Story of change

The Fight for $15 and Fairness shares five tips for growing your movement on social media

Published on 26/06/2018

Last year, after years of organizing, workers won a $14 minimum wage and better labour laws, including ten personal emergency leave days and equal pay for equal work for part-time and temporary workers.

The Fight for $15 and Fairness, a grassroots movement led by workers, labour groups, community organizations, faith leaders, and more, was instrumental in campaigning for the changes brought by Bill 148. In addition to our on-the-ground organizing efforts, we also relied on social media to garner support for our work.

It has become commonplace to talk about the impact of social media on movements and campaigns for change, and how platforms and tools available can help advance your work. While social media can’t replace face-to-face outreach, it can help your campaign in three ways:

  1. Distributing information on your issues and debunking myths;
  2. Showing that your issues have widespread support so that even more people take notice; and
  3. Bringing stakeholders and supporters together to organize on the ground.

Here are five things we learned from organizing for decent work:

1. Ask people to join, follow, or support your work

Our first simple step in garnering support was asking people to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We use these platforms the most, but you can encourage your network to follow you on whichever medium you find most effective.

2. Encourage people to make their support visible by using images, infographics, and hashtags

If your organization or campaign has a hashtag or associated images, let your followers know and encourage them to use those markers in their posts. This lets other people know there is a community they can join.

For instance, our website has factsheets, infographics, posters, and other symbols of $15 and Fairness that people can use in their posts. We also encourage supporters to tag their posts with #15andFairness.

15 and Fairness campaign sign

3. Use social media to help with myth busting

No matter what issue you’re working on, you will likely encounter some common myths that are often cited as arguments against change. If you’re concerned about the framing of an issue or just want your network to be aware of the current conversation, you can use social media to promote your position.

You will find that posts on social media often attract negative comments, especially if your work revolves around advocacy. It’s not always easy to reply to such comments but doing so when you can is helpful. A brief, respectful response that pulls from your personal experience will often encourage other supporters of your issue to respond as well. Even if you can’t change one person’s mind, many others will learn from the comments you post.

Another simple way your followers can help debunk myths without offering a personal response is by sharing or retweeting a well-researched article on the issue. We found that many followers were most comfortable sharing our posts with links to media articles relating to decent work.

4. Keep your issue on the agenda

Social media can be a great way to keep your issue on the agenda, especially in the time following a political transition.

You can use social media to show your local candidates that a particular issue is on your mind, ask candidates questions on your issue, or follow organizations doing similar work.

5. Boost local organizing

Let people know how they can take part in your local outreach and actions. Even if it’s a small event, create an event page on Facebook; this will let your followers know when it is happening and how they can participate. At your events, don’t forget to take a group photo (with everyone’s permission) and share it with your hashtag. You can also encourage attendees to take photos and share them.

Two social media examples
Social media will only be effective as an organizing tool if you’re investing enough time. You have to be consistent and engage your supporters to build and maintain momentum around an issue.

And, remember, as important as social media will be for the success of your movement, it can never replace organizing in person in your community.

Shawna is the Membership Development & Communications Organizer at the Workers’ Action Centre.

Type of Change

Organizing for change

Summary

It has become commonplace to talk about the impact of social media on campaigns for change. Here are five tips on how you can use social media to grow your movement.

Author(s)

Shawna

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