Social media is not only a key tool in pushing your campaigning forward but a great way to connect with others who might share your passion for tackling the Climate and Ecological crisis. Social media is also, a total mind field, and increasingly, we are seeing the negative sides of social media on our mental health. To address that we have laid out this guidance with some tips and strategies, and link out to some useful resources that we hope will get you going and to look after yourself on social media.
As different platforms have their different strengths and weaknesses. For example Instagram is great for images, while Twitter is predominantly text based, and Facebook is the largest and most versatile platform. You will need to think about what you want out of social media platforms and prioritise them accordingly. In addition to this, the demographic profile of people who use different social media platforms can be quite different. It’s good to think about what sort of audience you’re trying to reach out to and what platform is best for doing that.
(link to sample posts and tweets) Here is a link to some key messages that you can use to promote the CEE Bill Alliance, although we strongly suggest that you tailor these for your local area.
We also have a CEE Bill Alliance social media packs here including Facebook Frames, banners and logos. (link to social media pack – a downloadable file)
Tip 1 - Plan your social media
Social media is most effective when you plan your content, rather than posting reactively each day. Of course, sometimes it is good to be responsive to current events but it also pays off to make a broad plan as in the long run it saves you time.
Things to think about when making a social media plan:
Use a variety of types of content throughout the week: videos, pictures, quotes, articles
Cover a variety of topics throughout the week: news, policy, local activity, updates on campaigns, inspiring stories
Aim to share other accounts’ content about 50% of the time and produce your own content the other 50%
For practical guidance, take a look at Hootsuite’s guide, here, to making a social media calendar, with tips and templates.
Tip 2 – Know your platform
Limited to 280 characters to put your message across. Here are some top tips for making the most of Twitter:
- Short and sweet. Don’t feel you have to use all 280 Characters many well crafted tweets use fewer. Shorter can be better. Keep it to the point.
- Tag you are it. Make sure to tag relevant people by including their username, so if you want us to see your tweet include @CEEBill_NOW which means it is more likely they will see your message. Add hashtags, especially our own, #CEEBill, so that it links your message with others who have used the same hashtags. To use them to their greatest effect make sure to only use 2 or 3 relevant tags and Hashtags, max. It’s not Instagram - don’t go tag/hashtag-crazy. Putting mentions and hashtags at the end of a tweet, if possible, helps screen reader users figure out what is being said
Note that you can use hashtags for key words. Apart from #CEEBill, you might also want to include a hashtag for a relevant event or topic.
- Spread the news. If you’re including a link to a news story, rewrite the headline (don’t just repeat it) or offer a simple and relevant sentence or two on why it’s important or relevant to the CEE Bill
- Keep it visual. Use photos/short videos as much as possible. But only if they’re relevant, of course. Handheld selfie videos from actions, or showcasing the voices of those affected by the crisis, can be particularly effective. Twitter has a 2 minute 20 second limit for videos.
Making it accessible.
Twitter lets you add alternative text (alt-text) to images in a tweet, but you have to turn the feature on in your settings first. Go to Settings > Display and sound > Accessibility and check the “Compose image descriptions” box. Add alternative text to all images you post.
- Follow You Follow Me. Following people will give them a notification that you’re doing so, and they may look at your profile and choose to follow you back.
- Get Social. You can reply to people and engage in conversations, and/or “like” other peoples’ tweets by clicking the heart icon. This can be a great way to build engagement and collaboration, or even make new friends. Retweet other users if they’re relevant. If you want you can add a sentence or two on why the tweet is important for the CEE Bill, but you don’t have to – lots of tweets speak for themselves.
- Build connections. Don’t just self-promote! Use Twitter as a space to build your collaborations and community, and raise up other people doing work relevant to the CEE Bill. Retweeting and replying to others is great for this. Reply to your mentions. If someone mentions you in a tweet, or replies to one of your tweets, acknowledge them, reply, and thank them if appropriate. Ask friends and allies to retweet your important tweets. This can be particularly handy when you’re starting out and haven’t yet got much of a following. Keep an eye on your DMs (direct messages) if you have them turned on.
