities. One wide-ranging effort along these lines is the “Rebuild and Renew America Now!” coalition of more than 100 liberal interest groups that joined forces to push Obama’s budget proposals. For this campaign, the coalition group coordinated its message across multiple media channels— television, websites, YouTube videos and social media sites. On its hub website, supporters could locate events in their states and access YouTube and radio spots that targeted Congressional opponents of the stimulus and budget plans so that they could then petition. Results: o More than 80,000 calls to Congress. o More than 8,000 personal letters to Congress. o More than 325 grassroots events in one month. Lesson Learned: o Develop a “hub” to activate members. Americans United for Change built an expansive coalition through online communications and then directed their followers to an interactive microsite or “hub.” From this hub the group effectively activated their followers in both online and in-person activities (signing online petitions, announcing rallies or events, sending letters to legislators, etc.).  Fix Housing First was an effort backed by the National Association of Home Builders that advocated for the inclusion of a homebuyer tax credit in the 2010 stimulus package. Using email campaigns, Twitter feeds and search engine marketing, the Fix Housing First coalition showed how social media could be employed to pile pressure on legislators. The campaign relied on Google AdWords to target online search terms to homebuyer ads, thereby expanding its reach to consumers, builders and real estate professionals it otherwise wouldn’t have reached. Its website also included a Twitter feed in the days leading up to floor votes on the S
  • 13. 13 stimulus bill, allowing the groups’ lobbyists and others on Capitol Hill to distribute a blow-byblow account of the negotiations. The coalition also posted Twitter updates urging tax-credit supporters to contact their legislators (the group got 180,000 of them to send emails to members of Congress). Results: o Doubled emails and letters sent to Congress in the day after the Twitter feed went live. o Successful enactment of the homebuyer tax credit. o Winner of PR Week Public Affairs Campaign of the Year 2010. Lesson Learned: o Integrate online channels. Using Twitter alone will not win a policy battle. Pushing your messages across various channels (whether it be Twitter, Facebook, email, search, etc.) on which your audiences exist is crucial to a successful campaign. Fix Housing First illustrates the power of having a coordinated front in the social media space. They not only used several channels to enhance their online presence, but also each of their components was integrated in a way that allowed them to quickly reach their followers and call them to action when necessary.  The Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS), an association long known in the Michigan Capitol for its traditional lobbying efforts, effectively used digital media in a recent campaign to prevent passage of a “provider tax” in the state. Prior to the push against the “provider tax,” MSMS spent a few years increasing their online presence. Once the issue hit, they were able to engage their network, effectively turning their followers into activists willing to reach out to legislators through both digital and traditional means. MSMS’s advocacy website allowed doctors to find legislative contact information based on their zip code. The website also provided thousands of MSMS members the power to become more informed on pertinent policy issues and then increase their share of the voice in the digital sphere on key policy issues. MSMS continues to keep its members engaged in a variety of issues via Twitter, Facebook, a picture sharing site and an online newsletter. Results: o Successful defeat of state “provider tax.” o Continued to garner victories through active membership in other areas of health policy. (example: new tanning bed restrictions for minors) S
  • 14. 14 Lesson Learned: o Engage in targeted dialogue. When using social media channels for public affairs issues, it is best to be direct – in the audiences you are targeting, in your message and in what you are asking people to do. MSMS specifically targeted doctors, provided concise information about the issue they were advocating against and then gave clear direction about not only which legislators to reach out to, but also provided the medium for outreach and suggested language that was influential in moving the dial.  Responsible Urban Development for Houston (RUDH) is a local non-profit dedicated to preserving the culture and integrity of Houston neighborhoods through community and citybased public affairs efforts. Walmart announced plans to build a new supercenter in the middle of a Houston community called The Heights. Within 24 hours of the announcement, RUDH launched an online initiative “Stop the Heights Wal-Mart!” that included a microsite dedicated to the issue, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. The group has used Facebook and Twitter in tandem to announce and promote meet-ups and protests in which their followers live-tweet and send photos of the various events. All tools and communication are easily accessed via their microsite, where visitors can also sign an online petition, donate money to the cause and find further information on the economic and social