National Council for Voluntary Organisations
Forum for Change
Why is it important? What does it involve?
Social media is a powerful tool for Many people are using social media and usage What is social media? SoCial mEdia Can hElp
campaigning and influencing and figures are growing, particularly with the The term “social media” covers a broad range of Campaigning and inFluEnCing
increasing ownership of internet enabled tools including blogs, podcasts, social networks,
is most effective when it is fully phones so access to social media sites is
Work in thE FolloWing WayS:1
wikis, picture sharing, video and social
integrated into the wider strategy getting easier and easier. bookmarking. The term started to be used Creating a dialogue with your supporters,
for change. when it was realised that these new interactive beneficiaries, staff members, campaigners
Social media tools can support each stage of tools were not just about information but were and opposition alike.
your strategy to achieve change by making it • 30.1 million adults accessed the internet every social, a way to bring people together through
day in 2010 (Office for National Statistics) the internet. Reaching people quickly and reacting to
easy for people with a passion for a cause to developments as they happen.
find your organisation and tell you about their • Social networking accounts for 23% of UK
When the internet was first launched, websites
views and experiences, share your information, web time (April 2010, Nielsen)
were a way to get information out, broadcasting Accessibility at times that suit the user.
and become involved in your work. • 75% of 16-24 year olds and 31% of 45-54 year
in one direction to readers. Text and images sat
olds posted messages on social networking Sharing your own ideas and experiences
It is important that you and your organisation on web pages for people to read and users had
sites in 2010 (Office for National Statistics) as well as those of your supporters
are able to build relationships with people in to go to the websites to find the information.
• There are over 500 million Facebook users and beneficiaries.
ways that suit them so that you can engage with The next generation of websites – web 2.0 – are
world wide (December 2010, Facebook)
them regularly and feed this into your more interactive with the ability to update their
• 50 million tweets are posted per day world Tapping into the expertise of your supporters.
campaigning and influencing work. content easily and allowing users to generate
wide (February 2010, Twitter).
their own content and facilitate conversations.
If you are not using social media then you could
be missing out on a potentially huge range of
opportunities to inform your campaigning and
influencing work. This guide sets out some
steps you can take to successfully incorporate
social media into your influencing work and
the tools that enable you to do this.
Adapted from Hannah Lownsbrough, 38 degrees, e-campaigning tips:
2 Forum for Change lownsbrough-38 In Focus: Integrating social media
Where do I start?
When using social media in your The campaign cycle divides the course of a CrEating SoCial mEdia guidElinES STAge 1:
campaigning and influencing work it campaign into a series of stages and this guide analysing the issue and developing
explores how social media can support your getting started with social media can be an evidence base
is best to think about how it can work in each of these stages. You need to understand the context within
difficult as it relies on you putting more of
support each stage of the influencing yourself and your opinions online. It can be which your issue sits if you are to successfully
process or campaigns cycle. empowering for people to work from a set achieve the change you want to see. There is a
of social media guidelines or policy, which mass of information out there on the web to
also help you to have confidence in what help you, social media tools can enable you to
staff and volunteers are going to say. quickly and regularly access what others are
saying and to ask people and instigate
Some key elements to include in your discussion on policy changes and campaigns.
policy or guidelines are:
Why social media is important. http://www.google.com/alerts
How social media will be integrated google alerts is a service that searches the web
with your offline work. for particular key words and emails you with the
results. It can be useful to identify the people
How staff will be responsible for what talking about particular topics you are
they write online. interested in, track if people are talking about
your work and getting a sense of the sentiment
How using social media will help to towards topics.
encourage a sense of community.
google Blog Search
How using social media will bring value http://blogsearch.google.com
to the people you’re talking to that they Knowing what key commentators are saying
wouldn’t have got offline. about your issues is a great way to keep abreast
Respecting copyright. of new developments and ideas, and often
these people will have blogs that you should
Protecting confidential information. be reading. Find out if these key commentators
have blogs through a simple google search or
Finding a balance between your social using google blog search and you can then
media and other work. make use of the RSS to keep alerted of
3 Forum for Change In Focus: Integrating social media
rSS feeds Survey monkey STAgeS 2 AND 3: exAmple:
www.surveymonkey.com developing your strategy and planning British heart Foundation
RSS (really simple syndication) is one of the key
Once you have decided on the issues that you
parts of the web 2.0 revolution. Websites with This is a cheap (or free for up to 10 questions In 2008 the British Heart Foundation
want to change you can start developing your
RSS have the ability to push information out to and up to 100 responses) survey tool that is launched their “Cigarette vending machines
strategy for achieving the change and planning
users. Using RSS feeds is particularly good for easy to set up, send out and analyse results are totally out of order” campaign. They used
for delivering the strategy.