- Keep regular. Tweet at least once a day. Being active on the platform, even if it’s just retweeting and liking other people’s tweets, is a good way to keep up your engagement.
Try to be useful, original, and contribute positively. What makes others want to follow you, what can you provide them with, what sets you apart? What’s your niche? E.g. local knowledge, expertise, providing information.
- Go Live. Live tweeting from an event or action can be really great for engaging people in a rally, demo, fundraiser or webinar. Just make sure to check for people’s permission to be included in photos, and don’t include children unless you have parent permission.
- Don’t take it personally. Try not to get involved in public arguments. Sometimes it’s important to correct or clarify yourself if someone challenges you on something you’ve tweeted, but normally trolls (people posting inflammatory and digressive tweets) are just trying to provoke an emotional response so best ignored.
As your audience grows, you may want to use as scheduler such as, HootSuite to help you plan and schedule some of your tweets ahead of time.
Great platform for reaching out with groups, sharing events and news and providing platforms for conversations.
- Get a page. If you’re a member of a local group, your group likely already has a page or group on Facebook (If you don’t, check out this resource for tips on setting up a page). Here are some tips for best practice on posting to your page:
- Keep it short. Short posts are often better. Sometimes posting a long paragraph of text is useful, but engagement is often highest when the post is short (two sentences) and readable.
Include the #CEEBill hashtag. Hashtags aren’t used as much as on Twitter and Instagram, but including the #CEEBill hashtag is still worth it so people searching the hashtag will see it.
- I don’t just like it, I love it. Likes, comments and shares are important. The more a post has, the more people will see it. Make sure you respond to comments and encourage people to contribute.
- A picture is like a 1000 words. Include images or videos. This is important for making sure your post gets viewed.
- Positive vibes. Keep it positive. Posts with a positive tone generally receive more likes.
- Get local. Personal stories can make a big impact. You could post stories from local people. Think about who your Facebook friends are - e.g. your friends and family - and how to make your #CEEbill posts interesting and relevant to them
- Sharing is caring. Share other people’s posts. You might want to share posts from relevant local accounts like news channels and local newspapers, or from other organisations and local groups involved in CEE Bill. But always think about whether the post you’re sharing will be of interest to your own followers.
- Regular is best. Post at least once a week (but ideally every day or so). Otherwise Facebook will flag your page as not relevant, and show your content to fewer people.
- Who’s invited? Events are a great way to get people involved and learn more about your work and event pages are great for promoting a local action or event. You can set up pages for events, linked to your page.
Making it accessible.
Always add captions and alt text to images. Facebook automatically generates alt text for photos, but this often isn’t very detailed so you probably want to edit it. Find a step-by-step guide on how to edit alt text here.
The same goes for videos. Facebook adds automatic captions, but you should either add your own captions into the video itself, or edit Facebook’s automatic ones to make sure they’re correct. There’s a guide for how to do so here. If you do a live stream on Facebook, you could provide a sign language interpreter, or upload the video with captions as soon as possible after the event.
- Privacy Think about your privacy and sharing settings. Even if your profile is set to private, you could make an individual post public to maximise how many people will see it if it gets shared widely.
- Group together. You may also have a Facebook “group” – different from a page in that it allows a space for members to discuss issues on more of an equal footing. Many of the same tips apply, but keep in mind that this is a space for conversation amongst a community, not just for you to broadcast your views to an audience.
A very visual app and great for sharing images and videos. You can share images or video posts with a maximum of 10 images in one gallery (similar to on Facebook), Stories i.e. photos or short videos that last for 24 hours only, or even post longer videos to IGTV. Here are some best practices:
- Quality images Post high quality images. Post content that’s bold, bright, engaging, inspiring. Photos of people are great, as long as they’re not looking bored.
- Keep it positive! Instagram is well known for motivational and enthusiastic content. A sense of excitement and action is often best for engaging your audience on Instagram. (Of course seriousness can be appropriate too when it’s called for.)
