Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weldon Kennedy: How to reach your goals using Social Media

Here is the transcript of the presentation held on June 27th at El Kasbah Hotel in Kairouan, given by Weldon Kennedy director of organizing at
It was organized by E-Mediat Tunisian and the US Embassy and it was entitled:
How to reach your goals using Social Media?”

Weldon Kennedy: How to reach your goals using Social Media


Weldon Kennedy's Background
·Worked in Asia, Africa, and America on politics and sustainable development
·Currently he works at – Works on any issues people are interested in (political, social, etc.)
·Today he will be talking about how to use social media to create sustainable campaigns and how to set goals, create a strategy, and use social media to achieve these objectives

Question to the audience: What are your objectives?
·Fundraising to take care of handicapped children and parents, create centers to educate these children, and network with other organizations doing the same thing
·ATLMSD - Education and human development with young people
·ISPP – Working to (1) give support to political prisoners and then reintegrate them into society and (2) to promote human rights
·Tunisian Association to Support AIDS - works on awareness and against the sigma of people who are living with AIDS
·Summary –  Based on the interests of the audience, Weldon will talk about engagement and activism rather than service delivery and focus on awareness campaigns

Where to Start

First step: Let people understand the issue you are addressing
·In social media, you have to assume you are always talking to a new audience, and if you are doing a good job, you should always be reaching a new audience through sharing and engagement
·       Each piece of information needs to retell the story to bring people in by using personal stories and testimonies
·       Let people understand why you are doing what you are doing and why -  share your personal motivation
·Put your issue in context: for example, a photo of a forest that is about to be destroyed by bulldozers draws the viewer into the story and demonstrates what you are trying to do
·       Choose an image that shows people the difference between the good and the bad
·       Demonstrate the personal impact of your issue with one story

Second step: Step back and show the bigger image
·How does this impact the community where it is happening?
·Where does this happen globally? How can you address this same issue in your own communities?
·Show people how they can communicate effectively about this issue

Step Three: Plan in pieces
·Break the big objectives into small achievable pieces that can be intermediate steps to accomplishing your final objectives
·These pieces need to be specific and detailed
·This is one difference between traditional and social media – Instead of telling a long story with minimal reader involvement over a long period of time, participation with social media changes constantly (e.g., How many times a day do you check Facebook?)
·Because of this you need to constantly change your communication – If you say the same thing twice, no one will listen to you

Crafting Your Plan (Goals – Strategies – Tactics)

Goals (SMART approach)
·Specific – Goals should be detailed and well-defined
·Measurable – Need to be able to show when you have achieved them
·Attainable – They should be within grasp of the means that you have or can mobilize
·       This result is potential even if you can't personally do it yourself
·       For example, I cannot personally sign a petition ten thousand times, but it is possible that I can get ten thousand people to sign a petition
·Realistic – Really means something for the world
·       Will your action really achieve your objective?
·       For example, ten thousand signatures will not change a decision at the UN, but it might change a decision of the local government
·       Will they be able to meet this objective within your timeframe?
·       For example, it is is realistic to get these signatures in a month, but not in a day
·Timely – Set time limits for your goals
·       If you don't have a deadline, make one
·       This is important because people work best on a deadline, and they might never do it otherwise
·       For example, when do you start writing an essay for school? Would you have done it without a deadline?
·Strategies are the methods you use to achieve you goals – They are not what you are doing, but how you think about what you are doing
·       Strategies can be anything – Could also be to engage a certain number of people or get a certain number of signatures
·       You need to believe that you can succeed to engage people, vote, and spread the message
·       This is also based on the assumption that people do not know about your issue and that telling them will help you achieve your goal
·       Examples of Fundraising Strategies
·       Large donor fundraising by going after large donors on and offline
·       Peer pressure for social engagement through social media networks
·       Mission-specific fundraising such as having each funder sponsor one child
·       Peer-to-peer fundraising where members speak to their friends and families
·Strategies are also how you communicate how you are going to achieve your goal
·       You could decide to run a traditional media campaign through newspapers, magazines and TV
·       There are unlimited way of mobilizing social media and most of them have never been thought up or tried
·How do you use social media strategies?
·       Twitter storm – Everyone on twitter posts the same tweet at the same time so that everyone will see it and it will get buzz
·       YouTube – Have people make videos about why this is important to them, have a lot of people do this so that you are not just reaching a few people