staying on top of the latest news. from. This is good tool to ask people about their a creative advert, and an undercover video
experiences or thoughts of a particular policy Search engines such as google are very podcast showing how easy it is for children
To be able to read your RSS feeds you need to
change or campaign. useful in helping you to identify your routes to buy cigarettes.
have a reader. Web based sites such as google
to influence, as are more specialised websites
reader www.google.com/reader allow you to Forums Supporters were mobilised throughout
such as Voices for Change Cymru
access this information from any computer. the country through a series of online ‘asks’
Forums can be a useful place to ask people and www.voicesforchangecymru.org.uk/
Wordle start discussions about issues you’re working assembly-wag-information ranging from signing petitions, emailing the
http://wordle.net on. Forums need a lot of input to help them Secretary of State for Health and their MP
Parliamentary websites can also provide you the and writing to their local newspapers.
succeed but can be very valuable to create
This tool allows you to put in any piece of text means to access the people you want to reach This resulted in the Scottish government
ongoing dialogues with a group of people.
and it will generate a “word cloud”. The words such as parliament uk, national assembly announcing their intention to ban the sale of
There are many build your own network
that are most used appear biggest in the for Wales and the websites of the government cigarettes through vending machines and the
websites out there, such as ning www.ning.com
picture. Word clouds are a quick snap shot of departments related to the issues you are UK government changing their position.
which the Forum for Change is built on.
the key points; they can also help you to identify working on.
the policy buzz-words. This campaign didn’t succeed just because
tweetminster of online activity; it also had a clear media
http://tweetminster.co.uk/ strategy and lobbying tactics. It was the
Tweetminster is an aggregator of political combination of all three that got the results.
activity on Twitter, with a searchable
directory of MPs
Twitter in particular is an excellent way to
connect with journalists, MPs and other key
TIP: Several policy and parliamentary commentators to raise awareness of your
websites have RSS feeds giving you he most cause and keep on top of breaking news.
up to date information from Parliament
and the devolved governments
TIP: Spend some time in a team meeting
brainstorming keywords to help you to set up
epolitix your online searches and check the words
www.epolitix.com/index.php?id=754 regularly to ensure they are up to date.
4 Forum for Change In Focus: Integrating social media
STAge 4: E-petitions youtube exAmple:
delivering and monitoring progress Petitions can be useful in demonstrating that Telling stories through video is a powerful Campaign to save morden park
The delivery stage is your reward for careful you have public support behind your campaign. campaigning tool. YouTube is the world’s
planning and gives you the opportunity to be Free online petition tools can be quickly shared most popular video sharing website, with 2 local residents successfully campaigned
creative with your use of social media. amongst your supporters and their friends. billion views a day and over 24 hours of video against Merton Council’s proposal to allow a
uploaded every minute. Despite YouTube’s private company to build a private football
Here is an introduction to some of the most e-petitions have a number of benefits: pitch complex over one of the largest green
popularity it is just one platform and it needs
popular social media tools which you can use areas in the borough. To raise awareness and
• easy to set up and cheap to administer to work alongside your other broadcast
to support your work in delivering the policy bring the issue alive they produced a short film
and collate. tools to make sure it reaches the widest
change or campaign. to highlight the impact to the community.
• Allow people to share the link with others. audiences possible.
Email • Access more background information As a small local group the campaigners did not
keys to success
The most powerful way to rally support about the campaign. have vast resources but would definitely
• make sure you have consent from
and encourage online action is still via email. • Allow you to feedback to the people recommend using films as a campaign tactic
everyone involved to make the film public.
Almost everyone who uses the internet has that signed the petition. which helped both reinvigorate existing
• make sure your video is under 2 minutes,
an email address and people usually treat their • Take up can be monitored. supporters and recruit new ones. Watch the
under 1 minute is even better.
emails in a different way to other social media film here: http://www.youtube.com/
• Your video needs to work outside the context
interactions, taking more notice of what watch?gl=US&hl=uk&v=ml3zafl6_4e
of your website or campaign materials.
comes into their inbox.
