Tuesday 06 December 2016

Friday Five: 5 Creative Calls to Action

Here’s a riddle for you: what has two legs, two arms and vocal chords? Your audience! That’s right, the audiences who follow you, retweet you, pin you…they’re real people. And that means they can do real things for you – off the computer and outside their homes. User generate content (UGC) is becoming increasingly important, as we’ve seen entire societal movements take place online, impacting people around the world.

Following last week’s five ways to obtain rich user-generated content, these five calls to action show how it’s possible to go one step further than UGC with an offline call to action.

1. In-person meetings with influencers

Nothing beats face-to-face interaction. Encourage your audience to set up meetings with your most important influencers. This happens all the time in the public affairs arena – through meetings with representatives – but try to think of ways for this to happen in the consumer arena as well. Since it’s a bit more difficult to simply schedule a meeting with an influencer (our democratic process makes it relatively easy when it comes to public affairs!), try inviting your influencer to an event you’re holding. Ask them to be a guest speaker or sit on a panel so your audience has the chance to ask them questions. This can also help draw in more people, helping make your event a success.

2. Op-eds or Letters to the editor (LTE) in local publications

Motivate your key influencers to share their voice publicly. One of Grassroots Enterprise’s clients, a plastic bag manufacturing company, has been working to combat bag bans across the country in favor of more sanitary, recyclable, plastic bag options. In response to the Los Angeles City Council’s tentative approval of a bag ban, the team asked supporters to submit LTEs to the Los Angeles Times calling on council members to support plastic bags. The paper received so many LTEs that it wrote an editorial about it.

3. “Happy hour rallies”

The Grassroots Enterprise team was charged with holding happy hours around the United States to rally community members in support of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement. Using email communications and social media, the team reached out to their audience of previously active supporters online and invited them to happy hours in their area. Each happy hour had an average attendance of 25 people, largely from the established group of online supporters.

4. Hard copies of stories, delivered in person by the storyteller

You’re the Cure, the American Heart Association’s advocacy arm, has thousands of advocates around the United States – advocates with moving stories of families and friends who have been impacted by medical advancements pioneered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Last year, as Congress debated whether to reduce funding for NIH, You’re the Cure sent advocates to Capitol Hill, armed with Shutterfly Photo Books with their stories and pictures to share with their representatives. Senator Scott Brown, pictured here with cardiac arrest survivor, Olivia Quigley, was particularly impacted by the book and even had Olivia sign her own page.

5. Improv/Flashmob gatherings.

Sometimes, client willing, it’s great to take a chance and try an outside-the-box call to action, involving improvisational or flash mob-type gatherings. Take a look at what One Billion Rising did to promote justice for women and girls who have been the victims of violence. Think of innovative ways you can get your audience moving, beyond rallies and in-person meetings.

Some of the most successful movements have been marked by online to offline actions and having feet on the ground. What’s the most creative way you’ve ever called your audience to action?

Image credit: LarimdaME

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