Inside a Digital Campaign Powerhouse: 3 Big Tips from MomsRising

October 31, 2016

When Delta Airlines kicked a nursing mother off a plane in 2007 for openly breastfeeding, MomsRising started an online petition and launched its first major digital campaign.

As the first organization to actively respond to the injustice, MomsRising immediately garnered online momentum. Within hours, its petition grew from 10,000 to 50,000 supporters.

Fast forward to 2016: MomsRising’s combined blogging and social media reach is over 3 million people. Forbes.com has named MomsRising.org as one of the Top 100 Websites for Women every year from 2010 to 2013 (the last year Forbes released this list). It is a social media powerhouse and advocacy force to reckon with.

MomsRising’s mission is to educate the public, especially busy parents, and mobilize grassroots actions around critical issues that impact women, children and families. It does so by combining grassroots organizing with social media and digital outreach. Staff specialize in rapid response efforts, viral moments, and audience focus.

"Mother of the Year" Viral Moment

MomsRising is perhaps best known for its 2009 Mother’s Day video card campaign that went viral. Users could send video e-cards with clever messages (co-written by The Onion) that included key factoids about key pieces of their advocacy agenda, such as equal pay and parental leave. The campaign garnered over 12 million views and MomsRising quickly grew its base of followers to 1 million members, which they have maintained. It was a well-planned campaign tied to a national holiday, with a positive message and an easy-to-use, innovative approach.

We spoke with MomsRising’s Director of Social Media Strategy Anita Jackson to get an inside look MomsRising's strategy and some e-advocacy "open secrets” behind these and other campaigns that we can all use.

1. The Three R’s: Relationships, Rapid Response and Credibility

MomsRising has built a network and action plan that allows it to both react to and get out ahead of news, and engage key stakeholders when it matters most.

This is in part due to MomsRising’s deep understanding of the issues, policy procedures, and news cycles in which it operates.

Social media is fully integrated into their government relations strategy: each of their advocacy campaigns has a dedicated social media lead coordinating social engagement and crafting strategy and message.

Despite its fast action online and on social media, MomsRising closely guards its reputation for being credible and effective. The group is careful that all posts are accurate, fact-based and aligned with their advocacy agenda.

“Social media is not in a vacuum. It’s most effective when it’s speaking directly to something that is top-of-mind to the nation.”

2. Valuing Social Listening

MomsRising cites social listening as one of the most important skills in keeping their supporters excited and engaged with its work. What is social listening? Paying attention and measuring what their audiences are sharing and responding to, and using this data to hone messages and approaches.

“Listening is one of the most underrated skills. People want to share their messages and use the great bullhorn that is social media, but it’s a powerful listening tool as well.”

The target audience, mothers and working parents, are busy, so MomsRising offers quick information and easy opportunities to engage. One example: frequent Twitter chats that happen on a predictable schedule, and use corresponding hashtags, such as #WellnessWednesday. These chats give moms an opportunity to connect with peers and policy professionals and allow MomsRising to engage new followers in conversation.  

Each chat features cohosts – influential experts and familiar names—and MomsRising provides short trainings, scripts, and preparation to make hosting a light lift.

3. Measuring Impact

MomsRising utilizes Facebook Insights and CrowdBooster to track key data around how many individuals interacted with the post, data in compression to similar posts and organizations and potential impressions.

To measure the effectiveness of petitions and similar tools, they use the database management tool ActionKit, which provides real-time data on demographics and user information about petition signers.

They also use attentive.ly, which tells you which of your email supporters are on which social media networks.

MomsRising staff don’t just track data, they use it. For example, when they realized sizable populations of their followers were Spanish-speaking, MomRising created a Spanish Twitter account and Spanish language media and blogs.

Click here to read more about MomsRising’s state, local and federal wins.


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