Using Social Media to Advance Reform
The traditional ways to communicate about our work– word of mouth, newsletter mailings, and ask letters— still do, in fact, get the job done. But with advancements in social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and listservs – we can get our messages out even better and more quickly, to more and new people.
The W. Haywood Burns Institute in Northern California is a prime example of the success that can be achieved with a comprehensive social media strategy to stay in touch with the media, subscribers and practitioners. Utilizing several social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter accounts, a YouTube channel and a blog, the Institute has been able to sustain their impact and build new interest in their organizing efforts and research.
“I think that social media has become the great equalizer,” said Lauren Jones, communications associate for the Haywood Burns Institute. “Financial resources are usually very tight, so these new low-cost platforms make for an amazing opportunity to spread the word. In the past, the model was different: you had to become really chummy with a reporter, or spend a lot of money on an ad campaign. Social media isn’t like that. It’s free, it’s accessible, and if you know how to use it really effectively, it can be just as powerful as a traditional PR campaign. But it does take work.”