Using social media for campaigning

Social media is a great way of reaching people and getting them to support your campaign.

Getting your message out there

Social media has become a popular grass-roots community for political, news and entertainment commentary. It’s a great place to generate support, court wider views and converse – often with those with opposing views. And while it offers a great outlet for many general discussions, it also has the power to demand fundamental changes to domestic law, protect the environment, hold governments to account and help change industry behaviours for the better. It is very much a force for good but in some cases can be for the bad. Social media is now embedded in many of our daily lives; but it requires a cautionary approach while we develop our understanding of all that it can do.

Tips for using social media

  1. When using social media be open, be honest, be responsive, be personal and be transparent. Background information about you and your personal interests may help establish a relationship between you and your supporters, even if you are talking about your campaign. However, it is entirely your choice whether to share this information. Always remember, if you do include personal information, take steps to protect your privacy.
  2. Follow and build a community – actively engage with other charities, businesses, politicians and anyone else you like. Following hashtags is also a good way to keep up to date. Ask questions, share your experience and concerns, and generally get involved in the conversation!
  3. Respect copyright, fair use and disclosure laws. In order to protect yourself, you must obey the laws that govern copyright and fair use of material owned by others (including images). This can sound intimidating, but good practice is to link to citations of others' work and never quote more than small excerpts from another's publication or blog. Keep in mind that laws may be different depending on where in the United Kingdom you live.
  4. Respect others and be polite. Think about reactions before you post. 
  5. Respect privacy. Do not provide another's confidential or other proprietary information. Ask permission before publishing or reporting conversations, and never report those intended to be private.
  6. Don't pick fights. If you see your campaign misrepresented on social media, by all means consider pointing it out. Always do so with respect and stick to the facts.
  7. Remember that you are personally accountable. Be aware that what you publish will become public information and that ultimately you have sole responsibility for what you post in a blog, publish in an online forum, or on social media.

MPs on Twitter

Many elected representatives such as MPs and Councillors use Twitter, and it can be a useful way to contact them and keep up to date with what they are doing. You can find a helpful list of MPs on Twitter at mpsontwitter.co.uk/list