Checklist: How to build hashtag campaigns for social change

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Virality is a tricky concept, but with a little strategizing, you can maximize the reach of a hashtag campaign through a combination of influencers, templates, data/stats, and traditional media.

Before you start something new, ask yourself the important questions:

  • What is unique about what you want to do?
  • Can you support another organization doing something similar?

After that, let’s make magic happen and change the world! Social movements activate the possibility of everyone to be a changemaker – where all citizens feel their power to make a positive difference in the world.

What you will read are some tips inspired by the #CanYouHearUsNow campaign, which went viral in the first week of August 2016, following a prolonged battle of words between U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and Khizr and Ghazala Khan (the Muslim-American parents of deceased U.S. Army Captain, Humayun Khan) following the Khans’ speech at the Democratic National Convention.

1. Have a list of members & influencers

Contact people who can relate to your struggle/cause. Understand what the level of commitment is. Make individual contacts.

2. Pre-campaign prep

Come up with the right hashtag. If you take too long to decide, the news cycle might pass you by. Conversely, not taking enough time to deliberate options can create a campaign that backfires. Think through potential hashtags to see how the opposition may appropriate the message. The choice of words in the hashtag may be instrumental to its success.

3. Set up the campaign

Start with a fresh hashtag and set a concerted timeframe. Create sample messages including graphics. Send out an email to your listservs and networks 12-24 hours in advance giving a 1-2 sentence background on what the campaign is responding to and what it’s trying to achieve, followed by instructions on timeframe and hashtag for the campaign. Create a media contact list of reporters who cover the issue areas you’re trying to target with your campaign as well.

4. During the campaign

One hour into the campaign, send an update email to your coalition with top posts allowing for reposting including any statistics you have about the reach of the campaign. Create additional dynamic content (graphics or memes) on the spot. In the last half hour of the campaign, send out a pitch email to reporters, using the reporter list you created before, to alert them of the conversation happening online. Offer access to spokespeople involved in the campaign for interviews. Once you get your first bite from a major news outlet, follow up with other media outlets to pinball the coverage and persuade them to cover as well.

5. Post-campaign

At the end of a successful campaign, send a recap email to your coalition members to celebrate! Doing this not only serves as a much-deserved victory lap, it also helps folks feel invested and see the real data behind the impact of the campaign, which can make them more likely to participate in future campaigns.

Source and more explanation

Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship

This text was published in the frame of the project DIGIT-AL - Digital Transformation Adult Learning for Active Citizenship.






Learning the Digital

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