In a world filled with a global 24 hour news cycle and our own obsessions with our social media channels, the information overload we deal with make it difficult for communicators to break new ground with undiscovered networks.

This is very true when we speak of activists – often without big budgets, supported by volunteers and working for the good of humanity and the earth, their challenge is big.  ‘Gaining traction’ on often unreported issues, or events not covered by the tabloid media, means make or break.

Activism works well on both twitter and Facebook but for different reasons. But twitter can bring you untapped audiences a lot quicker than Facebook, despite the 140 character limit. Here’s how

Bring your three key messages into your 140 characters

Harder than you think because you need to inform, evoke and educate here.  You need to say what it is, create a relationship or need to the audience then tell show them what you need them to do next.

  • Use a hashtag

Be succinct and check your hashtag isn’t being used for something else.  Think about using the hashtag to incite action or capture the essence of what’s at stake. For example #saveourreef #lockthegate

  • Get visual

A picture tells a thousand words and it can quickly convey the story and also give you a place to add in a few more words for context or even your call to action.

  • Lead to more information

Use a link shortener to optimise your space when you share your website or landing page which will give people the WHOLE story or a clear direction on what you want them to do to help.

  • Keep telling the basic story

Once your hashtag has taken off remember that new audiences will continue to come across your hashtag for the first time.  Make sure that if they search the timeline for your hashtag that there are tweets in there which are still providing the basics of the story.  Remember to use tweets, varied of course so you can get them published, that tells the crux of your story. This helps people come on the ride with you.

  • Be grateful

Make sure you are thanking people for retweeting on the hashtag or your account.  This not only helps you build a relationship with them it’s also a clear message of your convictions to getting the message out.

  • Don’t get too close

Yes, by all means Ping people using their twitter handles but don’t become a serial twitter pest.  If stuff is good and it means something to a tweeter they will be the one who makes the decision to be ultra-supportive.

  • Evolve your campaign

Build on your initial campaign by telling people about things like the increases in support of your campaign, highlight any media coverage or support from Government officials, celebrities or other key groups.  Tell them about successes as well as losses.

  • Make it easy for people to create change

Provide information through landing pages on your website or links other key people so that people can make contact, sign petitions, ask for change, all on your behalf.  People are more likely to help if the path to helping is make simple.

  • Tweet Back

Go on.  Have that conversation over twitter.  It shows your account is driven by humans who are willing to engage in conversation and help you understand what the campaign is all about.  Best thing about twitter conversations? People like to listen in and ultimately get involved.  By talking to one you can be heard by many.

  • Ignore or block the trolls

They are everyone so deal with it.  If they’re a real nuisance block or report them to twitter.  Otherwise ignore them or be gracious  Nowadays I usually just say ‘Namaste’ to trolls and they think I’m crazy by being nice and they just go away.  True story.