Monday, August 23, 2010

Best Practice: Ford Motor Company Social Media Policy

Ford Motor Company is leading the automotive industry with it's innovative social media approach to customer communication and marketing.  Recently, they went public with their social media policy found here.

They provide excellent, common sense advice for anyone participating in social media networks - whether doing it for work, fun or advocacy!

Here's the highlights:

In brief, our guidelines for engaging on the social Web consist of the following core principles:

1.Honesty about who you are
2.Clarity that your opinions are your own
3.Respect and humility in all communication
4.Good judgment in sharing only public information – including fnancial data
5.Awareness that what you say is permanent
Words to live by!
Follow Ford Moter Company on Twitter @Ford

Friday, August 20, 2010

Twitter Lists - Track Lawmakers and Policy Influencers

Twitter lists are now used for tracking friends, foes, politicians, media and any other group in which you might be interested.  Check out the official "How to Use Twitter Lists" and make one of your own to track potential advocates, legislative targets, and the other side.

You can create your own list or simply follow a list already created by someone else. 

For an interesting twist on the list, take a look at  He, She, They Said .  This is an ingenious use of the list feature to sort out influentials in Michigan politics.  Created by Resch Strategies in Lansing, Michigan, this portal nicely frames lists including Michigan politicians, media and opinion leaders on Twitter.  If you're not comfortable with Twitter but still want to follow the action, this is a great resource.

If Members of Congress are your target, it's pretty handy to just follow @TweetCongress and their lists:


List are a great source for quick monitoring of various groups in your lobbying world.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Social Media for Lobbying Firms

The blog Social Media for Lawyers asks an interesting, if not basic, question.  Is your law firm on Wikipedia?  This is a great question for lobbyists as well.  Are you listed on Wikipedia?  It's a great resource for the media and client leads. 

Find some great benefits, tips and best practices here

From Wikipedia:

What is Wikipedia?
Editing tutorial for Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia, written synergistically by the people who use it. It is a special type of website designed to make collaboration easy, called a wiki. Many people are constantly improving Wikipedia, making thousands of changes per hour. All of these changes are recorded in article histories and recent changes. For a more detailed account of the project, see About Wikipedia.

How you can contribute?
Don't be afraid to edit – anyone can edit almost every page, and we are encouraged to be bold! Find something that can be improved and make it better—for example, spelling, grammar, rewriting for readability, or removing non-constructive edits. If you wish to add new facts, please try to provide references so they may be verified, or suggest them on the article's discussion page. Changes to controversial topics and Wikipedia's main pages should usually be discussed first.

Remember – you can't break Wikipedia; all edits can be reversed, fixed or improved later. Wikipedia is allowed to be imperfect. So go ahead, edit an article and help make Wikipedia the best information source on the Internet!
Donate – Wikipedia is free to use, but relies on donations and grants to do so. Please consider donating using the Donate to Wikipedia link on the left to help with the projects running costs and expansion.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Better Real Time Election Coverage from Twitter

I recently wrote this article for Dome Magazine about my experience on primary election night, August 2, 2010.  I received quicker information about primary election results through a combination of old and new media.  When television and radio news didn't have the most up-to-date results, I turned to Twitter.

Here's the beginning of the article:

Better Real-Time Election Coverage on Twitter

Guest Column
by Sarah Hubbard
August 13, 2010
Supporters of social media have been putting traditional print reporting to shame for a few years now. The first picture of the plane that landed on the Hudson came from a bystander who posted it to Twitter. Twitter’s founders realized its potential to break news early on during a major earthquake in 2007 in Mexico. Last year, the messaging service beat mainstream news organizations to report earthquakes in the UK and China.

Beyond accidents and natural disasters, people are also using Twitter to get quicker information. The first results of many primary elections last week were posted on Twitter.

They’re also more interesting, because many of the political posts on Twitter are opinion driven. Advocacy groups such as the Detroit Regional Chamber use social media to drive public opinion of issues and to rally interested individuals to contact legislators in support of preferred policies. If you’re like me, you live a significant portion of your life, both work and play, online. Using the Internet is a daily occurrence.

