On January 30, 2018 Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, will present the 96th in-person State of the Union Address. For days before, the day of, and for days after the hashtag #SOTU will be a top trending topic on Twitter.
With online and offline activism at unprecedented levels, this year’s State of the Union is likely to attract large online and broadcast audiences. For your nonprofit to stand out above the chatter and clutter, it’s essential to prepare your Twitter #SOTU strategy in advance.
Must-Read Resource: Limits on Political Campaigning for 501(c)(3) Nonprofits
1. Write a minimum of 10 factual tweets with sources in advance.
Odds are that a great number of important issues facing our nation will be mentioned in the State of the Union Address and almost every nonprofit, no matter their mission, will hear their issue(s) addressed. Rather than scrambling to put together tweets in real-time, guesstimate what issues will be mentioned (education, health care, poverty, immigration, environment, criminal justice reform, jobs, civil rights, international relations, #PowerToThePolls, #MAGA, etc.) and write at least 10 factual tweets in advance that can be easily tweeted when the issues arise during the address. Stats with links to sources (ideally your nonprofit’s website) perform exceptionally well on Twitter, especially during live events.
2. Also write a minimum of five call-to-action tweets in advance.
From contacting members of Congress to signing online petitions or making an online donation, write your call-to-action tweets in advance so when the time arises during the State of the Union Address to tweet a call-to-action, all you need to do is copy, paste, and tweet.
3. Create social media graphics for your #SOTU tweets.
Tweets with visually compelling graphics or images can receive up to three times more engagement (likes and retweets) than text-only tweets. If your nonprofit has a graphic designer on staff, then have her or him create social media graphics for at least half of your factual and call-to-action tweets. If you need to design your own graphics, Canva is an amazing graphic design tool that almost anyone can use to create retweet-worthy social media graphics. Be sure to include your logo on all graphics. It’s your call as to whether you want to add the #SOTU hashtag. Resource: 2018 Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet
4. Use the #SOTU hashtag in every tweet.
In the days leading up to, during, and after the State of the Union Address, consistently use the #SOTU hashtag. To maximize engagement it’s best to only include the #SOTU hashtag in your tweets, but in some cases using a second hashtag, such as #education or #cjreform, is beneficial. Be forewarned, however, that engagement decreases when you use more that two hashtags in a tweet.
5. Create at least three quote graphics in advance.
Whether the quote graphics are from famous thinkers or activists or your nonprofit’s executive director, create at least three social media graphics that include either an inspirational quote, a quote from a media source, or a position statement from your organization.
6. Let your supporters know in advance that you will be live tweeting the State of the Union Address and request their live support.
Write a website article or blog post alerting your supporters of the date and time of the State of the Union Address and ask them to join you on Twitter to retweet and like your tweets so your tweets are highly ranked in the #SOTU hashtag.
7. Retweet allies and partners that are trending who represent your mission and core values.
If you see a highly-engaged tweet during the State of the Union Address that speaks to your mission and core values, then retweet it. Mix it up. Don’t make it all about you because that can get boring very quickly on Twitter.
8. Tweet and retweet as much as you would like during the #SOTU.
Tweet engagements generally decrease after the third tweet posted within an hour, but during the State of the Union Address that rule does not apply. Your supporters will understand that you are live tweeting and most likely will not unfollow you. If you can tweet effectively every 5-6 minutes during the address, then go for it. You’ll likely gain new followers.
9. Don’t engage the trolls.
2017 Global Trends in Giving Report
Based upon the survey results of 4,084 donors worldwide, the 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report explores the impact of gender, generation, and ideology upon giving and volunteerism.