Using Facebook as an advocacy tool
While it’s natural to assume that social media has permeated all aspects of business, nothing rivals face-to-face meetings in grassroots advocacy, says The One-Hour Activist author and Soapbox Consulting CEO, Christopher Kush. I caught up with Kush in our interview and asked about the popularity of email and other social media. He cited one client in particular that used Facebook to generate interest in face-to-face advocacy events. Here’s the excerpt:
CausePlanet: In Part Two, you present several helpful sections on writing an effective letter or email to your legislator so it gets read and circulated versus simply counted. Additionally, you cover skillful phone calls. Since the book was published, have communication preferences changed at all with the growing prevalence of email? And, are faxes still viable? (All coming in second to face-to-face, of course.)
Kush: It is fascinating how face-to-face interactions with lawmakers have remained powerful despite the social media explosion. Candidates for office love the prospect of clever video appeals “going viral,” but after the elections, the legislative process has proven difficult for social media to manipulate. I think one reason is that some core aspects of social media are a mismatch with legislative influence. Things like anonymity, speed of communication, depth of understanding and lack of geographic awareness all mitigate against social media’s effectiveness in the Capitol.
And now for some praise: This year, I saw several of my clients use Facebook to generate interest in face-to-face advocacy events. The Fragile X Foundation in particular was able to double the number of families who attended their 2012 Washington, DC, conference by providing a place where people could post their excitement about returning to the conference, seeing other folks they had met the year before, and following up in person with their legislators. Now, that was an example of social media making a strategic contribution by complementing more traditional approaches to influence (like face-to-face interaction).