In this article you will learn how to create a successful Facebook page for your protest movement. You can use it to grow your network and mobilise more people for the actions that you organise.
📚 This guide is part of our series on social media for protestors.
Creating a Facebook page for your protest movement is a great way to grow your network and mobilise more people for the actions that you organise. In this article you will find some tips on how to make it successful.
Facebook is a powerful tool for activists who want to create social change. Here are some ways that Facebook can be used for different purposes:
Facebook can help you reach a large and diverse audience with your message. You can create a page or a group for your cause, post updates, videos, photos, and stories that show the problem and the solution, and invite people to like, share, and comment on your content. You can also use Facebook ads to target specific audiences and boost your reach.
Mobilizing people for your actions
Facebook can help you organize and coordinate your actions with your supporters. You can create events for your protests, rallies, marches, or other activities, and invite people to join, RSVP, and invite others. You can also use Facebook Live to stream your actions live and interact with your viewers. You can also use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with your team and volunteers.
Engaging with supporters
Facebook can help you build relationships with your supporters and keep them engaged. You can use Facebook Groups to create a community of people who share your values and vision, and encourage them to participate in discussions, polls, challenges, and feedback. You can also use Facebook Stories to share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your work and personal stories that inspire and motivate your supporters. You can also use Facebook Fundraisers to raise money for your cause and thank your donors.
Networking and collaborating
Facebook can help you connect and collaborate with other activists and organizations who work on similar or related issues. You can use Facebook Pages to follow and interact with other pages that align with your cause, and share their content or tag them in your posts. You can also use Facebook Groups to join or create networks of activists who share best practices, resources, tips, and opportunities. You can also use Facebook Messenger Rooms or WhatsApp Groups to host video calls or chats with your partners and allies.
Open source intelligence
Facebook can help you gather and analyze information that can support your cause or expose wrongdoing. You can use Facebook Search to find public posts, pages, groups, events, or profiles that are relevant to your issue or target. You can also use Facebook Graph Search to find more specific information based on keywords, filters, or connections. You can also use Facebook Watch to find videos that show evidence or testimonies of human rights violations or social injustices.
Example: Bellingcat is a good example of activists using Facebook for open source intelligence. They are a collective of investigators and journalists who have made headlines with a string of high-profile, open-source investigations. They use social media platforms such as Facebook to gather information and verify sources.
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Keep it short
According to a study by Jeff Bullas, the ideal length of a Facebook post is less than 40 characters. Shorter posts usually receive more likes, comments, and shares as people like it when a message makes its point quickly and concisely.
Add photos or videos
Adding a photo or video to your post will increase engagement significantly. Examples of media you can add to your posts:
Carousel posts (multiple photos or videos)
Emoji's increase engagement. Using emoji's on Facebook can create more engagement because they convey emotions and expressions that are otherwise difficult to communicate through text. Emoji's can also make the posts more attractive and appealing to the audience, as they add color and variety to the content. Emoji's can also help to establish a connection and rapport with the followers, as they show a more personal and human side of the brand or individual. Emoji's can also increase the chances of getting reactions, comments, and shares, as they invite feedback and interaction from the viewers.
In general, avoid using hashtags on Facebook. If you do use hashtags, use as few as possible.
Facebook is a powerful platform for activists and nonprofits to reach and mobilize their audiences, but it can also be challenging to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. One way to assess the impact of activism on Facebook is to use the insights and analytics tools that the platform provides. These tools can help activists track the reach, engagement, and conversion of their posts, events, groups, and pages. Some of the metrics that activists can monitor include:
Reach: The number of people who saw the content on Facebook, either organically or through paid promotion.
Engagement: The number of people who interacted with the content by liking, commenting, sharing, or clicking on it.
Conversion: The number of people who took a desired action after seeing the content, such as signing a petition, donating money, or joining a group.
By analyzing these metrics, you can evaluate which types of content and strategies are most effective in reaching and influencing their target audience. They can also compare their performance with other similar pages or groups to benchmark their progress and identify best practices. Additionally, they can use these insights to optimize their future campaigns and improve their impact on Facebook.
