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Leveling the Field on Social

I attended a session on social media strategy last week where the presenter emphasized the point that “social media levels the playing field,” in the sense that a tiny start-up or a grassroots not-for-profit are on the same level as major consumer giants like Nike or Apple.

This…might be a stretch. Nike and Apple have teams of graphic designers pushing out special visuals, they have community managers talking to different audiences online, celebrities being paid to share their content and they’ve got the money to boost posts and run highly targeted ad campaigns. Compared to your one-person shop and limited budget.

But perhaps, there is some truth to it. It is true that for organic content, you are using the same medium and once you’ve built an audience and earned Page Likes, you are delivering your message in much the same way every other brand in the world is. Even if Facebook limits organic reach to about 3%-5%, here are three quick ways to help reduce the gap between your organization and the bigger players.

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Humour comedy club

Successfully Using Humour to Generate Political Engagement

The marriage of comedy and politics dates back to MAD magazine covers, thoughts of Kevin Nealon and Norm Macdonald taking shots on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, or maybe it was Roger Abbott’s Jean Chretien impressions and the whole Air Farce troupe. More recently, Rick Mercer and Jon Stewart come to mind.

But the digital age has brought about more opportunities to push out biting comedy clips than ever before, and increasingly groups are using that tactic to involve young people. It’s not as simple as just putting up goofy clips to earn a laugh, though. Using comedy for political engagement is a tough balance.

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Using listicles

How You Can Use Listicles, Too

The BuzzFeeds and Vices of the world have cemented listicles as a viable method to share information quick and far. This election, listicles have been bouncing around the web as a new style of political reporting. So why do they work so well?

SHORT AND SUCCINCT

Listicles can be lengthy, but good ones have short points. This makes it easy for the reader to scan a story and quickly comprehend the major arguments.

MULTIMEDIA

Most listicles feature a photo or video after each and every point, making them engaging and easy to follow. The most successful listicles typically deploy comedy in those photos and videos to add a lighter edge to politics – typically a “serious” subject area.

EASY TO SHARE

Listicles are designed to be shared, so they’re packed full of language that’s meant to resonate with the reader. Unlike objective hard news stories, listicles can be built to entice agreement or anger, and then prompt the reader to share within their own networks for confirmation.

Reaching millennials

Finding the Millennials in the Election

Amidst the conversations of the role social media will play this election, a number of emerging platforms have been largely ignored. We’ve already written about theparties’ poor efforts to connect with students on traditional media, but how about on the online spaces millennials actually enjoy? While all of the leaders are active on Facebook and Twitter, millennials are increasingly joining online spaces where their parents don’t quite “get it.”

According to a 2015 study by Forum Research, 32% of Canadians aged 18-32 are on Instagram. Among leaders? Only Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper have accounts, and neither are particularly good at it – both simply re-hash content from their Facebook profiles.

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Target audience

Spotlight on Influence Campaigns

An influence campaign during an election is only as strong as its messaging. In other words, content is king.

Too often, organizations rush to share content without considering their objectives and audience, therefore sending out a diluted message.

Before launching any sort of communications plan (be that one tweet or a full orchestrated campaign), an organization must establish three things: objectives of the campaign, target audiences and key messaging.

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A troll under a Seattle bridge

“We Do Not Negotiate With Trolls,” Pt. 2 – Preparation

Last month, we talked about the best way to respond to negative criticism online. However, that post was all about the reactive – about turning around negative publicity and knowing how to respond.

This week we’ll talk about the importance of preparing ahead of time so your responses are ready to go.

Audit your organization

It might be uncomfortable, but the first thing you want to do is conduct an audit of what issues your organization may be criticised on. This can be done internally, but having an outside agency do it can help round it out and ensure it is more complete (and that you don’t cross anything off the list that you don’t deem “important” enough).

Once you have identified the topics that leave you more vulnerable for online backlash, develop a “Dirty 30.” Simply put, this document should list the 30 negative questions you would most likely be asked to comment on or criticized for.

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Trolls online

“We Do Not Negotiate With Trolls”, Pt. 1

Even though you don’t have to pay a toll to get onto social media, trolls still abound.

They sit on Twitter and Facebook waiting to pounce on unsuspecting brands, organizations and individuals. In truth, they can be scary. Their methods range from posting negative comments about your group to flooding your Facebook wall with graphic, inappropriate content in an attempt to get you to take it down.

It can seem overwhelming, but there are ways to navigate the – at times – rough terrain that trolls thrive in.

For detailed steps to take when responding to negative criticism, read on!

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