Social media, particularly twitter, is one of the main ways that the Women’s Budget Group communicates its message. We live-tweet during the Budget every year, giving instant response to the Chancellors speech.
We pick up on trending hashtags and include journalists or politicians twitter handles in our responses, to make sure they notice us and know we are available for comment.
We also live-tweet other important parliamentary debates, commenting on the speeches made, and sharing relevant key facts from our research. We know that MPs may be checking their twitter feed while waiting to speak, so this can be a good way to remind them of our analysis and encourage them to quote us in their speeches.
Of course, we also use social media to promote campaigns. For specific events, it makes sense to generate traffic through thunderclaps or informal collaborations.
For example, during the 2017 General Election, we worked with other women’s organisations to produce a set of shared infographics on different themes. Every week, we focused on one theme and made sure that all the organisations shared it on various platforms. We scheduled tweets on the same issue in advance for particular days, so that we had a bigger impact.
During the debate on the Finance Bill in 2017, MP Stella Creasy used #feministbudgettakeover to put pressure on the government to do a gender impact assessment of the budget. We also used this hashtag to make sure our tweets on the issue were picked up by people following the campaign.
Blogs can be a good way to communicate analysis to a wider audience. WBG hosts blogs on our own website (which we promote on social media) and also writes blogs for other websites.
Good blog posts are generally:
Short – 500-800 words.
Snappy – start with a strong opening to make the reader want more.
Personalised – written from a point of view rather than a simple summary of research.
Understand the reader – when blogging for another site it is always a good idea to read other blogs on the site to get a sense of style and what people engage with.
End with a call to action – to follow on twitter, join the organisation, sign up to a campaign.
E-newsletters allow WBG to engage directly with members and supporters. In our newsletters we share information about our own research and campaigns, or research and campaigns from sister organisations. We also ask members to help with research projects, advertise meetings and events, recruit staff or volunteers and raise funds.
When writing our newsletters, we always try to consider the following:
Audience – who is the newsletter aimed at? Sometimes it is best to produce different newsletters for different groups so that people get information that is most relevant to them.
Frequency – some organisations produce a longer newsletter every month, but sometimes more frequent and shorter newsletters can have a better response rate. Information overload will make people switch off, so it is best not to send too much too often.
Subject line – a strong ‘headline’ means people are more likely to open a newsletter than something that simply says ‘newsletter’.
Can it be read on a mobile? Many people access their emails on a smartphone rather than a computer, so it’s important to check the newsletter’s mobile version.
Call to action – make it clear what you want people to do as a result of reading the newsletter.