Grassroots mobilization is a way to build public support for any type of change by building awareness and using it to support action and legislation. The more you mobilize and the bigger the movement, the greater chance you have to make an impact.
With the 24 hour news cycle and year-round interest in political issues, social media is now a key platform with which any elected official can leverage their campaign supporters to become legislative and policy supporters.
To ensure politicians maximize their ability to mobilize grassroots supporters, I am sharing 5 ways you should use social media for grassroots mobilization.
1. Consistency –
Congratulations! You won the election, but did you remember to post an update thanking those for their vote? Did you tell them what your next move is? Your supporters deserve consistent communications through social media year around.
If you leave them radio silent too long after victory, you will quickly see your friend count and followers drop off. Take Mitt Romney for example. He only updated his Twitter once on election day and once the day after election. He did not share unique information and quickly became irrelevant as a source of up-to-date news. He rapidly lost social media connections at the rate of roughly 500 people per hour the week after the election.
You can avoid this if you are consistent with your social media use. The goal is year around consistency to keep supporters coming back and mobilized after the thrill of the campaign is gone.
2. Be The Information Source –
Become the information source by sharing information and keeping people update-to-date on your plans, your issues, and what you are going to do. Social media makes it extremely easy for you to build a strong number of connections, keep them up-to-date, promote your issues, and share information. Make people feel comfortable coming to your for information and let them know you will consistently provide information.
There are unlimited ways to use Twitter and Facebook to share information. You can creatively show off your political prowess and become a hero to your constituents. You can post your thoughts or comments on political and social issues or post links to political stories or articles for others to read. You can promote important political platforms, activities, news, and events by inviting friends to events and sharing other information.
People will mobilize if you make it obvious and clear what the problem is, what the solution is, what you are going to do about, and that you will keep people up-to-date along the way.
3. Make the Ask –
To mobilize people to action, remember to make the ask. People need action items, so they can help advance change. Get others to help and tell them how you need their help. Give them numerous ways to help. Think about your political goals and translate them into actions people can take.
Having people take the first step is usually the hardest part, so consider lightweight actions, like tweets or likes, to make it easy for supporters to get involved. Get people to donate when you need money or volunteer when you need help. Encourage other people to take action on a political or social issue that is important to them. You can also ask people to register to vote and tell them to get their friends to vote.
4. Expand Your Influence –
Mobilize more people by expanding your social media influence. When you reach more people who care about your issues, then you will inevitably come across good contacts with influence and power. You will not have these contacts until you start expanding your social media use and connecting with more people.
Social media makes it easier for you to leverage your friends and connections to get the word out. The more people that spread your message means more eyes that will run across your message. Be a follower! When you follow other people, organizations, political groups, and news sites they are more likely to pick up your messaging. Belong to groups on social media sites that are already involved in political or social issues, or that are already working to advance a cause. This will allow you to mobilize people that are already helping out similar causes.
5. Engage & reward Participation –
Use social media to communicate with your grassroots network – and to fire them up!
Think Corey Booker. Are people telling you what bothers them? Then answer them. Are people telling you they will support your new legislation. Well answer them and let them know how they can help you! Use social media to find real-time information on what people are thinking about issues and legislation.
Think about what your audience values and reward participation. Reward participation without spending lots of money by offering powerful incentives to your grassroots groups. You can have dinner with a supporter or dedicate a flown flag. Think of creative ways to use social media to recognize supporters or to give them a more visible profile in your political endeavors. All you have to do is reply or retweet someone’s tweet. This takes no time and makes them feel like a million bucks. Ask for people’s opinions and acknowledge that you heard them. Plus, thank them for taking the time.
Now that you have mobilized your grassroots supporters show that you are going to take action. Use this support and momentum make the changes people want. With grassroots support you have the power to pass laws or bring up issues even if they are unpopular to other politicians.