Recently I received an email from a first year U.P. Organizational Communication Student James Lacsamana. He is doing a research on the effective promotion and facilitation of advocacy campaigns through social media, and was asking for views, insights and opinion from key people in the field nationwide. To James, I hope this helps your research and more power to you!
James: What are your thoughts on the usage of social media sites by advocacy organizations to promote their advocacy campaigns?
Vic: Social media or social networking sites are a free medium that everyone can make use of or utilize. Social media is accessible nowadays where you can easily grab attention, get feedback and share information by triggering an emotion. This is also a place where you can find common interest and look for people who would gladly support an advocacy.
James: What are the benefits and drawbacks of utilizing social media sites to promote advocacy campaigns?
Vic: Promoting an advocacy on social media has a lot of benefits. It’s a listening and engaging tool. It’s an advocacy intelligence tool to get the feedback from your followers, improvements, other than that, it’s a medium to share your core mission and vision. It also enables your supporters to share and promote the information with the click of a button. For me, there is minimal drawback as social intelligence is present to correct and improve campaigns. It’s all about managing the perception and avoiding things that did not work before.
James: How can advocacy organizations ameliorate these drawbacks?
Vic: Listening to your followers is a key factor to better, avoid and prevent drawbacks from happening again. You may have updates from time to time but if you don’t listen to what others say – all your efforts will be put to waste. Take note, you must filter feedback and value feedback that are relevant to the campaign. I personally have used the SWOT Matrix. I’d like to quote its description from Wikipedia – “SWOT analysis (alternatively SWOT Matrix) is a structured planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture.” In this way, you are aware of any possibilities that may happen or that is currently happening.
James: How can advocacy organizations effectively use social media sites to engage the public in activism?
Vic: Online activism can be in any form, a retweet or share may represent. It all sprouts with a certain desire and with an emotional trigger. Advocacy organizations can effectively use social media to listen, inform and empower users to voice out. Hash tags and photos showing the advocacy are effective social media strategy to gather netizens with the same interest.
James: In general, what are your thoughts regarding the effective facilitation and promotion of advocacy campaigns through social media sites?
Vic: Social media is one of the most effective medium a normal individual can use and to have an effective facilitation and digital promotion of an advocacy, the group or individual should have clear objectives, strategy for advocacy sustainability, and achievable direct results.