People are using social media to share information and raise awareness about important causes. And when you consider that more than 4.9 billion people use social media across the globe, according to Backlinko, it makes sense that these platforms have become such an effective tool for promoting social justice.

If you're interested in using social media and other online advocacy tools to make a difference, you may be wondering where to begin. With an understanding of the sheer power of social media advocacy and how to use it in your own efforts, you can create effective social media campaigns with confidence.

Understanding the Power of Social Media in Advocacy

What is social justice, anyway? In simplest terms, this concept focuses on promoting and advocating for changes to society that distribute opportunities and privileges more equally among populations, regardless of factors like race, ethnicity, and class.

But what does this all have to do with social media? For starters, big changes require a great deal of collaboration. Bringing people together to work toward a shared goal is easier to do on social media because of its huge potential reach. Something posted to social media in one part of the world can be shared across the globe in a matter of seconds, bringing new life and power to social justice campaigns and movements.

Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

If you're interested in launching a social media campaign to promote social justice, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. 

Defining What Success Looks Like

First, define your goals and objectives as clearly as possible. Write them down, which will force you to think more critically and articulate exactly what you're hoping to get out of the campaign. Do you need a certain amount of funding? Maybe you need signatures for a petition. Either way, defining what would make your campaign a success is an excellent starting point.

Target Outcomes for Social Justice Advocacy

There are many potential outcomes for a social justice advocacy campaign. Perhaps you're simply trying to raise awareness about lesser-known social justice movements, or maybe you're trying to get people out to vote for or against something. In other cases, you might be looking to raise funds for a specific cause or even organize people for a peaceful protest.

Choosing the Right Platforms

Next, it's time to think more specifically about which social media platforms will be best to achieve the goals and objectives of your social justice campaign.

Demographics and Platform Sustainability

Today, some of the most popular social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, YouTube, X (formerly known as Twitter), and LinkedIn. To determine which platforms are best for your cause, consider the demographics of your target audience. From there, you can research and determine which platforms are being used most by your target audience, which will ultimately help you decide which platforms to target with your campaign.

Pros and Cons of Major Platforms

All social media platforms have some inherent pros and cons. For example, Facebook has a huge audience of users around the world. It's easy to share a wide range of media types with no character limits. However, because this platform has so many other users, your message could get lost in the crowd.

X, on the other hand, imposes character limits that can make it difficult to share larger pieces of text. Yet this platform can be a great way to build a solid follower base and propel your mission forward.

Creating Compelling Content

Once you have a better idea of the goals of your social justice movements and the specific platform(s) you'll use, it's time to create a content plan that will reach your target audience and get people interested in your cause.

Content that Resonates

Creating engaging, actionable content is all about knowing your audience. This will require some thorough research on your part, as well as a lot of creativity and outside-the-box thinking. The more your content truly resonates with your audience, the more likely it is that your cause will be shared and others will join in.

Visuals and Narratives that Drive the Message

Remember that the content you create should drive your message and campaign home, and that you don't have to be limited by one type of content. Get creative with different formats, including video and other visuals to capture the attention of your audience.

Building and Engaging a Community

As you launch your social justice campaign on social media, your success and growth will be dependent on your ability to expand your follower base and keep your readers engaged as much as possible.

Strategies for Growing Your Follower Base

How do you go about building your base of followers when you're first starting out? One option to consider is to ask your current followers to "share" your social media page or a specific post on their own pages. This can spread the word about your cause while bringing in new potential followers and supporters. You might even have a little fun with it by turning it into a contest to see who can generate the most shares or likes for your page.

Keeping the Community Engaged

Of course, even once you have a decent number of followers, this doesn't mean your work is done. You'll need to keep your community engaged to keep your cause relevant and fresh in their minds. Take the time to post updates on progress on a regular basis, share news articles and other stories related to your mission, and follow a content publication calendar to keep your campaign relevant.

Collaborating with Influencers and Partners

Another great way to gain momentum with your social media advocacy campaign is to partner with influencers and other collaborators. If you look at some of the most successful and notable digital activism examples, many of them took off after a celebrity or influencer got behind the cause and shared their support on social media.

Identifying Allies in the Advocacy Space

Finding allies on social media is easier than you might think. Consider researching influencers who already have an active and public interest in similar causes. From there, reach out to them and introduce your cause, proposing the idea of launching a partnership or collaboration. You might be surprised at how willing influencers are to work with advocacy groups when they are passionate about the same issues.

Leveraging Partnerships for Wider Reach

Once you have a collaborator or influencer on your side, leverage this partnership to expand your potential reach to an even larger audience. When your partner shares information about your cause to their followers, you can gain hundreds or even thousands of new supporters in a matter of hours.

Monitoring and Adapting Strategies

Throughout your campaign, it's important to monitor the effectiveness of your efforts by tracking specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and other social media engagement metrics.

Tools for Tracking Engagement and Reach

There are plenty of useful tools for tracking engagement and reach on social media. On some social media accounts (such as professional/business accounts), you may have access to these tools directly through your profile. There are also some independent and third-party social media engagement tools that offer similar tracking and reporting features.

Adapting to Feedback and Changing Dynamics

Keep a close eye on your engagement and reach metrics and be sure to make changes to your campaigns as needed. For instance, if you notice that a particular post is performing especially well, then this might be a clue to create similar posts in the future.

Navigating Legal and Ethical Considerations

Last but certainly not least, be sure to factor in important legal and ethical considerations as you embark on your social media advocacy campaign.

Understanding Copyright and Fair Use

The last thing you need is to have your movement marred by a copyright infringement or fair use violation lawsuit, so be sure to stay on top of related laws and regulations to stay out of legal trouble.

Ethical Practices in Social Justice Advocacy

Remember, too, that your campaign will have an impact on the lives of real people. You should be careful and considerate about the details and information you share about the populations you are striving to serve.

Learn More Today

As you can see, social media is an extremely useful tool in the context of social justice movements, spreading awareness and gaining traction in a way no other campaign can. Of course, social media advocacy is only successful when you know how to use these platforms correctly. With these tips and best practices in mind, you can forge ahead with your social justice efforts and make a true difference.

Interested in taking your interest in civic engagement and social justice to the next level? The University of Minnesota's College of Continuing and Professional Studies is proud to offer a Master of Professional Studies Degree in Civic Engagement, where you can build the foundational skills and knowledge needed to improve the quality of life for communities and populations. Get in touch today to connect with an admissions advisor and learn more.