• even if it’s brief make sure you include some
keys to success: background information, how you plan to
make your change, include a call to action –
• emails asking recipients to take one action
what you’re asking people to do and where
and emails updating them on the progress of
to go next.
the campaign are the best performing emails.
• Try different types of content for different
audiences and compare their success. You will
gradually work towards your perfect email.
• personalise your emails.
• Take time to target your emails. Find out what
people want to know about, what types of
action they’re interested in taking and send
them relevant emails.
• Keep your email list clean – high levels
of bouncebacks can blacklist you with
• make sure your email comes from a
professional email address.
• Follow-up with your recipients with a thank
you, updates and further actions.
5 Forum for Change In Focus: Integrating social media
Facebook keys to success Facebook page or group?
Facebook has grown from a US college
• Features can change with little notice and it pAge gROUp
networking tool to being the biggest online
can be difficult to move between them. Make
social network and the main online home of ADmiNiSTRATiON No personal identity, the page Directly linked to the people
sure you have a back up plan and are
many people. Tapping into existing Facebook itself is in effect a person. that administer it.
encouraging people to your own site.
networks may be a key element to your
• make use of the Facebook Apps that exist to
influencing and campaigning work.
promote campaigns such as Facebook Causes. URls Customisable/ vanity URls. No customizable/ vanity
Facebook has over 500 million users worldwide, • Don’t rely on it to run your campaign. You’ll URls.
50% of whom log in at least once a day and need to promote your Facebook presence
these statistics change and grow daily. By far the through your emails and other membeRS On the whole you cannot group members can be
biggest age range of people using Facebook are communications on and off line. decide who can and can’t moderated and approved
18-25 year olds but the fastest growing group is • promote your Facebook presence on your join a page. if necessary.
the over 55s. website, newsletters, emails and in print.
• encourage people to mention you in their
As an organisation you can use Facebook pRivACY Pages are public groups can be private
status updates or by tagging themselves in
in two main ways, by creating a page or a group. and less personal. if necessary.
photos in your page.
The following table highlights some of the
differences between these approaches; emAil You cannot send emails to You can send out an email to
however the functions on pages and groups page members but you can group members as long as it
does change regularly so do re-check these at send an update which appears is under 5,000 words.
the time of creating your page or group. in their inbox.
NewS STReAm You can add content to Content will only be added to
peoples’ news stream. peoples’ news stream when
they join the group or if they
are friends with the person
SeARCh eNgiNeS Content is indexed by search engines.
TARgeTiNg CONTeNT You can target content You cannot target content
TO AUDieNCeS to people on pages. to people in groups.
eveNTS You cannot send event emails. You can send event emails.
TIP: One of the functions most noticed by AppliCATiONS Pages can host applications. groups cannot host
someone’s Facebook page is their profile applications.
photo so why not ask your supporters to
“donate” their profile to your cause for a meASURemeNT You can access metrics There are no metrics
specific length of time with a related photo for page users. for group users.
6 Forum for Change In Focus: Integrating social media
twitter keys to success exAmple: Campaign Co-coordinator
Twitter is probably the biggest social media Children’s Food Campaign, Jackie Schneider said:
• be personal, people don’t want to
revolution in recent years, after Facebook. Coco pops and twitter
follow a corporation. “As soon as the bus stop adverts appeared
A tool that started life as a 140 character
• make use of personal stories. The Children’s Food Campaign is part of several of our supporters contacted us to
update of what you’re up to has turned into one
• Create easy to share short links for Sustain, an alliance for better food and complain so we knew the ads were not
of the most useful ways to connect with people,
your key online information. farming. A recent Children’s Food Campaign popular. I looked on twitter and searched the
share information and find support for your
• Don’t just broadcast information; interact action harnessed widespread anger among term coco pops ads and found lots of tweets
cause. Twitter currently estimates that it has
with your followers, find relevant discussion lots of parents about a poster by Kellogg’s from people who had passed the ads that day
190 million users worldwide, generating 65
and reply to them. (a partner in the government’s Change4 life and wanted to comment on their
million tweets a day, and these statistics
change a grow every day. health campaign), advertising Coco pops, inappropriateness. It was easy to follow those
which suggested to children ‘ever thought people and send them a message about our
Some functions on Twitter have become of Coco Pops after school?’ and featured coco pops slogan campaign. We found that
important ways of using the tool to its best the Coco Pops monkey dressed in a one concerned individual had already tweeted
capacity. Retweeting, or RT, where you can school uniform. the address of Kellogg’s CSR person.
