Wednesday 28 September 2016

Friday5: Five Ways to Inspire Action

The world is full of armchair advocates. We all know them. They’re the ones who click “Like” on your Facebook page, sign up for your email list or follow you on Twitter, but never actually do anything substantive after taking that initial action. When executing national advocacy campaigns, they’re the bane of any grassroots organizer’s existence – but they don’t have to be.

Getting these advocates mobilized is no easy task, but at Edelman we know a thing or two about converting that lazy advocate into a powerful voice for the client. Based on our experience, here are five tips to running a successful digital advocacy campaign.

1. Find the Right People for Your Campaign

Knowing your target audiences is key. Do some research to how your advocates interact in the digital space: are they more likely to read The Drudge Report or Mother Jones? Do they nerd out by watching in-depth policy lectures or do they prefer videos of cats riding robot vacuum cleaners? Finding your narrowly targeted audience will help you determine how best to spend your precious resources. We’ve found that telling a story through content, whether that’s an awesome infographic or a heart-wrenching video, can be just as effective as traditional means of advocate recruitment.

2. Deliver the Right Message at the Right Time to the Right People

Creating an editorial calendar around a big campaign push is a great way to organize your thoughts and develop a strategy for campaign milestones you know are ahead – but don’t be afraid to be spontaneous. Part of getting people to take action is getting them the right message at the right time. Pay attention to what’s happening in the news and pop culture. There are always ways to piggy-back off of something that’s getting good coverage to benefit your campaign – whether that’s the ominous sounding Polar Vortex or the more exciting news of One Direction announcing their 2014 world tour.

3. Make “the Ask” Obvious and Often

The 5-W questions apply more than ever in this over-saturated environment. Users must know who, what, when, where and why if you expect them to act, so don’t be afraid to ask them to take action. Incorporating “the ask” into your storytelling will make for a nice “shiny object” for your advocates to grasp onto and react in your favor. If you can capture peoples’ attention and capitalize on it, you’ll be the one leading conversation and seeing the results you want.

4. Optimize for What’s Working

When the clock is ticking, you’ll need to quickly determine what messaging is working best, what content is most effective and who is taking the most frequent action. Once you find what is performing best, go for it and don’t hold back. You need to be constantly monitoring your content and taking advantage of areas of opportunity. Particularly on social, this requires a paid investment. On Facebook, only a small amount of fans will see your content organically, so if you’re seeing positive results from a particular piece of content, don’t be scared to optimize it and push paid amplification behind it to get those actions.

5. Make Time Your Friend

Time can be your best friend or your worst enemy. In this case, make it your friend. Focusing on the time left allows us to A) generate more attention around the issue, B) create a heightened sense of importance and C) focus on this one-time opportunity to make a difference.

Again, inspiring action requires telling a story, and at some point, there is an ending; make sure your advocates feel like they need to be a part of that story before the time runs out.

Getting people to take action is a challenge many brands face. What are some tactics you’ve seen brands use to inspire action?

This post was written by Braeden Mayer and Polly Mingledorff

Image credit: david roessli

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