Turn an online message into a grassroots movement.
Learn how to motivate followers to actively promote your cause. The ways people can contribute take many forms, from speaking out to attending events and volunteering.
Empower others to share your message. Be clear about what you stand for and how people can use their own voice to spread the word.
Define actions to take
Building support from people online can be highly effective if you need a lot of people to show their support for your cause, such as showing public demand for a change in legislation or cultural acceptance of a marginalised group. Providing your Facebook community with concrete actions that can be taken online also helps attract new people and offers supporters quick and easy ways to participate and spread your message. Ask people to take online actions such as:
- Sharing a post, photo, video, article or infographic from your Page
- Changing their profile photo
- Signing a pledge
- Tagging, emailing or signing a letter to encourage or thank a public figure
- Buying a T-shirt or piece of swag
- Posting about your cause to inform their friends
- Sharing a personal story related to your cause
Sometimes, people are prepared to act straight away. Other times, your Page followers may want to learn more before participating. Try different approaches and levels of requests to find out what works best for your community.
Craft your call to action
Inspiring people to take action isn’t just about what you’re asking people to do, it’s also about how you ask them. The way in which you frame a call to action is important, and there are a few things you should bear in mind when creating one on Facebook.
- Ask the right people. Hone your messages and make them relevant to people who are particularly interested in the problems that you’re trying to solve. Learn about who you’re trying to reach and how to reach your target audience.
- Define the problem. Present a clear problem that evokes emotion. Describing a problem in a way that makes people feel something will naturally inspire them to seek a solution. A clearly defined problem makes the case for how someone’s help will make a difference.
- Offer a specific action. Tell people about one single action they can take in response to the way that the problem makes them feel. Be concise and make the action people should take clear.
- Make it easy to do. Try to make the process of taking action easy for people. The fewer clicks, steps to take or decisions to make, the more likely they’ll finish them. If you’re directing people to a website or third-party platform, send them directly to a page where they can take action. Repeat your one clear call to action at the top of the page where you send people. Place action buttons or forms near the top. Keep other content minimal and below the call to action.
TIP: If your mission is complex, try breaking it down into smaller objectives that can be paired with individual calls to action. The more specific you can be when asking people to act, the easier it will be for them to see how their participation will make an impact.
Show a clear need
People take action online when they believe it will create change in real life. Keep your requests for support ambitious but realistic. Describe the change that you’re striving for, how it can be achieved and how the actions that people take will help.
- Use examples. Show the potential for impact by referring to times when many people taking action led to a tangible result in the past, for example, a government petition that got over 100,000 signatures in 30 days and was considered for debate in parliament, or USD 100 million raised to fight ALS thanks to people who created videos and challenged friends to participate.
- Understand where your audience is coming from. It may seem obvious to you why people should care about your cause and take action. But your audience probably doesn’t spend as much time researching your cause as you do. Consider arguments that would be compelling to them so that you can meet them where they are at.
- Don’t bury the lead. Don’t hide the call to action. Provide appropriate context for people to understand why they should act, but make sure that the request for action is prominent.
Inspire people to share their stories
Many campaigns prompt people to post their own stories and thoughts. Posts by your supporters are powerful because they highlight why your cause matters to individuals. They also get the word out to people’s friends and can help build your organisation’s reputation and following. Encourage people to contribute their own voice to your campaigns.
Offer examples. Present an authentic example of the kind of content you’d like people to share. It may be a story, quote, photo or video by someone in your team or community. Regularly sharing examples can inspire others to share, too. When sharing examples, consider what kinds of things people tend to share with their friends on Facebook. Is there a hashtag or logo people can use to identify that their post is part of your campaign? Can you make it easier for people to share quality photos and videos by providing a prompt and how-to guide?
TIP: Try asking people both directly and indirectly to share personal stories. Some communities respond well to direct requests, and others respond better when sharing is organic.
Find content that people are already creating. People might not always contact you when they’re moved to share a story related to your cause or organisation. Be on the lookout for great stories that are relevant to your work. Here are some ways that you can find them:
- Search. Seek content by using the search bar to search for your organisation’s name and relevant keywords on Facebook and Instagram.