- Use hashtags. Hashtags are really important on Instagram, unlike other platforms. Check for hashtags that are relevant to your local area, are being used by local organisations and businesses. You could create a hashtag for your local group or for CEE Bill in your area. Of course use #CEEBill as well.
- Post regularly - once or twice a week, at least. Like other platforms, the more you post, the better for engagement.
- Get social. Follow others. The more you follow others, the more likely you’ll get followed back. Repost other people’s posts. You can repost images that other people have posted to your Feed and/or your Stories. Make sure you credit the original source.
- Go Live Live streaming or posting on Stories can be good for amplifying actions and events to your followers.
Making it accessible.
Like on Twitter and Facebook, you should add alt-text and captions to your images. Instagram automatically generates alt-text, but it’s usually not that detailed. To edit this alt-text when you’re making a new post, go to Advanced Settings > Write Alt Text.
TikTok is the hot new social media platform on the block … Why not give it a go? We don’t have guidance on this (yet), but check out Sunrise Movement for inspiration. A lot of the tips for other platforms are also relevant for TikTok.
Linkedin utilises a lot of the same tips as Facebook and if you have a page you can link your facebook page so that when you post it posts to Linkedin at the same time (this works for instagram too). We have provided some links guidance on this, which are, for instagram and for linkedin (Ask Casper).
Tip 2 - Making it Accessibility
Whatever platform you’re using, you should make your content accessible to all.
- Always add captions, subtitles and/or alt text to images and videos. Describe what is happening with enough detail so that anyone who can’t see the image itself knows what’s going on.
- When using hashtags, capitalise the first letter of every word. E.g. instead of #susanalbumparty use #SusanAlbumParty
- Try listening to your posts with a text-to-speech app to see how they sound.
- Bear in mind 2.7 million people in the UK are colour blind. Use a colour contrast checker like this one to make sure images you upload are accessible.
- Not all screen reader or text-to-speech apps read out emojis. Those that do, read out the full description of the emoji which can take a long time. For example,😝🍀would read “face with closed eyes and stuck out tongue” “face with closed eyes and stuck out tongue” “four leafed clover”. Avoid using an extreme amount of emojis.
- You can find more specific guidance for each platform above. For more in depth guides, see RNIB or the Universal Design Center.
Tip 3 – In general
- Keep language chatty, accessible, relatable and human. We want to reach and appeal to as many people as possible.
- Make all content accessible
- Always fact-check and re-read before posting, to avoid silly mistakes or having to delete later
- Publicise and promote your Twitter handle, Instagram handle and links to your Facebook page whenever possible. Add them to printed materials (flyers, posters, etc), email footers, etc.
- Research hashtags before using them. (Sometimes a hashtag may not mean what you think it means, or be used by another group you may not want to be associated with.)
- Engage and interact with key stakeholders in your local community. Use social media to build up your networks and collaborations. E.g. local businesses, local councillors, community groups. Follow people back and reply to them.
- Creatively adapt current memes and formats
- Always credit other people’s content when posting it. Especially artists.
- Post at peak times (e.g. morning commute, lunch break, evening commute)
- Retweet and engage with other accounts demanding action on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
- Don’t share personal or sensitive information
- Don’t use complicated or academic words or jargon that may alienate your desired audience.
- Don’t use aggressive or offensive language. We want to engage and inspire, not anger people.
- Don’t use marketing language. The Climate and Ecological Bill is not a corporate product that we want to sell.
- Don’t post all your daily social media content within an hour or two. Spread out your posts during the day.
- Don’t use defeatist language. Keep it inspirational - that’s how we’re going to inspire people to choose to embrace the changes we need to make and back the CEE Bill.
- Don’t follow everyone - you want to keep your timeline/feed as useful as possible.
- Don’t overuse hashtags - especially on Twitter and Facebook.
- Don’t engage with climate deniers, conspiracy theorists, or trolls. It’s just not worth it.
Tip 4 - Useful resources
Digital Reporting Tips (RiseForClimate.org)