impact of the proposed Walmart store. Results: o Within one day of its launch, 675 locals became fans of the Facebook page. o To date, nearly 6,000 community members have become fans of the page and 225 are following the issue on Twitter. Lesson Learned: o Call followers, friends and others to action: Successful advocacy groups are keenly aware of the current limitations of online interaction. Facebook followers and YouTube videos cannot drive legislative or regulatory change at the State House by themselves. For the social space to have relevance and impact in the political arena, it must have a concrete offline effect. Responsible Urban Development for Houston used online channels not only to engage in online advocacy (online petitions, donations, etc.), but also to bolster “offline” activity in the form of rallies, attendance at town hall meetings, etc. S
  • 15. 15 State Dental Associations To get an idea of how state dental associations are using social media, we interviewed several SPA states (Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin and Washington) that have incorporated social media into their communications and public affairs efforts. States were asked about their existing online presence, as well as their motivation for implementing social media campaigns and the challenges they have faced along the way. Responses varied – not only in the tools being used, but also in the goals state associations set and the audiences they were targeting. Top-line Feedback  The Michigan Dental Society has utilized various online tools to become a key professional resource for those in the dental profession and to confront legislative battles relating to noncovered services.  The Florida Dental Association has had great success in using Twitter to target Tallahasseebased reporters. Since creating their Twitter account, the FDA has experienced a significant increase in the number of calls from reporters seeking their opinion on various dental and policy-related issues.  The Washington State Dental Association uses Vimeo (a video-sharing site) to promote their charitable care activities throughout the state, particularly to key legislators. These videos not only engage their local communities, but provide usable footage for reporters and local news outlets to make it easier for them to cover the stories.  The Wisconsin Dental Association has an active digital media program with the goal to engage with key audiences and become a thought leader in the state. From sharing the latest research on oral health, giving dental tips for families, or promoting the latest Mission of Mercy, WDA’s social media tools offer a variety of dental-related news and announcements for dentists, influencers and the general public, while also driving traffic back to the WDA main website. Specific Uses of Social Media Channels Effective use of Twitter:  The Florida Dental Association has effectively used their Twitter account to both target and monitor opinion on dental-related policy issues. Legislators and thought-leaders in the state capital of Tallahassee are fairly engaged on Twitter thus giving FDA the ability to monitor and also be a part of the conversation when dental-related issues arise on Twitter. Furthermore, as the number of on-the-ground reporters in Tallahassee slowly diminishes, the opportunity for FDA to target messages directly “@” existing reporters helps establish credibility and potential S
  • 16. 16 relationships. The more FDA directly engages reporters via Twitter, the more they become the “go to” for journalists and reporters in need of a quote, statement, or opinion on dental issues. Since launching their Twitter account at the start of 2010, they have seen a considerable and consistent increase in reporters reaching out to them. This has proven especially helpful when non-covered services issues arise. http://twitter.com/FDADental Effective use of Facebook:  Anticipating upcoming legislative battles, the Washington State Dental Association created an active Facebook page to promote its charitable care efforts and policy agenda. The WSDA continues to actively draw people to their Facebook page and other sites through keen focus on the various charitable care events in local communities. www.facebook.com/pages/Washington-State-Dental-Association/195835209658  As part of its strategy to pass legislation against insurance companies setting prices on noncovered services, Michigan Dental Association drove traffic to its microsite, www.stopinsurancebullying.com, its blog and its contact-a-legislator page through regular posts to the association’s Facebook page. Non-covered services advocacy increased the MDA’s fan count by as many as 150 members within 45 days. That being said, the amount of action taken based off of their Facebook posts was somewhat limited. Though members didn’t necessarily contact their lawmakers, they did click on the links, chose to “Like” the MDA’s status posts and, overall, the campaign led to an increased viewership of www.stopinsurancebullying.com. This combined effort highlights the importance of integrated social media and online tactics. Often, especially for legislative or issue-based causes, using one medium will not suffice. MDA’s combined effort enhanced the overall non-covered services campaign. MDA continues to engage their Facebook followers on a variety of topics including access to care and general dental news. www.facebook.com/#!/MichiganDentalAssociation?v=wall&ref=search  In addition to actively engaging thought leaders and media via Twitter, the Florida Dental Association pushes content to the general public in hopes of becoming the trusted source for all things oral health. Combining their efforts on Twitter with a Facebook page has allowed them to communicate with FDA members, as well as community members. Together, these tools help promote charitable care events and draw more followers to their oral health website, smileflorida.com. www.facebook.com/FloridaDentalAssociation S
