I’m Mike and I manage the Libel Reform Campaign on behalf of English PEN, Index on Censorship and Sense About Science. Our campaign aims to reform our defamation laws. Journalism.co.uk back our campaign – thanks! – as many journalists know from their personal experiences the dreadful effect our libel laws can have on their work and free expression in this country. I’m going to outline in quite a stat heavy way what the Libel Reform Campaign’s online presence achieved – and what that meant for our campaign
Libelreform.org is our campaign website which is complemented by a Facebook page. Visitors to our site are urged to sign our online petition which in turn emails MPs to give politicians an idea of public anger over the effect our libel laws have on free speech. Ten of thousands of emails were sent to MPs in just a few months – one of the largest mass mailings to MPs in the last Parliament. So 184k > 52k > £27k > added people to our mailing list and then we asked them in turn to update their Facebook status to back our campaign / to tweet / and to forward the petition text to friends.
Note that Badscience, Richard Dawkins.net and Simonsingh.net sent combined nearly as many visitors as google did. It’s essential in any online campaign you work out who will link and write about your site from the beginning Twitter > Google
The grey slice of the pie is the tiny 2.9% of visits to our campaign website that were re-directed from the websites of our 3 coaltion parters PEN INDEX SENSE ABOUT SCIENCE Many of the visits in the red section were people who typed our web address into their browser, many of these people will have seen our web address printed in national newspapers such as The Times, The Guardian, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror (these are just the papers who printed our address). Twitter and Facebook were very influential in directing visitors to our site – more so than google
We managed to track 7k of the 22k we received from Twitter Well over half came from just 10 twitters with a single tweet from stephen fry alone driving 1918 people to our site (think of how many MPs got an email from a constituent just because Stephen Fry tweeted it!) But only 163 tweets or twitterers delivered more than 2 visits to our site.
Of all the visits we could trace that came from twitter, this is how they are broken down by number of visits per either tweet or twitter user. So all the twitter users who tweeted ‘join the libel reform campaign now’ and 1 person followed their link and went to our website – all of these people who persuaded just 1 person all lumped together in the grey pie slice. The pie represents the total number of visits we got from twitter. What’s interesting is that although big twitterers like Stephen Fry and Dara O’briain, Tim Minchin etc are important – at least a quarter of our visits that we traced (c. 1,500) were from people who only persuaded 1-4 friends to sign up. And remember each visit is worth 15p to us – and also sends another letter to an MP
Asking people to help is important Our mailing list was used intensively in the run up to the general election period In late Feb we asked our supporters to tweet a link to our website with a catchy slogan like – ‘find out what you’re not getting to hear at libelreform.org – sign up now RT’ 34.2% of visits from Twitter came from that single week.
People searching for our site has made a very small percentage of our total visits We worked out who would support us early – especially bloggers – and asked them to post prominently and frequently about our campaign. We also asked if they’d tweet links to their articles and our websites Most importantly - Don’t be afraid to build a website that gets what you want. Many in our campaign were suspicious (including my paymasters) of forcing people to input their postcode. We needed this to send the email from our supporter to their local MP. Online forums went nuts about this – but I refused to back down. I wanted to get emails to MPs; that was the aim of the campaign. So held firm.
Mike harris pres
The Libel Reform Campaign – building a buzz <ul><li>Total unique visits to Libelreform.org – 184,821 </li></ul><ul><li>Total unique visits via Twitter – 22,941 </li></ul><ul><li>Only 2.9% of the visitors to our site came from the websites of our 3 partner organisations </li></ul>
Each visit is worth 15p Libelreform.org £27,659 donations E-list Twitter Facebook 184,821 unique visits 52,258 signatures
The importance of social networking sites and developing friendly blogs in driving visits to the site
Lots of tweets or top Twitterers? <ul><li>Of the 7,405 visits from Twitter we’ve traced (total of 22,941): </li></ul><ul><li>4,819 came from just 10 Twitterers </li></ul><ul><li>A single tweet from Stephen Fry drove 1,918 people to the site </li></ul><ul><li>Only 163 Twitterers delivered more than 2 new unique visits to our website. </li></ul>
Lots of tweets or top Twitterers? <ul><li>Of visits from Twitter, the majority came from our top Twitterers who in total sent 100+ unique visitors to our site. </li></ul>
The Ask: ‘please RT’ <ul><li>34.2% of all Twitter visits were in 1 week after we asked our supporters to re-Tweet their message of support </li></ul>
What does this all mean? <ul><li>Google isn’t enough: you need social media to drive your campaign </li></ul><ul><li>The social element of this media is important - who is it that will make your campaign work? </li></ul><ul><li>Work out what you want to achieve: we wanted signatures and money! </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter and blogs can make a lot of noise – success is turning this into your desired outcome </li></ul>