Don’t forget these 10 things when asking for political help on Facebook

Anyone who spends time on Facebook sees many different requests for help including raising money for a cause, voting in online contests, helping share and spread information and asking people to engage in a political issue. Since Trump was elected there is a noticeable uptick in the political ask category and that's great because it shows more people are getting involved.

This is a list of tips for getting the most out of those posts by increasing the number of people that take action. Just remember, you can never be too clear or concise.

1. Be clear about what the decision making body is or who the individual is you are trying to influence.

2. Provide contact information. This is easy if we are just trying to influence one of our federal Senators or a Congressional Representative but harder when we are asking for help at the state legislature. You won't be able to include contact information for every state legislator but you can include information on how people can find out who their legislators are. I've had friends and acquaintances share frustrations about posts that just say, "Call your Representative." Which one? Don't assume that everyone who wants to do something has the knowledge they need to take action. In fact, it is better just to assume that people don't know who their representatives are or which one to contact. Make it your job to provide clear information on how to figure that out. People who follow politics closely might think this is a simple thing but it's not, especially if a person is just starting to get into politics or doesn't have time to research that information. (see #1).

3. Include the bill number or the resolution number if it is a legislative issue. It is important for people to be able to tell the person taking the message what the bill number is. Staff hear a lot of calls with general opposition or support of an issue but would prefer to know what specific bill or resolution the caller is referring to especially in the new era of increased call volumes.

4. Be crystal clear in what you are asking people to do.  Consider giving people an example of what to say.

5. Provide the deadline for action. What time and date do they have to call or email by to make a difference? Your post might not show up for a day and by then it might be too late. You don't want people to waste their time.

6. Tell them what they can expect when they call. Will it be an answering machine? Will they have to talk to someone? If so, who? People don't like to be surprised and there is anxiety around calling the legislature and talking to a person on the phone. If people know what to expect they are more likely to take action.

7. Tell people the consequences if the bill passes/doesn't pass or the reason the action is important. The more local you can make it, the better. Why does what you are asking people to do matter to them? If you can localize the impacts or make it personal people will pay more attention to the post.

8. Follow up with information about the outcome whether it is good or bad. If you are tracking something closely and asking people for help, let them know how it turned out. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose but it's always good to know how our actions impacted a decision.

9. Say please.

10. Say thank you.


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