29 Jan 2021
Social media allows you to share important updates and interact with likeminded people and members of your community.
Some benefits of setting up a group social media profile include:
- Growing followers who may support or join your group in the future
- Spreading awareness about your events, petitions and wins
- Having a platform to lobby local decision makers
- Ability to connect with others
Setting up your social profiles
We recommend building your social media presence on Twitter and Facebook to begin with. Once your profiles are set up, you can use the below checklist to make sure you’re ready to start posting content:
- Make sure your profile name is easy to understand, ie "Climate Action + your area"
- Use the same profile picture with the same image on each profile. You can find profile pictures and cover photos for Facebook and Twitter.
- Fill in any key information such as your location and a link to your website or events page.
- Make sure your "About Me" section on each social platform is clear, for example: "We're a Climate Action group working to promote sustainability within <insert your area>. Open to all. Sign up to join us using the link below."
Best practice for beginners
- Use clear and correct spelling and grammar so that your posts are easy for everyone to understand.
- Use attractive and relevant images when needed. You can find free images at Pixabay or Pexels. Or even better, if you're good at taking photos then you can of course use your own.
- Be clear about what you want people to do with your post. For example, if you want to increase the number of petition signatures, make this the focus of your post by directly asking people to sign and ensuring a link to the petition is included. However if you want people to start talking to you, ask them a question.
- Try to give your audience new or useful information, such as commentary on an important local issue you’re able to add insight to.
- Keep going and learning. Starting a new social media profile is a learning curve, some things will work well and others won’t. Over time it will become clearer what your audience responds to and your channels will grow.
- Use too many tags, links or hashtags. To make sure your posts are easy for people to absorb, try to not use more than three hashtags or one link per post.
- Post too little. Try to post at least 3-5 times a week on each of your profiles.
- Always be selling yourself. You should give people a reason to follow you by sharing information or updates of interest that aren’t necessarily linked to growing your group, petitions or fundraisers. For example, you could share insight about a relevant news story, or ask your followers a question to get a discussion going on something that's important to your local area.
Top tips for Twitter
- Follow other users. Twitter is a great way to connect with local people, local news, businesses, organisations and decision-makers, and the first step is to follow them. Try looking at similar profiles to your own (eg other green groups in the area) and check out who they follow as a starting point.
- Interact with fellow Tweeters. Twitter is all about conversation, so make sure you’re replying to relevant Tweets and adding something to the discussion. You can also share other people’s content by retweeting (RTing), so look for updates that will be of interest to your audience, for example climate news and local news updates.
- Share interesting news and updates. When you’re making your own Tweets be sure to consider what your followers may find interesting, and try to deliver that. For example, news of a "win" if your group achieves something in your local area, a recommendation for an environmental documentary about to air on TV, or a call to action to sign a petition relevant to your work.
- Tweet often. Try to Tweet at least once a day, but make sure you have something of note to update your followers on.
- Make use of hashtags. Hashtags are a good way to get your Tweets in front of more people. In your Tweet add a # in front of a relevant word to allow people to find your post when they search for or click on that hashtag elsewhere on Twitter. Take a look at similar profiles to you and take note of what hashtags they are using, then try them out. The hashtag we use is #TakeClimateAction
- Publicise and promote your Twitter account. Whenever you get the chance to promote your Twitter account, do it!
- Use the pin feature. Pin your Tweet to the top of your profile to draw attention to your most important message by clicking on the three dots in the top right hand corner of the Tweet and selecting "pin".
Top tips for Facebook
- Which page is right for you? Think about what you want out of Facebook. If you want a space to discuss issues with your members, start a Facebook Group. If you want to use Facebook for promoting your events and trying to recruit more people to your group or campaign, then opt for a Page. Of course, you can do both of these if you wish!
- Try to post at least 3 times a week. Facebook will otherwise flag your page as not relevant and show your posts to fewer people.
- Reply to comments and grow conversation. People feel valued when you take the time to reply to them, and starting a conversation will encourage people to engage with your group more in the future.
- Share relevant news stories. Links to popular websites such as news sites perform especially well on Facebook, as Facebook can tell that you are sharing good quality information.
- Don’t ask for likes or shares. Facebook forbids this! Instead, make your post extra interesting and worth sharing by including expert insight, exclusive updates from your group or posts with an emotional hook - for example a good news win with a picture of your group celebrating.
- Use the pin feature. Pin your post to the top of your profile to draw attention to your most important message by clicking on the three dots in the top right hand corner of the post and selecting "pin".
Recruiting social media volunteers
To get the most out of social media we would advise recruiting group members with specialist skills in digital marketing. To recruit someone to run your social channels you can:
- Put a call out on your social media pages, website and to your group members letting them know you are looking for a Social Media Volunteer
- Your volunteer should ideally have:
- experience running social media accounts
- strong writing and communication skills
- interest in the environmental movement.
- Make sure you maintain admin access to your social media pages should the volunteer wish to move on.
Social media for May 2021 elections
Social media is a great way to spread the word about the campaigning you’re doing around the mayoral, council or Senedd elections in May 2021. We’ll be providing some template resources for you to update and share on social media, so keep an eye on your emails, Slack and the elections webpage for updates.
In the meantime, here are some of our top tips:
- Build interest ahead of the elections. It’s important to post regularly in the months leading up to May so that your audience is already engaged by the time the election activity kicks off. Try to post every day, reply to all comments, and start building conversations with your audience about the upcoming elections.
- Explain why the election is important. In the run up to the elections it’s also important to make sure your audience is informed, understands the election process and why this election is important. To help aid understanding, you could share a link to an article explaining the election process.
- Use social media to share commitments you’ve got from candidates. If a candidate commits to a pledge during your meeting, why not share it? Even better if you have a photo of the candidate holding up the pledge on a placard. Make sure you tag the candidate in your post if they’re on social media and use #TakeClimateAction
- Get the word out about your hustings. If you're organising an online hustings, share the invite on your social media accounts. The more people you can get along to your online hustings, the better.
- Spread the word far and wide. Ask local organisations, businesses or news outlets to share your posts by DMing them (sending them a direct message on social media) or contacting them offline. You can also tag relevant local bodies and organisations in your images to get their attention.
- Encourage involvement. Encourage your followers to take part in your election campaign. For example, encourage them to Tweet at local candidates asking them to take the climate pledge.
- Share wins. It’s always great to share successes with your followers, so make sure to shout about any wins during or after the campaign.
With all your posts on social media, you want to ensure that you are sticking to our political impartiality rules, but this is particularly important during elections. Here are some things to consider and look out for:
- It’s totally fine (and encouraged) to share polls and facts that might be relevant to the election. But if, for example, you only share or retweet posts that show Conservatives in front, and from Conservative politicians, without ever sharing anything from a Labour politician, this could look like an endorsement to people reading your page.
- Don’t post anything celebrating or commiserating the result of the election, even once it’s over.
- If you hold an online hustings, don’t tweet about who “won” or whose policy you like the best.
- If you have a separate personal account where you tweet your opinion, that's fine, as long as you don’t write something like “leader of Climate Action Sheffield” in your bio – then people might see it as the view of the group as well.
The above guidance is particularly important to note if you're in Wales, as Senedd elections are regulated under the lobbying act.
Avoid sharing sensitive or revealing information that you wouldn’t want to see in a public space like Facebook.
If you’d like more advanced social media guidelines for campaigning, sign up to one of our training webinars.