Chapter Building Strategy: Social Networking for Liberty

The use of social networking is an essential aspect of organizing on campus.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become so pervasive that it is virtually impossible to be an activist without using them.  Thus it is extremely important for YAL chapter to use these sites effectively to promote our message and keep members informed.  

Here are a few tips for making the most out of social networking for liberty:

Facebook

All YAL chapters should have a Facebook group or page.  There is a lot to be said about the pros and cons of having a group or a page, but basically the advantage of a group is that you can invite all of your members to an event as soon as you create it, whereas the advantage of a page is that it is easier to join and there is no limit to how many pages you can “like.”

Whether you pick a group or a page, it is important to fill out the information section fully for your group.  Be sure to include your meeting time and location, your officers, your group’s mailing address, your group’s email address, and your group’s website (if applicable).  You might also want to include other links of interest, like other liberty-minded groups or organizations on campus or in the area.

Twitter

Twitter is newer and less popular than Facebook, but it is still a great tool for getting your message out to people on campus.  Because there are fewer people on Twitter, it is easier for your updates to cut through the noise and get to people who actually want to read them.  Creating a Twitter account for your group only takes a few minutes, and because twitter posts are limited to 140 characters, it doesn’t take much time to keep it updated.

The most important thing to remember about Twitter is to focus on the present moment.  For example, a tweet about something happening in two weeks won’t have much impact, but one about your group having a meeting in an hour will.  You can also use a service like TwitPic or YFrog to post pictures of your group’s activities to Twitter via a smart phone.  This is a great way to get people engaged on twitter and show them you are active.

Finally, if you do create a Twitter account, be sure to let us know here at YAL National so that we can put you on our list of YAL Chapters on Twitter.

YouTube

YouTube is the least social of the social networks, but it is just as important because videos play such an important role in online communication.  People are much more likely to watch a video by your group than to read an article or a blog post.  Try to get as much video as possible of your group’s activities and post it on your YouTube channel.  When you do, be sure to add a good title, a good description, and keyword tags so that people will be able to find your video.

One downfall of YouTube is that the comments section on videos can attract some very inappropriate messages.  Although monitoring comments on all of your social networking sites is important, YouTube is the one you should focus on the most to make sure your video isn’t being tainted by vulgar or inappopriate commenters.  On the other hand, be open to people who have legitimate questions or comments and respond to them whenever possible.

For even more helpful tips, check out American Majority’s Facebook and Twitter guides for liberty activists.

Have some other handy tips you think YAL Chapters should know? Leave them in the comments!

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