13 Oct 2021
Social media allows you to share important updates and interact with likeminded people and members of your community.
Some benefits of setting up a group social media profile include:
- growing followers who may support or join your group in the future
- spreading awareness about your events, petitions and wins
- having a platform to lobby local decision makers
- ability to connect with others.
Recruit social media volunteers
To maximise your reach on social media, we encourage groups to recruit a savvy volunteer to manage your channels. There are plenty of people who want to find a way to use their skills for good but don’t know where to begin – you could be just what they’re looking for. Use your existing platforms (like social media pages, websites and group contacts) to put the word out. Your volunteer should ideally have:
- confident running social media accounts
- strong writing and communication skills
- interest in the environmental movement.
Make sure you maintain admin access to your social media pages should the volunteer wish to move on.
Set up your social profiles
We recommend building your social media presence on Twitter and Facebook to begin with. Once your profiles are set up, you can use the below checklist to make sure you’re ready to start posting content:
- Make sure your profile name is easy to understand, ie "Climate Action + your area"
- Use the same profile picture with the same image on each profile. Select from the options below to download profile pictures and cover photos you can use for Facebook and Twitter:
- Fill in any key information such as your location and a link to your website or events page.
- Make sure your "About Me" section on each social platform is clear, for example: "We're a Climate Action group working to promote sustainability within <insert your area>. Open to all. Sign up to join us using the link below."
Best practice for beginners
- Use clear and correct spelling and grammar so that your posts are easy for everyone to understand.
- Use attractive and relevant images when needed. You can find free images at Pixabay or Pexels. Or even better, if you're good at taking photos then you can of course use your own.
- Be clear about what you want people to do with your post. For example, if you want to increase the number of petition signatures, make this the focus of your post by directly asking people to sign and ensuring a link to the petition is included. However if you want people to start talking to you, ask them a question.
- Try to give your audience new or useful information, such as commentary on an important local issue you’re able to add insight to.
- Keep going and learning. Starting a new social media profile is a learning curve, some things will work well and others won’t. Over time it will become clearer what your audience responds to and your channels will grow.
- Use too many tags, links or hashtags. To make sure your posts are easy for people to absorb, try to not use more than three hashtags or one link per post.
- Post too little. Try to post at least 3-5 times a week on each of your profiles.
- Always be selling yourself. You should give people a reason to follow you by sharing information or updates of interest that aren’t necessarily linked to growing your group, petitions or fundraisers. For example, you could share insight about a relevant news story, or ask your followers a question to get a discussion going on something that's important to your local area.
Top tips for Twitter
- Follow other users. Twitter is a great way to connect with local people, local news, businesses, organisations and decision-makers, and the first step is to follow them. Try looking at similar profiles to your own (eg other green groups in the area) and check out who they follow as a starting point.
- Interact with fellow Tweeters. Twitter is all about conversation, so make sure you’re replying to relevant Tweets and adding something to the discussion. You can also share other people’s content by retweeting (RTing), so look for updates that will be of interest to your audience, for example climate news and local news updates.
- Share interesting news and updates. When you’re making your own Tweets be sure to consider what your followers may find interesting, and try to deliver that. For example, news of a "win" if your group achieves something in your local area, a recommendation for an environmental documentary about to air on TV, or a call to action to sign a petition relevant to your work.
- Tweet often. Try to Tweet at least once a day, but make sure you have something of note to update your followers on.
- Make use of hashtags. Hashtags are a good way to get your Tweets in front of more people. In your Tweet add a # in front of a relevant word to allow people to find your post when they search for or click on that hashtag elsewhere on Twitter. Take a look at similar profiles to you and take note of what hashtags they are using, then try them out. The hashtag we use is #TakeClimateAction, but for the UN climate talks we'll also be using #COP26, #COP26Glasgow or #ClimateTalks.
- Publicise and promote your Twitter account. Whenever you get the chance to promote your Twitter account, do it!
- Use the pin feature. Pin your Tweet to the top of your profile to draw attention to your most important message by clicking on the three dots in the top right hand corner of the Tweet and selecting "pin".
Top tips for Facebook
- Which page is right for you? Think about what you want out of Facebook. If you want a space to discuss issues with your members, start a Facebook Group. If you want to use Facebook for promoting your events and trying to recruit more people to your group or campaign, then opt for a Page. Of course, you can do both of these if you wish!
- Try to post at least 3 times a week. Facebook will otherwise flag your page as not relevant and show your posts to fewer people.
- Reply to comments and grow conversation. People feel valued when you take the time to reply to them, and starting a conversation will encourage people to engage with your group more in the future.
- Share relevant news stories. Links to popular websites such as news sites perform especially well on Facebook, as Facebook can tell that you are sharing good quality information.
- Don’t ask for likes or shares. Facebook forbids this! Instead, make your post extra interesting and worth sharing by including expert insight, exclusive updates from your group or posts with an emotional hook - for example a good news win with a picture of your group celebrating.
- Use the pin feature. Pin your post to the top of your profile to draw attention to your most important message by clicking on the three dots in the top right hand corner of the post and selecting "pin".
COP26: special guidance for the UN climate talks
The UN climate talks, or COP26, are a key opportunity for the climate movement to come together, demand justice for those most affected by the crisis and hold leaders to account. How? By raising awareness, highlighting necessary solutions, and making sure our voices are heard. Social media is key to raising that awareness.
We'd recommend using Twitter as your primary channel for this campaign, as it's the best platform for connecting with decision-makers and people not already aware of your group, but feel free to opt for the channel you use most. Use the hashtags #COP26, #COP26Glasgow or #ClimateTalks when you post.
What should I post?
Here are a few ideas to kickstart your social coverage leading up to the talks. Follow the links to get an idea of how to take good social media images and video, as well as example posts. We've created a folder for you to access template copy and images to use on your group's social media accounts.
Inform and inspire the public
- Explain why the climate talks are an opportunity for change and why that change is sorely needed. You can do this by sharing simple articles about the talks or re-sharing good explainers you find on social media.
- Share news and articles that connect climate and social justice issues to the talks. Make sure to add your own insight to kickstart a conversation with your followers.
Apply pressure to decision-makers
- Highlight government hypocrisy around the climate talks by sharing news and updates around their climate promises and the reality – such as its commitment to switch to renewables while planning to open a new coal mine in Cumbria.
- Tag Boris Johnson, Alok Sharma and other key figures such as your local MP in your posts to direct questions to them and apply more pressure.
Encourage people to take action:
- While highlighting the dangers of the climate crisis, we must also make it clear to the public that we have a chance to make real change so that they feel empowered to act.
- Share petitions around your own campaigning or Friends of the Earth petitions to give the public an easy and quick way to take action.
- Share links to your group sign up pages with details of your plans to campaign around the climate talks, and let people know how they can get involved.
- Share your group's plans for COP and inspire your online community to join in too. Make your group look welcoming by posting a group photo or video.
Social coverage for the Global Day of Action: We've put together some specific guidelines for how to harness the power of social media and maximise your impact during the Global Day of Action. Visit the page and access the guidance:
Impartiality and sensitive info
Avoid sharing sensitive or revealing information that you wouldn’t want to see in a public space like Facebook.
With all your posts on social media, you want to ensure that you remain politically impartial, particularly during elections. If you have a separate personal account where you tweet your opinion, that's fine, as long as you don’t write something like “leader of Climate Action Sheffield” in your bio – then people might see it as the view of the group as well.