  • 17. 17 Effective use of YouTube:  WDA launched their YouTube page nearly two years ago as a means of extending the viewership of the PSAs they regularly place on local television networks, which now also include videos and slideshows of charitable care events like Mission of Mercy. www.youtube.com/user/wisconsindentalassoc  WSDA creates videos of charitable events that often include snapshots of people receiving care as well as interviews with volunteers and patients. Videos are posted to YouTube and/or Vimeo and then promoted via their Facebook page or website. WSDA also offers the footage to local news stations as b-roll for potential stories on the events. By providing already-packaged video, the WSDA is much more likely to be picked up by local stations that may not have a camera crew otherwise available. www.youtube.com/user/WAStateDentalAssn S
  • 18. 18 Conclusion There is no fixed formula for a successful social media program; the results of your campaign will depend on your goal, the creativity and persuasiveness of your content, and the resources you are able to devote to your social media strategy. At the heart of social media is the willingness to interact with your target audiences, establish an ongoing dialog and build an online community. The most effective organizations are deliberate when deciding their goals, audiences and which social media strategies to pursue. They:      Set clear goals and benchmarks; Follow established best practices; Develop messaging and content and keep it fresh; Use the right tool for the right task; and Measure and refine. The examples we provided on how organizations are using social media and online advocacy make a convincing point about today’s digital channels: they are now a significant drive of public opinion and can influence policy. Channels like blogs, social networks, and search engines give brands and organizations a relationship with audiences like never before. And because more and more national, state and local level policymakers are online utilizing these same channels, an organization that wants to be an influential player must be there as well. S
  • 19. 19 Appendices 1. State Legislatures: Social Media Sites Blogs and social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube are becoming increasingly popular with legislators and legislative caucuses. State Caucus Site Alabama House Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Senate House House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Assembly Democrats Assembly Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Legislative Information Services Alaska Arkansas Arizona California Colorado Connecticut Delaware House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Republicans Blog/Other Facebook MySpace Twitter YouTube Twitter Twitter Flickr Blog/Flickr Blog Blog Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Facebook Blog Blog Blog Blog Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Facebook Twitter Blog YouTube YouTube YouTube YouTube YouTube S
  • 20. 20 State Florida Georgia Hawaii Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Caucus Site Legislature House Democrats House Senate Legislative Reference Bureau Library House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Legislative Service Agency House Democrats Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Louisiana Legislative Women's Caucus House of Representatives House Public Information Office House Redistricting Blog/Other Facebook MySpace Twitter YouTube Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Blog Blog Flickr Facebook Facebook Twitter YouTube Twitter Twitter YouTube Vimeo Blog Flickr Facebook Facebook Google Moderator/Blog Flickr Blog Facebook Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter YouTube YouTube YouTube Blog/Picasa Blog Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter YouTube YouTube Facebook Facebook Flickr Facebook Facebook MySpace Twitter Twitter YouTube Facebook Blog/Picasa Facebook Blog Facebook YouTube S
  • 21. 21 State Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire Caucus Site House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Senate House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Republicans Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Legislature House DFL House Republicans Senate DFL Senate Republicans Legislative Reference Library House Public Information Services Senate Media Services House Democrats House Democrats House Communications Office House and Senate Democrats Nebraska Legislature Assembly Democrats Senate Democrats House of Representatives House Republicans Senate Democrats Blog/Other Facebook MySpace Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter Blog Blog Facebook Facebook Facebook Twitter Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter YouTube YouTube Blog Blog Blog Blog Facebook Facebook YouTube YouTube Twitter Twitter Twitter Facebook YouTube Twitter Blog Blog Twitter Facebook Twitter Twitter S