Many of my friends traveled the state to attend last week’s election night celebrations, but I covered the event from my couch with the TV on, live Detroit radio streaming on my computer, making frequent checks of the Secretary of State and other websites covering returns. And, of course, my Twitter account was fully engaged.

Read the entire piece here .

Friday, August 13, 2010

Best Practice: "Unshackle Upstate" Social Media Lobbying Portal

One of the best uses of social media for grassroots lobbying is the effort known as "Unshackle Upstate."  A group of Chambers of Commerce in upstate New York joined together around a legislative agenda for state government reform.  They decided to use their limited financial resources to launch a sophisticated social media campaign in support of their position and are holding New York public officials accountable for their spending decisions.

From their website:
About Unshackle Upstate

Unshackle Upstate is a bi-partisan coalition of over 70 business and trade organizations representing upwards of 45,000 companies and employing more than 1 million people. We hail from across Upstate New York with one goal: To achieve reforms in Albany that make Upstate a stronger place to do business.

Thousands of Upstate residents have already been heard by sending an email through our website to the decision makers in Albany. Progress has been made and the coalition continues to work for more.
Make sure your voice is heard and send an email by clicking on the "Contact Albany" button. You will find a template email of support for Unshackle Upstate's reform agenda already done for you. Sending an email will only take a minute or two, and is sure to make an impact.

They area also using this as an effective method to engage interested parties in fundraising for their Political Action Committee - UPAC.  Funds raised via UPAC are used to support candidates that align with the Unshackle Upstate agenda.

This is a great model for future social media lobbying campaigns that fully integrate the webs most popular free tools including Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and blogging.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CapWiz for Facebook

Grassroots e-lobbying with social media is becoming more convenient.

Recently the popular e-advocacy portal CapWiz unveiled its subscription only application for Facebook.

Essentially current subscribers to the CapWiz service can (for a fee) access this new Facebook application which will embed the traditional e-mail portal for messaging public officials right into Facebook.  This application could increase the reach of advocates far beyond their membership to the world of Fan pages that draw many non-members and other generally interested parties.

CapWiz is owned by CQ-RollCall Group.  More information on their service can be found here.

Here's the sample screenshot from their website:

This looks like a very useful tool for those who can afford it. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Congressman Rogers (MI) Has a New Widget on Facebook

I'm not sure if this is unique to my Congressman, spreading across the Members.  Congressman Mike Rogers (R - Lansing, Michigan) added a tab to his Facebook page that allows his friends to activate an application that is consituent oriented and interactive.

As with all Facebook apps, I was required to grant it access to my information in order for it to embed in my page.

Headers include: Home, News, Tweets, Videos, Tell a Friend

He also includes an option to participate in a poll and engage with his constituent services staff.  His widget can be shared on multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogger and others

This could be the latest in Congressional outreach to constituents on Facebook.  As a lobbyist engaging in social media for advocacy, there are many ways this kind of application could be used to influence the thinking of your Congressman or to use it as a model for dedicated advocacy efforts.

I've added the Mike Rogers widget to the right sidebar of this blog so you can see it in action.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Doctors Use Social Media for Advocacy

A nice article about the use of social media for lobbying by my friends at the Michigan State Medical Society in Dome online magazine.

Here's a taste:

Internet, Social Media Helping Groups Boost Grassroots Lobbying

Doctors use latest tools to operate better in public policy arena
by Ari B. Adler
July 16, 2010

When the Michigan Legislature was considering levying a “provider tax” on physicians last year, legislators were inundated with thousands of letters and e-mails from doctors offering a second opinion.

Dr. Daniel Michael, a Royal Oak neurosurgeon and president of the Michigan State Medical Society, presses a policy point with Rep. Marc Corriveau.The successful crusade to prevent passage of the tax was led by the Michigan State Medical Society, an association long known for its lobbying efforts in the Capitol. Over the past few years, however, MSMS and other organizations have been increasing their effectiveness even more by growing a network of activists who are reaching out to legislators online as well as when they are at home in their districts.
More advocates are turning to social media for their issue and political efforts.

Analytics for Facebook Fan Pages

Great article over at SocialMediaExaminer that gives you the step-by-step approach to add analytics to your favorite issue fan page.

Click here for the full article.

The more you know about your visitors, the better you can hone your message and target advocates.