Risks for activists
Using Facebook as an activist also comes with some risks that need to be considered and addressed. Some of these risks are:
No meaningful interaction
Some activists are critical of using Facebook for activism because they believe that the platform is not conducive to meaningful social change. They argue that Facebook encourages superficial engagement, such as liking or sharing posts, rather than taking concrete actions, such as donating or volunteering.
Privacy and security
Facebook collects a lot of data about its users, including their personal information, location, contacts, preferences, and activities. This data can be accessed by third parties, such as advertisers, governments, hackers, or malicious actors, who may use it for purposes that are not aligned with the activists' goals or interests. For example, activists may face surveillance, censorship, harassment, or legal threats from authorities or opponents who monitor their online activities. To protect their privacy and security, activists should use strong passwords, encryption tools, privacy settings, and alternative platforms when necessary.
Misinformation and manipulation
Facebook is also a source of misinformation and manipulation that can undermine the credibility and effectiveness of activists' messages and actions. For example, activists may encounter fake news, propaganda, bots, trolls, or coordinated campaigns that spread false or misleading information about their causes or opponents. These tactics can create confusion, division, distrust, or apathy among the public or among the activists themselves. To counter misinformation and manipulation, activists should verify the sources and accuracy of the information they share or consume, and expose or report any attempts to deceive or influence them.
Governments can censor social media in different ways, depending on their legal and political systems. Some of the common methods are:
Passing laws that require social media companies to remove harmful or illegal content within a certain time frame or face fines or penalties.
Blocking access to social media platforms or specific accounts that are deemed to violate national security or public order.
Requesting social media companies to take down content that criticises the government or its policies, often under vague or broad legal provisions.
Creating a sovereign internet that gives the government more control over what its citizens can see online.
These methods of censorship can have negative impacts on freedom of expression, human rights and democracy. Social media users may face legal consequences or harassment for expressing their views online. Social media companies may face pressure to comply with government requests or lose access to lucrative markets. The public may lose access to diverse and independent sources of information and opinions.
Mental health and well-being
Facebook can also have negative impacts on the mental health and well-being of activists who use it frequently or intensely. For example, activists may experience stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, or addiction as a result of the constant exposure to online violence, hate speech, threats, or criticism. You may also feel isolated, lonely, or inadequate as a result of the social comparison or pressure that Facebook can create. To maintain your mental health and well-being, activists should limit their time and engagement on Facebook, and seek support from their offline networks or professional services when needed.
Tools for Facebook
These tools are useful for managing your Facebook page by allowing you to schedule posts, monitor conversations, track analytics across all your social media accounts in one place and more. They can help you work more efficiently and effectively:
Facebook Business Suite: A free tool developed to manage your Facebook and Instagram profiles in one dashboard.
Buffer: A social media management platform that allows you to schedule posts, analyze performance, and manage all your social media accounts in one place.
Hootsuite: A social media management platform that allows you to schedule posts, monitor conversations, and track analytics across all your social media accounts.
Sprout Social: A social media management platform that allows you to schedule posts, monitor conversations, and track analytics across all your social media accounts.
How to contribute
Oh no, this is an empty article. Do you know something about how to create a successful Facebook page? Improve the page yourself! Topics to discuss:
Media: What kind of images work best? How long should videos be? How to create strong visuals to help engage people and encourage them to share your page?
Hashtags: should you use them and how? What hashtags should you use to help people find your page and join the conversation?
Growing follower number: How to promote your page (eg. on other social media platforms and on your website)
Purpose: Define a clear strategy? What are you hoping to achieve by investing time in growing your social media pages? Eg. to encourage people to join your group and take action, and to encourage people to participate, letting supporters know what they can do to help.
Facebook for activists
The following resources discuss using Facebook as activists:
Loads of articles exists on the internet making claims about how to manage your Facebook page effectively. Sometimes, it is hard to validate their claims.