  • 22. 22 State New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina Caucus Site Assembly Democrats Assembly Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate North Carolina House Democrats North Carolina House Republicans Blog/Other Facebook Vimeo Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter Facebook Facebook Facebook Blog Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook Blog Facebook North Carolina Senate Republicans Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Senate House Democrats House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Senate Democrats House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans MySpace YouTube YouTube Twitter Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook Twitter Blog/Flickr Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook Flickr Blog UStream Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter YouTube Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter YouTube Facebook Facebook Twitter S
  • 23. 23 State Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Caucus Site House Republicans Legislature Legislative Reference Library House Democrats Senate Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Republicans House Senate House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Legislature House Senate Assembly Democrats Legislative Reference Bureau Blog/Other Facebook MySpace Twitter YouTube Twitter Twitter Facebook Blog, Picasa, Gcast Blog Blog Twitter Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter YouTube Facebook Flickr Blog Flickr Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter YouTube Twitter Twitter Twitter Blog, Google Moderator Blog/ Flickr Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter YouTube Blog Twitter Source: National Conference of State Legislatures Other government social media sites: See GovTwit's 50+ government Twitter and social media directories. S
  • 24. Social Media Guide 25 2. Channel-based Tactics Thought Leadership Issue Advocacy/Legislative Building Coalitions Crisis Facebook  Create a “tab” for Social Media Releases. These releases, housed on your Facebook page will increase search engine-driven traffic to your page, as well as the release.  Make connections and participate in the Facebook activities of more prominent organizations in a specific issue area. Become a part of the conversation within their network.  Create groups and fan pages that will appeal to members and potential allies, i.e., “Friends of the Michigan Dental Society,” “Louisiana Parents Supporting Fluoridation,” “Missouri Mission of Mercy”.  @ Mention and link to other groups’ relevant research projects or releases.  Use your Facebook page to directly communicate with followers.  If you have a “dark” site, Facebook can be used to drive traffic to the site once it is activated for open commentary. Twitter  Many reporters, policymakers and stakeholders communicate via Twitter; find them, follow them, and initiate a dialogue with them to ensure that you are the place they turn to for oral healthrelated stories.  Timing is everything. When a critical story hits, be the first to tweet about it to ensure that you are re-tweeted as users learn about the issue.  Don’t limit tweets to dental issues – become part of the broader public health debate in the state.  Utilize an advocacy-themed Facebook application that allows your followers to take action. Some apps allow followers to contact legislators directly (“Take Action” app) or even allow constituents to “vote” on specific pieces of legislation (“Visible Vote” app).  If using print or online ads, include the images in a Facebook photo album. Members can use these ads for their sites.  “Like” legislators that are proponents of your policy initiatives.  Create issue-specific cause buttons/ widgets.  When legislators or opponents use specific hashtags on their Twitter feeds (e.g. #Medicaid, #statebudget), direct your followers to inundate these with tweets that pertain to your message. This allows your message to be front and center and helps drown out your opponents’ buzz.  Craft specific campaign-centric Tweets and encourage your followers to tweet their legislator with your message.  Live tweet during critical legislative debates.  Organize a TweetUp (via Twitter) and leverage all tools at your disposal (e.g., email, Facebook, etc.) to promote activity around it.  Identify and build follow/follower relationships with 3rd party groups and existing coalitions.  Re-tweet pertinent statements from allies and potential allies.  Engage in public @ discussions with allies and stakeholder groups, promoting each other and highlighting your like-minded issues.  Identify key hashtags used by 3rd parties and utilize them in your posts.  Don’t be afraid to send a Direct Message. While it should be used sparingly, Direct Messages can be necessary to reach those you want to engage.  Privately, Direct Message an opponent as part of your response strategy.  Always maintain your position but try and accommodate privately.  Openly @ Message opponents that you’ve responded to their request (for visibility).  Engage Twitter allies to advocate your position.  Keep an eye on common hashtags used by your opponents and try to inject your message into the hashtag stream.
