CAREER ADVANCEMENT / MAY. 13, 2014
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How To Use Online Communities For Digital Advocacy

online community

There are numerous platforms that candidates can use online in order to boost their reputation and reach. Apart from social media and email campaigns, one can also reach their target audience through online communities.

Online communities are groups of individuals who share a common interest or idea. This can be a sport, fitness goal or political views. Online communities are similar to forums. People can speak to each other directly, create groups or sub topics and address everyone in a thread. The closest social media platform that online communities can be compared to is Reddit.

There are several advantages that online communities have over basic forums and social media sites. Additional features allow easy sharing. The layout is a lot easier to manage, which can let you or anyone on your digital advocacy team to dive in during any point of the campaign.

Engaging Your Demographic Through Online Communities

Joining online communities is simple. One of the most popular platform for online communities is Google+, which would be a great start for your political campaign. Simply search for groups that are in line with your digital advocacy goals. Some communities will require screening; therefore, don’t forget to setup your profile. Such groups are worth the extra effort because people are usually more active in closed communities.

Once you’ve joined a good amount of online communities, it's time to start engaging your audience. Let them know about your political drives and events. Keep them updated with the latest statistics behind your campaign. The whole point of reaching out to your audience through online communities are regular updates.

Starting Your Own Online Community

Joining other communities is great, but eventually you’ll want to start your own. This can be a place where your followers and supporters can gather and talk about your political campaign. Unlike Facebook pages, online communities essentially focus on engagement. The main goal is for followers of the political campaign to post their own findings and information, which can be used to gauge reach.

Setting up an online community for digital advocacy is simple. Most platforms offer their services for free. Make sure you have photos and content that can instantly relate with your audience in order to bring in as many followers as possible.

Digital Advocacy Trends In 2014

Your online community strategy should be combined with emerging trends in order to increase reach and effectiveness. Below are the top two digital advocacy trends that have appeared in the latest campaigns.

Mobile Platforms: More and more people are browsing the internet and using mobile devices to access social media sites. This means that people could be watching your next speech on their mobile phones while eating dinner with friends.

For your next advocacy campaign, consider making your website optimized for mobile devices. Choose social media platforms that have user-friendly app versions.

Social Media Advertising: In 2014, social media sites have updated their advertising platforms, allowing political campaigns to setup an ad and have it approved within minutes. Because of these updates, it is recommended to consider running a few social media ads for your digital advocacy campaign for extra exposure.

Will you be using online communities for your digital advocacy campaign this year? What are some creative ways you reach out to your target audience? Share your experience with us.

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