Digital Tactics for Local Parties: 6 Best Practices for Facebook
June 27, 2018
Facebook has become an essential tool for organizing. A Facebook page makes it easier for people to find your party, see your events, and hear your message. The way you use your Facebook page can make a big difference in how people view and engage with your local party. These best practices will help you get the most out of your local party’s Facebook presence.
1. Know Your Purpose
Imagine going on a canvas without a walk list, without a script, and with no direction as to what kind of conversation you should have when someone answers the door. You might end up having some interesting conversations, but chances are they won’t be very effective.
In the same way, aimlessly posting to Facebook might be interesting, and even entertaining, but it won’t be effective. So when you post, know your purpose.
Generally speaking, your purpose will fall into one of three categories:
- Building your community
- Engaging your community
- Activating your community
By building your community, you’re actively trying to get more followers － more people who will see your content, like event invitations and volunteer asks.
When engaging your community, you’re involving people in the story of your party by sharing video, photos, and updates that communicate who you are.
When activating your community, you’re directing people to take action － like voting or volunteering.
As you craft a post, think about what you want the outcome to be. You should have one goal in mind, what we refer to as the “Call to Action”. Do you want to attract new followers? Encourage a discussion in the comments? Get people to sign up for a volunteer shift? Your Call to Action should mirror that by asking people to invite their friends, share their thoughts in the comments, or click a link to sign up for a shift.
2. Deliver on Your Purpose
Once you know your purpose, craft content that will accomplish it.
If your goal is to activate your followers, be clear about what action you want them to take and make it easy for them to take it. For example, if your purpose is to recruit volunteers, include a link to where people can sign up. Be clear from the first sentence about your ask. Communicate what you need, why are you asking for it, and why it is important.
If your goal is to engage your followers, you better have an engaging story. For example, you can share an interesting conversation a canvasser had with a voter, a volunteer’s story about why they got involved in the party, or a candidate’s story about why a certain issue is so important to them.
At the center of your digital presence should be the real-life experiences of real-life people － whether that’s party members, volunteers, candidates, voters, or constituents.
3. Include (Good) Photos and Video
Photos and video help communicate your story. They are much better at catching people’s attention as they scroll through their newsfeeds than text alone. Make a point to get good photos and video at party and campaign events, and share them with whoever runs your Facebook page quickly so they can post them with a related call to action.
4. Work the algorithm
Your goal is to get your content in front of as many people as possible. Facebook doesn’t make that easy － unless you want to pay them. But there are strategies that will help you reach more people for free:
- Invite more people － your followers can invite their friends to like your party’s page by clicking “Invite Your Friends” on the right-hand side of your page, under “Community.”
- See your posts first － when your followers click on the “Following” button on your page, they can select to see your posts first and receive notifications.
- Like, comment, & share － The more likes and comments a post receives, the more likely people are to see it in their feeds. So encourage your followers to like and comment on posts. Of course the best thing your followers can do is share the post directly to their personal pages so it appears in their friends’ newsfeeds!
5. Use Facebook Events, but Don’t Rely on Them
Events are one of the most useful features on Facebook. You can use a Facebook event to easily alert followers to events, track RSVP’s, and easily send out updates and reminders. Best of all, posting events on Facebook makes it easy for newcomers to find you in real life. So add all of your public local party events and make sure they are visible on your events page.
You can also ask partnering organizations and campaigns to add you as a co-host on events so those events appear on your Events page, too.
But while Facebook is a good way to reach some people, it is not a substitute for traditional organizing tactics, so you should still use phone calls, mail, and email to invite people, confirm attendance, and send reminders － best practices we cover in our course on Campaign Events.
6. Experiment and Pay Attention
At the end of the day, the best Facebook strategy is the one that works. That might be different depending on your party’s goals and the way your followers interact with you online. Take note of what kinds of posts are performing best. Over time you’ll learn what resonates most with your followers and be able to make strong posts in a snap.
If you want to learn more about how to best implement digital strategies for your campaign, check out our Digital 101 course!
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