·Tactics are tools for achieving tasks
·       Tactics are what you do
·       For example, if your goal is to encourage science in Muslim communities, you could create sharable content that is engaging and people want to watch and share such as a funny video about how much fun people have in a science lab
·Example: Japanese Tsunami
·       Vision – To help the Japanese people rebuild
·       Communicate individual story, set it in a larger context and then explain the goals
·       Story – A Japanese-American man had family in the area destroyed by the tsunami and had did not know for the first 24 hours if his family had survived. While he was waiting for news, he made a donation by text message as many people did around the world. He eventually learned that his family had survived, but they had lost their homes. He also found out that his mobile donation won't reach Japan for three months because the cell phone company was waiting for people to pay their phone bills and then bundle them and send them all together. He was upset by this because he knew that Japan needed the money immediately.
·       Goal – To get mobile phone companies to deliver donations more quickly as they did before so that the work will get there faster
·       Strategies – Three simultaneous approaches
·       Public mobilization
·       Media pressure
·       Government relations
·       How is succeeded
·       They gathered 66,000 mobile signatures facilitated by a “Share on Facebook” page that appeared after each personal have signed
·       The took these signatures to the man's senator (national elected representative) and asked him to take this to the Senate
·       They sent notices to news stations and got the man on every TV station in San Francisco – This is not always possible, but because people were already talking about Japan, this was an opportunity to insert his story into the coverage and get widespread publicity

Delivering all Goals = Repeating all Tactics
·Create a Content Management System (CMS) – This will be your database to track the methods of engagement with people and be the central resource for information sharing and gathering
·       It is important to know when people share or donate and why so that you can tailor your tactics accordingly
·       For example, if someone comes to one of your events for the first time and donates,  you want to make sure you continue to engage them on and offline
·       By keeping track of who reads and clicks and how often, you can develop tools to manage your content
·Sample tools
·       MailChimp or BestCairo – These are ways of contacting people by email or SMS that  allow you to follow them (these tools are specific to Egypt, but there are other Tunisian examples)
·       WordPress and tumblr – Free programs that allow you to make and maintain a CMS
·       Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, (and – These are the most popular communication techniques and they can be used to give people specific ways to become involved
·       Facebook is the most important tool because of the number of users and the frequency with which those users are online
·       If you are not doing Facebook well, stop doing everything else and do Facebook well
·       It is important to know your audience and what they will like and repost
·       The difference between a profile and a page
·       A page should act like an individual on Facebook but with its own identity
·       A page should reflect the interests, values and principles of the organization, which may differ from the individual identities of the members
·       Who does Facebook well? Lil Wayne
·       He has 28 million followers
·       He is known only to a relatively small audience, but almost everyone who listens to him follows him on Facebook
·       What can go wrong?
·       Example: A magazine in Argentina published a threat against a woman. Despite pressure from activists, the magazine refused to fire the author and apologize publicly. The activists decided to go on Facebook and target Fiat and Lacoste who were the two biggest funders of the magazine. They had one hundred people writing on their wall every day and now all of a sudden their were overwhelmed with comments linking them to violence against women. This has the desired effect of forcing them to pull their support for the magazine and convince the magazine to take the actions the activists were pushing for.
·       While this was good for the activists, this was bad for the companies
·       What can you do if your Facebook page is overwhelmed by negative comments?
·       “Don't try to blow the sand out of the wind” – It is best to wait it out rather than trying to fight back and engage in an argument online
·       Your best defense is if you have a large fan base that likes you and will step in a defend you against unreasonable accusations
·       Need to be strategic and effective in responses

Routine Execution
·Action – should be something very specific (for example, share this video with someone who was in your science class in school)
·Timely – just are your goals should be timely, everything you do to achieve those goals should also be timely
·Tangible jeopardy
·       Make people understand that if they do what you're asking them to do it will go down the road you are pushing for, but if they don't do this something negative will happen
·       They should understand that this is a choice and they can choose to make a difference or not
·Agency of users – make them believe they can make a difference
·       For example, Saudi women who are pushing for the right to drive decided not to target the King because they believed he would not change anything. Instead they decided to target Secretary Clinton and other female world leaders in the belief that international pressure would be more effective.  They succeeded in getting Clinton and Oprah to make statements.
·Demonstrate change – let people see when you have been successful
·       Let people draw their own connections
·       For example, instead of saying that we convinced Clinton to make a statement, explain that we ran a huge campaign and she decided to make a statement
·       Communicate steps toward a goal, progress, how far you've come
·Keep narrative- never lose sight of the story and of your larger goals

Contact Information: 

Twitter: @weldonwk

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