Top 10 tips
Here’s some tips to keep in mind with respect to your social media advocacy efforts on Facebook or Twitter.
On Facebook, which requires real names, be cognizant of your privacy. If you’re not comfortable with publicly posting to your member, that is okay. You can call or email instead. On Twitter, meanwhile, you may have a “handle” that isn’t your name. In that case, a member may discount your tweet or direct message because they can’t confirm you’re a constituent.
Connect social media to other advocacy
If you email a member or staff or meet them, share your social media contact information. This can provide another avenue for advocacy.
Post your advocacy
If you get a response on Facebook or Twitter from an office or member, post that to your accounts. Share the message to your page and acknowledge (tag and thank) your official.
“I had a positive Facebook exchange with [insert Member] today about patient assistance. Thank you for responding to my views, @[insert handle].”
Know your hashtags
As you most likely know, hashtags on Facebook and Twitter can signal or boost your content by indexing your post along with other posts that use the same tag. By coordinating a simple, concise hashtag, you can make your advocacy more prominent. Elected officials or advocacy groups may already use a hashtag, so check out their pages first to use the same hashtags as applicable.
PAN often uses the following hashtags:
- #MedicarePartD (commonly used when discussing out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications)
- #Medicare (commonly used)
- #Healthcare (often used for the broader discussion)
Avoid debates or arguments
While some polite back and forth can occur on either Facebook or Twitter, it’s best to avoid long or heated arguments. Post your message, then encourage others to do the same to amplify the issue you care about. You won’t win over your member in the Facebook comments section or in a Twitter thread.
Make sure you have the apps
For sending quick messages or comments on Facebook or Twitter, be sure to download and log into the app(s) on your phone. These can be very useful for meshing potential in-person visits on the Hill or in the home district with a simultaneous social media push.
In addition to advocacy, social media can be a good place to ask questions. For instance, if you’re looking for information from an agency but can’t find it online, tweet at them and they may respond with a direct link to what you need.
Use your biography
In your Facebook or Twitter “About Me” section, link to our advocacy action center outlining your requests or positions. This can be a useful shortcut for staff looking for resources or exploring an issue further after having met with you.
Members often post press releases or similar updates on social media. You can read these the moment they’re posted by following a member and turning on notifications
Form expanded networks
By posting and messaging on social media, you can make connections with others interested in the same issues and who share your policy positions. Social media can be a powerful tool for grassroots coalition.
Bring your personality and story to your outreach, no matter what form it takes.
- Hi, I’m [name] from [town/city] and I have [chronic disease or illness] but am thriving, thanks to a 12-month grant that covers my out-of-pocket prescription drug costs from the @PANfoundation. #MedicarePartD
- [Tag @ Senator/representative], please consider an annual cap on out-of-pocket prescription medication costs to protect older adults and people with disabilities. This will help 45 million people like me! #MedicarePartD #healthcare
- Here’s my favorite resource from @PANfoundation: [link to an article, video, or resource you’ve found helpful!]
- [@Senator/Representative], evenly distributing out-of-pocket prescription costs throughout the year can help patients better plan for their medication expenses—instead of paying extraordinary sums at the beginning of each year. Consider this reform to #MedicarePartD! #Medicare #healthcare
- [@Senator/Representative], capping out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions will help millions of #Medicare patients like me. Please reform #MedicarePartD!