repost something someone else has tweeted to
your networks or vice versa. # Hashtags where Using twitter allowed us to find people who
you can see all other posts that contain the were concerned about the same issues we
same term such as #BigSociety. Twitter users were so we could alert them to our work.
will also create names of events so that they can Many of them signed up to The Children’s
be tagged and so enabling quick access to all Food Campaign as a result and went on to
tweets about that event, such as the last tweet links to us.
general election #ge10. My advice would be to act fast. Twitter is a
very immediate medium and things move on
quickly. We were able to show the tweets to
a journalists to persuade him it wasn’t just
us complaining. This led to a piece in a
TIP: You can create a twibbon for your Twitter
page which is a small image that people can
add to their avatar often a charity’s logo or
7 Forum for Change In Focus: Integrating social media
Blogging keys to success: exAmple:
Blogging can be a great tool for building your Colalife
• engage with the people in your organisation
relationship with your web visitors. Blogs can
who want to blog, not just campaign staff. Colalife is a campaign to get Coca-Cola
add a personal aspect to your campaign, giving
• blogs don’t have to be long thought pieces, to open up its distribution channels in
people inside information and an insight into
what is important is that you keep the posts developing countries to save lives by carrying
what action is being taken. Blogging also
personal and up to about 500 words. much needed ‘social products’ such as oral
connects you to other people that have a
• Don’t be too cautious about comments, rehydration salts and high-dose vitamin
passion for your issue as there are millions
let the debate flow and moderate only if A tablets.
of other blogs out there on every subject
you could imaging. Founder, Simon Berry, had the idea while
• Use other broadcast tools such as Facebook
and Twitter to publicise new posts. working on a british Aid programme in 1988.
• Search out other people blogging on your Having made frustratingly little progress after
topic and comment on their posts. Invite 20 years Simon decided to try once more
them to do the same or pitch ideas to them using social media. Since floating the idea on
for potential content. his blog in May 2008 he has created a huge
community around the campaign using
In all of the examples given here you will find Facebook, flickr and Youtube to get the
built in mechanisms which allow you to track message out. Utilising this groundswell of
and monitor usage. For some tools, like email support Colalife pressed for the feature to be
and e-petitions, this is quite straightforward picked up on Radio 4’s interactive programme,
through knowing who has responded. Other iPM. From this Simon was invited to talk with
have tools which allow you to see statistics Coca-Cola and Colalife is now in discussions
about your users, such as Facebook’s Insight with them to take the idea forward.
Dashboard www.facebook.com/insights, and
Twitter Analyzer www.twitteranalzer.com Simon explained the change in his campaign:
“in 1988, when i first had the idea it was just
me. I had no mechanism for convening people
around the idea. To do the convening I went
to where people already were online. I went to
Facebook first and then when I had a few
hundred people behind me I went on to the
BBC iPM blog. The BBC took up the story and
they used their expertise and name to get a
statement out of Coca-Cola.”
Find out more about the campaign at
8 Forum for Change In Focus: Integrating social media
STAge 5: Views on youtube putting it into practice If you have a day or two…
Evaluate You can easily see how many people have If you have five minutes…
looked at your video on your youtube account. • Register for the FairSay eCampaigners
As part of your initial discussion about what • Sign up to www.louder.org.uk a free Forum annual ‘un-conference’ event in
success will look like you need to think about Friends on Facebook web site where you can run your own Oxford and meet great online activists
what part your social media presence plays and If you have a Facebook page or group, the campaigns and incorporate a range of from around the world: http://fairsay.com/
how you will measure it. Monitoring what number of people that like your page or are free social media tools. events/ecampaigning-forum
people are doing as you go along is easier than members will be shown on the left hand side. • Join the e-campaigners’ forum email group • Develop a social media policy or strategy for
only doing this in retrospect so do factor use You can also track how many people use the for questions, and examples from your organisation, ensuring that all relevant
the monitoring in the previous stage to support like button too. experienced e-campaigners, around the staff/teams are involved and that you have
your end evaluation. world: http://fairsay.com/networks/ asked yourself the questions outlined in this
mentions in the press and parliament
It is possible to buy expensive monitoring You can use a free bookmarking website such ecampaigning-forum guide. guidelines can be found here: http://
packages that will follow your entire social as delicious http://delicious.com to record socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php
If you have an hour…
media presence but there are also things you your mentions and then use the keyword tags
