Three essential steps to winning advocacy campaigns

By Jeb Ory, Phone2Action Co-founder

This week, the Phone2Action team assembled an all-star panel for a dynamic post-election discussion at the National Press Club. Joined by friends, clients and supporters in the Washington, D.C. Metro area, we all eagerly came together to probe how the new political landscape may or may not change grassroots advocacy and engagement in 2017. The panel included: journalist and TVONE Commentator Roland S. Martin; Vice President, National Community Empowerment at Univision Ron Estrada; Cofounder of Targeted Victory Zachary Moffatt; Vice President, Congressional Affairs at the Consumer Technology Association Tiffany M. Moore; Edelman SVP Group Director, Digital Strategy & Planning Aaron Guiterman; Telemundo General Manager Nicole Quiroga; and President & COO of the Daschle Group Nathan Daschle. All the panelists led an insightful discussion highlighting next steps for grassroots advocacy and engagement in 2017.

Now that Donald J. Trump has emerged as the victor of what will go down as one of the most historic elections of our time, we all concluded that now it’s time for the nation to get back to the business of policy and lawmaking. But what does that mean for advocates and those of us committed to bringing about hope and meaningful change? It means we need to remain committed and even more strategic in communicating and advocating for policy and causes that benefit the nation.

Below are three major action items from our discussion that will serve you well as we enter into what will be a new and uncharted political landscape.

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1) Personalize Your Outreach
Everything you communicate should be customized to your brand, mission and goals. As you launch advocacy campaigns and outreach to supporters, be sure to customize your communications and advertising by your target demographic and market. You should use video and infographics to educate and empower your supporters.

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2) Use a Variety of Social Channels
Using multiple social channels will maximize your outreach efforts tremendously. Since supporters will only engage if they see your campaigns, you must ensure that they actually see them! To be effective, you’ll need to use personalized outreach over social media (including social media advertising), email, text messaging, event tools, Facebook Messenger, and other apps. If you’re only using one or two, you will miss out on valuable opportunities to educate and mobilize supporters. Therefore you must integrate all social media communications into your weekly and monthly advocacy planning. Don’t assume a single message will resonate with all audiences: generate multiple follow up messages to ensure your message sticks.

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3) Be Social Savvy
Much has been said about the effect of social media on the election. But what’s clear is that Donald Trump is very active — especially on Twitter — as he received the equivalent of more than one billion dollars in free advertising. It just takes a small cohort of followers to elevate public pressure on an issue. Engage your followers. Communicate with them often. Let them know how much you appreciate their support and they will love you back with lots of likes, shares and reposts.

Be sure to enlist and encourage your grasstop leaders — top-tier supporters and employees to engage on campaigns and share your content as frequently as possible. Dozens of these high-profile supporters tweeting and Facebooking officials, and then sharing about their actions, will make a huge difference on your campaigns.

These tactics may seem like a no-brainer approach to engaging supports, and while they are indeed common sense tactics, you’d be surprised at how many organization take these steps for granted or let their efforts trail off when times get busy. If you remain committed to these steps, you’ll see your campaign power evolve into a robust machine that influences the powers that be.

If you missed our event, we’ve got you covered. Watch the recording of the live stream here.