BY EMMA PEPPER, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, THE HUB
Last year, we put the spotlight on 36 West Virginians who are invested in making a difference in our state’s communities through a social media hashtag campaign called #BetheChangeWV, part of our #NewStoryWV project. This is an impactful tool that we built to help lift up the voices of residents in West Virginia, and we want this tool to be in your hands too.
Now, we’re sharing 3 steps to kickstart a #BetheChangeWV campaign in your own community.
This kind of campaign can help you reach goals such as:
- Increase community pride and raise hope
- Shine a spotlight on the people doing good in your community, such as small business owners, community leaders, volunteers, and others
- Attract new people online to volunteer for the work and projects you’re doing in the real world
- Generate new and different types of posts for your social media accounts
When you’re sharing on social media, be sure to include the hashtags #BetheChangeWV and #NewStoryWV to join in on the statewide collaborative conversation about a new story for West Virginia. (Find more details on using hashtags at the bottom of this post!)
If you have a question about how to create a campaign like this in your community, please email me at email@example.com.
Step 1: Decide the type of people that you are interested in spotlighting.
Pick a group of people to highlight who share a common interest that corresponds to a goal you have or a challenge you are facing in your community.
Some examples to consider:
- Are you interested in bringing more residents and tourists to your downtown? Considering spotlighting the business owners and people who are already there.
- Are you looking to show off your area’s natural beauty and increase tourism? Consider spotlighting the people who are visiting those locations or have a tie to them.
- Do you need more volunteers? Consider spotlighting the volunteers – past and present – who have been a part of your team’s work.
- Are you interested in raising hope and building community pride? Consider the people in your community that make you hopeful and proud about living there. Think about the people who are giving back to your community. Maybe it’s the superstar volunteers who are always showing up for every event and project. Maybe it’s the small business owners who are a central part of your community’s fabric. Maybe it’s local artists, teachers, or leaders at local service organizations. Maybe it’s all of the above!
Step 2: Find those people. Capture a quote and a photo.
Here is a checklist of ideas to help you accomplish Step 2 – but if you have an idea for a different path, that’s great too. Mix it up to do what’s best for your community and goals.
- Make a list of the people that you want to feature. Look back to Step 1 and make a list of all the people that fit this description in your community. Be mindful of selecting a diverse list of people. You’ll be lifting up members of your community through this campaign, and it’s important that the residents who are viewing the campaign see people like themselves represented.
- Decide who will be capturing the quotes and photos and how you will do it. The more people you can get involved in gathering quotes and photos, the better, although at The Hub, we were able to do this with 1 person capturing the quotes and photos. You don’t need a big group to make this work happen. Make a determination about if you want to try to take your own photos, or if you want to ask people to submit photos of themselves. Taking your own photos means that you will have consistent visuals throughout your campaign, which is a nice outcome, but not necessary for success.
- Decide 1 question to ask each person you want to feature. This question will give you the quote that you need to accompany the photo. Come up with a “Why” question for the people you want to feature. Some examples are: Why do you believe making a difference in our community is important? Why do you like visiting this (location, business, etc.) in our community? Why are you choosing to be a business owner in our community? Why do you shop locally?
- Find the people you want to feature. Reach out to them by phone, email, or social media; or find them while you’re out and about in the community.
- Ask the person you are featuring your 1 question and write down what they say. If the person you are featuring is having trouble answering the question, ask them to start their response by saying, “Because I believe…”
- Take their photo or ask them to send a photo to you.
- Bonus: Create an option to participate using video. Videos can help elevate the connection that’s created between the person who is viewing the video and the person you want to spotlight – and they can help you to get more likes and shares on social media too. Check out the work that’s happening with the West Virginia Municipal League and Mountain Craft Productions for their #TakingCareofBusinesses campaign for an example of this in action (and join in!).
Step 3: Post to social media!
Decide the best place to share these photos online. Pick 1-2 places on social media that will be the “home base” for all of the posts in your campaign.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Facebook Pages: Think of a community group’s page, local nonprofits, tourism groups, and others who may have a page that aligns with your vision.
- Facebook Groups: Think of local Facebook Groups with a similar vision to yours.
- Instagram Business Pages: Think of local businesses or groups that may have an Instagram account.
- Personal Facebook and Instagram Accounts: Use the Facebook or Instagram accounts from the individual people on your team, and/or extend the ask to others in the community to include the posts on their accounts.
Don’t forget to include hashtags when you’re posting on social media.
- Connect to the statewide conversation. When you’re creating your social media post, be sure to include the hashtags #BetheChangeWV and #NewStoryWV so others can find your work! If you’re creating a campaign to support businesses in your community, join in with the West Virginia Municipal League and Mountain Craft Productions’s #TakingCareofBusinesses campaign.
- Connect to your community. Add in your own community hashtag(s) – pick hashtags already being used in your area and/or create your own!