can do for little or no money. to record the type of media, topic and • Arrange a meeting with a senior manager
sentiment. Also websites such as they Work about the importance of using social
google analytics media to meaningfully support your
For you www.theyworkforyou.com use
www.google.com/analytics/ organisation’s campaigns
Hansard records of parliamentary debates so
This free tool from google allows you to by using the search function on the website • Search the resources of FairSay.com
monitor visits to your website, including how you can get quick information about who has and find the articles most relevant to
long they spend there, their routes to your mentioned your organisation or campaign your current e-campaigns
information and what (if any) action they took. over a set period of time. v
• isit the NCvO Campaigning effectiveness’
New Media page to read more case studies:
twitter followers Social media aggregators http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/campaigning-
www.twitter.com There are some free tools that pull together socialmedia
everything that is happening online around a • watch the Forum for Change and Third
An easy figure to have a target for and to track
specific keyword, such as Social mention Sector Foresight e-seminar on the future of
is your number of Twitter followers. There are
www.socialmention.com and addict-o-matic campaigning: http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/
also many free tools to track the numbers of
http://addictomatic.com. These tools are campaigning-socialmedia
retweets you have, for instance www.bit.ly will
excellent at getting an overview of what is
create a short link which track how many
happening around your campaign but because
retweets you have over time, but you can also
they don’t keep an ongoing record should
see this on the Twitter website itself.
be used in conjunction with some of the
TIP: It’s easy to link your own web content
to Facebook profiles using the like button.
when people click on a like button
embedded on your website it posts a link
to their Facebook profile telling all of their
friends about the content.
9 Forum for Change In Focus: Integrating social media
online resources toolkits, reading and resources about Campaigning Effectiveness, nCVo acknowledgements
www.louder.org.uk the digiactive guide to twitter for activism Campaigning Effectiveness, nCVo Thank you to louise brown who’s work this
Is a free website that draws together a range http://www.digiactive.org/2009/04/13/ supports and empowers people and guide is based on.
of online tools enabling you to create and run twitter_guide/ organisations to change their world
your own campaigns and connect with others. through campaigning and influencing policy. big lottery Fund
nCVo third Sector Foresight,
louder.org.uk provide a platform to create a We bring together experience and expertise
Future Focus 7: What will campaigning
home for your campaign and incorporate social and drive excellence in campaigning and
look like in 5 years’ time?
media tools (such as YouTube videos, blogs and policy work across civil society by providing
Twitter feeds), with actions (such as e-petitions support, knowledge, tools and resources.
services/publications/future-focus-7-what-will- wCvA – voices for Change Cymru
and ‘write to your mp’ functions), as well as a For further information about our work
range of administration tools to monitor go to www.ncvo-vol.org.uk
actions and progress. FairSay.com: How to Campaign like Obama campaigningeffectiveness
www.38degrees.org.uk about Forum for Change
The new mass online activism hub, builds The Forum for Change, funded by the
immediate mobilisation around pressing FairSay.com: eCampaigning essentials big lottery Fund is a network for people
political issues in the UK, coordinating mass http://fairsay.com/tools/campaigning- influencing policy and campaigning for change
collective actions. They have grown to almost insights/ecampaigning-essentials across the voluntary and community sector.
70,000 members in less-than-a-year, since Membership is free and open to everyone.
FairSay.com: 2009 eCampaigning Review
their launch in spring 2009. They welcome To join or for further information go to
suggestions for their next campaign. www.forumforchange.org.uk or
Witness: Video for Change
Consultancy founded by former Oxfam gb about in Focus
e-campaigns manager, Duane Raymond, In Focus guides are produced for Forum for
providing a range of free articles, blogs, reports Change members as part of the Policy Skills
and videos in the area of e-campaigning and a Development programme. Other titles include:
e-campaigners forum. FairSay.com: social media exit strategies
• building your evidence base
www.CampaignCentral.org.uk • Commissioning research
The Sheila mcKechnie Foundation’s social • effecting change through collaboration
network and resource hub for campaigners, • influencing devolved governments
includes how-to guides, user opinion columns • involving people that matter
and campaign event announcements. • making sense of the external environment
• persuasion or pressure? Campaigning and the
Online campaign action agency, offers some
• policy development
free products, valuable case studies of how
• working with whitehall
their clients have utilised their tools to create
change, and a e-campaigning review on www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/infocus
learning from good practice.
10 Forum for Change In Focus: Integrating social media
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