  • 25. Social Media Guide YouTube* Flickr*  Establish and routinely update a dedicated YouTube channel.  Upload short video Q&A’s with industry experts and dental professionals on key issues relating to oral health.  Bring a flipcam to meetings and video dental association leadership discussing oral health care issues with policymakers, regulators or experts.  Create a photo library with images of events to increase interest among the public.  Albums also create an accessible archive of public efforts and, similar to video “b-roll,” provide a source for local reporters to pull images from.  Upload photos of meetings with legislators, stakeholders and other politically influential people in the state. Note: Pictures taken from a cell phone are acceptable.  Consider buying video-mercials on sites like Hulu that showcase corporate social responsibility and charitable acts.  Buy YouTube-promoted ads to help elevate the placement of your videos in site search results.  Edit/add to Wiki pages that are relevant to oral health.  Use a YouTube channel as a hub for videos and interviews that relate to policy issues.  Upload short video Q&A’s with legislators and stakeholders reacting to your policy agenda.  If you mobilize groups of people for a rally, press conference or a “capitol day”, post video of the meet up and encourage participants to access and promote the video to their networks once it is posted.  Post videos of opinion leaders (e.g., Pediatric orgs, State health office reps, members of the media) speaking in favor of your position.  Push videos to Twitter network via sites like TwitVid.  Pictures can and should be used similarly (or in addition) to the abovementioned suggestions for video.  Pictures need not always be professional or staged to be effective. For example, if your organization is hosting a Legislative Day, participants can easily snap pictures on their cell phones and quickly upload the image to the Flickr site.  Send pictures to your Twitter network using tools like TwitPic, YFrog, etc.  Purchase online advertising on blogs or websites.  Participate in Q&A on sites like LinkedIn, Yahoo! Answers, etc.  Proactively engage in online groups (e.g., Google groups, Yahoo! groups, MSN groups, etc.).  Edit/add to Wiki pages that are relevant to specific policy issues.  House important health-related or professional enhancement videos to a YouTube channel.  Upload short video Q&A’s with members of other organizations that relate to your overall goals.  Create a video of your association’s various charitable efforts, utilizing state dental association spokespeople to drive home the point that broader attention is needed to protecting oral health in the state.  Upload your Flickr photos directly to your Twitter and Facebook pages showcasing positive events such as Mission of Mercy or other charitable endeavors.  Include pictures of members and leadership at other organizations’ events. Tag or reference the organization in the photos so it appears in their related social media channels. 26  Create a video in which an organization spokesperson (the Executive Director) is speaking directly to the audience. Set your options to “moderate comments”, to control which YouTube users’ comments can be viewed by the public.  Establish and routinely update your dedicated YouTube channel with updates critical to the pending crisis. You control your channel and its content.  Push videos (or links to videos) that highlight an organization’s charitable efforts to the forefront toward the top of any YouTube channel or page.  Push images that highlight an organization’s charitable efforts to the forefront. Make sure these images are pushed toward the top of your list of albums or page.  Make sure the images and albums they are housed in are clearly identified as representing a charitable or beneficial cause.  Use dental association blog as  Purchase targeted Facebook ads. forum for response. Facebook ads allow you to micro Build list of keywords (negative target an audience based on a and positive) to use for variety of characteristics such as: SEO/SEM (Search Engine location, demographics, social and Optimization/Search Engine behavioral information made Marketing). available online.  Buy targeted keywords for use on search engines and content networks (both contextual ads and display ads). *Note: The components discussed under YouTube and Flickr can be applied to similar sites such as Vimeo and PhotoBucket, respectively. Other tools