A New Social Strategy: How to plan for the unplanned

If your organization is comfortable speaking up about how your mission does or does not line up with certain political policies or statements, social media is the perfect place to take a stance. You can reach a wide audience, respond to critics, and get your message amplified by supporters. When devising your organization’s social media strategy in uncertain times, keep in mind the fine line between the (often very personal) soapbox of social media and the overarching messages of your communications strategy: you want to uphold the public mission of the organization without pushing personal agendas or alienating anyone. Below are some suggestions for balancing this line, keeping the message positive, inclusive, and assertive.

How to take a stance as an organization

Listen

Being aware of what your volunteers, supporters, and social media followers think is the first step. Follow these people on social media (or add them to private lists) to stay plugged in to the current discourse. Read their messages and track their engagement with your posts. What are their norms, not just in terms of political beliefs, but, most importantly, in how they communicate online? By listening to them, you will understand their perspectives and voices so you can better communicate with them.

Build Community

Join forces with other organizations to reach new audiences. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with organizations that are very different from yours, as they are more likely to connect you with new people. Also, involve your followers in the communications strategy: people like to feel that their voices are heard by the organizations they love. Tell stories that show your organization’s impact.

Advocate for Advocacy

If you are not a political organization or a team of advocates, you can still advocate for advocacy, (so to speak). You have a platform to encourage others to take stances of their own, both on social media and off. Show followers how easy it is to volunteer, share a story, or make a donation. 

Prepare to Pivot

News updates come in every day, hour, and minute. Everyone is being inundated with new information, which rapidly changes decisions and opinions. Your organization needs to be proactive and reactive: get a step ahead of the discourse by staying tuned in, but don’t be shocked when new information is revealed, shifting the narrative completely. Plan ahead for how you will pivot your messaging if need be. Don’t plan campaigns that focus on a specific presidential action or buzzworthy moment, since those are fleeting. Be timely, but don’t worry if you can’t respond to every action or article. 

A timely tweet can make a real (impactful) splash. Click To Tweet

Great Nonprofit Examples

Asia Society

Asia Society recruited Asian Americans in New York to offer advice to President Trump. A great example of letting the community, not the brand, do the talking.

DoSomething.org

DoSomething.org encouraged young people to send in selfies with messages of diversity and inclusion to build a “Solidarity Wall.”

Center for Reproductive Rights

The Center for Reproductive Rights teamed up with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood for a campaign of shareable images that read like protest signs to educate social media users about their rights.

Greenpeace USA

Greenpeace USA is running a social media campaign imagining what the world would look like without the EPA in response to Trump’s stance on Climate Change.

Pete Souza

Okay, so not a nonprofit, but former White House photographer Pete Souza is nailing the “reference the news without directly referencing the news” approach.

Have a favorite nonprofit response to the current political climate? Share it with us @WholeWhale.