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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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Twitter parties

Using Twitter Parties to Bolster Engagement

Twitter parties have proven to be one of the more successful ways to engage audiences with your organization or brand. The idea of hosting one can be daunting, but these easy tips should turn any Twitter party into a success.

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Local news hashtags

Using Local News Hashtags to Your Advantage

Anyone following this election has already become familiar with a few hashtags, namely #elxn42, #cdnpoli and #election2015. All organizations are vying for valuable space in that stream, but breaking through is a difficult task.

That’s why we recommend targeting local news hashtags to ensure your message is seen. For example, here in Ottawa we use #ottnews when talking about a local issue. Similar hashtags exist across the country and are important sources of information for the public and media alike, boosting your opportunity to attract media coverage.

This doesn’t work for everything, obviously. Big, national issues are not, by definition, local news. But don’t write off an issue too quickly. Try to find local angles and build those in. If you want to focus on health care, look at hospitals in the region and see if they’ve made any recent news. If you work for youth engagement, see if local post-secondary institutions have received public attention. Then alter your message on a national issue to be relevant to local level, and benefit from increased engagement with that audience.

Social media gaffes

How to Avoid Social Media Gaffes

So far, this election has been rife with candidates dropping out of the race due to social media gaffes. We’ve already written about this here, but the topic was a big hit at last night’s pre-debate panel with Ian Capstick and Kate Harrison, so it’s worth diving into a bit further. Even just two days ago another Liberal candidate was pulled for comments made on social media.

Obviously, the most important piece of advice regarding social media is that you should never tweet/post/Instagram/Vine anything that will come back to bite you. For a long time, users of platforms like Facebook and Twitter demonstrated naivete about just how public those platforms were. Up until a few years ago, privacy on social media was an afterthought.

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Toronto city councillor Norm Kelly

So You Want to Become the Next @norm?

There’s no denying that @norm was the Twitter account to watch in August. The 74-year-old Toronto city councillor raced to 130,000 followers and earned recognition in every major media outlet in Canada.

So, how do you replicate that success? While understanding the web works in weird, wild and mysterious ways, there are some important best practices to learn from @norm.

First off, be up-to-date on the biggest news in pop culture. Norm’s real rise to infamy came from him inserting himself into the rap beef between Toronto’s Drake and Philadelphia’s Meek Mill. Knowing what headlines are most important among the millennials that are most active on Twitter offer the best opportunities to be the next best thing.

Norm Kelly Drake Twitter

Norm tweets about glasses with Drake

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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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Twibbon campaigns

Using Twibbons to Garner Online Support

One of the greatest social media tools over the past six years has been the Twibbon. Since its appearance in 2009, the Twibbon has played an enormous role in social media advocacy campaigns of all shapes and sizes. This election, expect to see an example of a Twibbon coming to a friend or family member near you!

Twibbons are, at their most basic, a visual graphic that appears across the profile photo of Facebook and Twitter users. Depending on the industry, that could range from #CdnAg to something like “I Voted for Health Care.”

While some critics have written off Twibbons as forms of “slacktivism,” they remain an important part of any communications effort. Particularly as the userbase of Facebook ages, Twibbons offer an exceptional opportunity to build awareness, engagement and encourage action among target audiences for all groups.
Plus, with some design and messaging work, Twibbons can be set up quickly and easily. Contact MediaStyle for more information.