- Tags. People can tag your Page by typing @ before your Page name and choosing your Page from a drop-down menu. Go to the Page admin tools, then choose Activity under Notifications to review posts that your Page is tagged in.
- Hashtags. Search for hashtags associated with your cause to find content that are relevant to your organisation, even if your organisation isn’t mentioned.
- Comments. Read the comments on your own Page posts. You can start a conversation by replying to comments and asking if someone has a story that they’d be willing to share. If you find a story, photo or video that someone has posted, you can introduce yourself and your organisation by commenting on the post or sending the person a private message. Ask if there’s more background and request permission to share their story on your Page. If you do post someone’s story, give credit and thank the person unless they’ve asked to be anonymous.
Celebrate contributions. Showcasing and thanking people for their contributions can be a nice way to offer recognition and encourage people to share more. You can feature stories, photos, videos and quotes from supporters on your Page and website. You can also look for ways to give extra acknowledgement to your most active supporters. For example, consider mentioning them at a public event, having a prominent figure thank them on Facebook or sharing their story in a press announcement. Your community might also enjoy a friendly competition where you can reward the most active and creative participants.
Passionate followers can become strong champions for the work your organisation does. Find ways to inspire people who care deeply about your cause and give them opportunities to lead on your behalf, both online and offline.
Offer regular opportunities. Create a pattern of volunteer opportunities supporters can count on. A regular schedule makes it easier for people to build activities into their routine. You can use events on Facebook to create a volunteer calendar directly on your Page. You can also post a request for volunteers to respond in the comments if they’re available, which will help you gauge interest.
Show people what to expect. Many people have a cause they care about, but don’t know how to help. Explain specific ways in which people can support your organisation by outlining what you need and what they can do. Tell people about the kinds of tasks you need and how much time and effort is required so people can get a feel for what volunteering for your organisation is like.
TIP: When planning, consider creating volunteer activities for pairs or groups. This makes it easier for people to invite a friend, which grows your network and encourages people to show up.
Engage people locally. Facebook helps people learn about activities happening in their local area. If your work has a geographic focus, you can search for keywords on Facebook to find other people, businesses and groups in your area that may be passionate about your cause. For example, you can search for “dog rescue in Birmingham” to find communities focused on rescuing and rehoming dogs. Filter your search results by people, Pages, places, groups, events and more using the tabs at the top of the search results, then get in touch about support or collaboration.
Engage your strongest supporters
Make individual requests. People are much more likely to respond to personal requests than general calls to action. Tag people who have participated in your activities in the past, or contact them in Messenger or by email or phone. Make it clear that you’re contacting them personally to get them involved.
Start an ambassador programme. To give people an incentive to take extra steps to support your organisation, consider creating a group with members who receive special messages, swag and recognition. You may also want to host events so that ambassadors can meet and learn from each other.
Plan a variety of activities. Create opportunities for people to get involved at various levels of complexity and commitment, depending on their interest and availability. For example, some activities might be done in an afternoon or over a weekend, such as a community clean-up. Others might take many months, such as fundraising or training for a race. Offering more options will give more people a chance to participate.
Provide action kits. Invite supporters to coordinate an event or activity on your organisation’s behalf. To help manage your brand and reputation, provide action kits that supporters can use to make sure that their activities are aligned with your goals. Include things someone would need to host an activity, such as T-shirt graphics, printable brochures, promotional posters, gifts and more. Include instructions that explain how to use your action kit to create impact.
If the cost of creating and delivering physical items is a concern, consider creating a digital action kit. You can use a file sharing service to upload resources and share the link on your organisation’s Page or event.
Express thanks. Personally thank people for their time and contributions. Encourage your leadership team to take the time to thank top supporters with handwritten cards, phone calls or emails. Create a “thank you” graphic that you can share on your Page to celebrate your supporters.
Celebrate people’s work. Post photos and videos that highlight your supporters’ hard work on your organisation’s Page. Tag people when you can and ask people to tag other friends who joined in or supported them. If you have the resources, make videos that recap your events and remind people about your mission and how they can continue to help.
Create engaging content
Learn what goes into creating an effective Facebook strategy to ensure that you get the most out of your online efforts.