I was in session last week and saw something that I have never seen before. It was lobbying day for Bayada nurses, who provide home health care for a variety of patients who that require their services. They do outstanding, compassionate work and save the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania a great deal of money by keeping patients home, rather than in an institutional setting. At the same time, they improve patient outcomes and their enhance quality of life.
Anyway, the nurses were in Harrisburg yesterday, hundreds of them, in a very well coordinated lobbying effort. Honestly, it was one of the more organized efforts I’ve seen. They all had their assignments, were all in the same colors and had badges that said their names, location…and the hashtag #BayadaDay.
If you’ll look at the hashtag, it started as being used only by their lobbying firm and Bayada account. On the day of the event, however, that changes, as other electeds, nurses and more begin to use the account. I was really impressed by this – the hashtag and its public use was a great idea. Here are some other social media tips for lobbying:
- Evangelize your citizen lobbyists: If you have a group of dozens or hundreds, make sure they know to use social media. Encourage them in written instructions and in verbal briefings to tweet, update their Facebook, upload pictures, make vines, etc. For social media to be effective, you have to tell people to use it!
- Put it on documents: My experience has been that on these citizen lobbying days, the folks who visit House members are new and haven’t had much experience at lobbying. As such, they rely heavily on the written documents that you provide them. Along those lines: make sure to put a hashtag and the Facebook/Twitter logos on every document, to serve as a reminder that people should be using social media. Additionally, when you give documents to legislators (it’s rare that a meeting ends for me without an info packet), make sure to do the same.
- Many, many pictures: Social media is becoming more and more visual, which, in the long-run, make pose a problem for Facebook & Twitter’s dominance (though both are certainly catching on). Regardless, you have to use as many pictures as possible. Show your members on the Capitol steps, meeting with House and Senate members, getting lost in the cavernous building and more. The more pictures, the better.
- As many platforms as possible: Facebook and Twitter are great, but you want to expand. Use Vine. Use Instagram. Use Google+. Try to cover all of your bases.
So, did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!