Why Digital Advocacy is Critical for Social Movements

Evolving Platform Landscape: Social media platforms constitute a dynamic and ever-changing landscape, continuously ushering in new changes. Each day brings a new headline: Twitter changes its name to X and requires varying verifications such as Twitter Blue and gold badges; Facebook launches Threads with a record 100 million users – only to have traffic cut in half the next month, and viral videos on TikTok are on the rise it seems just about everywhere. New features, algorithms, and trends emerge regularly, and it is tough to stay up to date. With almost 5 billion social media users worldwide in 2023, it is more important than ever to meet your audience where they are and where it makes the most sense for your campaign. Staying informed and being ready to pivot strategy is essential for success in the ever-evolving realm of social media within your advocacy campaign. Perhaps mobilizing grassroots audiences for a climate change campaign on WhatsApp makes more sense than TikTok videos or conducting a Spaces event on X. It all depends on the content you have and where you can mobilize most efficiently to reach your target audience. There is no one size fits all approach. The power of social media is that you can reach grassroots and grasstops leaders to educate and influence. The magic and fun of digital campaigning is that you can research, test and optimize the channels that are most effective for your movement.

Advertising is Still Critical, but You Can Face Roadblocks Globally The relationship between your organization’s social profile and those who follow your page is complicated. Platforms have limited the organic or non-paid reach of your posts to as little as less than 1% of your total followers. While this has made paid advertising a necessity, the ever-changing advertising policies for social issues and cause-based advertising on X and Meta make it challenging. Whether it’s subscribing to Twitter Blue or addressing in-country social issue ad verification, there is no single blanket approach to global advertising.

Influencers are Key In the realm of social media advocacy, influencers aren’t just social media stars – they’re the catalysts for change!  Whether they’re respected public health leaders, esteemed doctors, or passionate parents, these influencers wield a unique power. They don’t just chat with followers; they have the clout to reach decision-makers and the ability to create compelling content and inform social change. So, why are they vital? Because they can turn your advocacy campaign into a persuasive force that decision-makers can’t ignore! Influencers are vital for social media advocacy campaigns because they can.

AI is coming, but not really here yet: While we understand the transformative potential of advanced technology such as AI in bolstering non-profit efforts, we also see potential risks and pitfalls to avoid. By leveraging AI, we can streamline tasks, enhance workflows, and boost productivity. Non-profits are increasingly embracing AI in advocacy campaigns to elevate their mission, generate compelling content that resonates with their audience, and craft effective correspondence to engage with legislators and policymakers. It’s vital to explore these opportunities while also minding for risk management in regard to privacy, misinformation and content bias.

Digital is still the best way to invest in movement building sustainability Digital communications is the single most effective investment social movements can make to educate and mobilize the public as well as engage key opinion leaders and decision-makers. Digital platforms offer cost-effective and measurable means to reach hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people online. Social movements can invest in building the capacity of digital staff within organizations, empowering key digitally savvy actors, and incorporating paid advertising and influencer programs to drive social change. These ingredients drive a sustainable ecosystem of communications to build a movement of inspired advocates who can be engaged consistently over time to drive change.