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Post on Social Media to Influence Members of Congress

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Description
This training walks you through how to create your own posts that will influence your member of Congress to act on climate.
Breadcrumb
/topics/social-media-lobbying
TOC and Guide Section
 
What should I post to move my MOC forward?

CCL recommends that you post about anything that shows your member of Congress the political will you’re building for climate action. So that would be posts about your:

  • Lobby meetings, either in district or in D.C.
  • Media successes, like LTEs, op-eds, articles, TV or radio segments, or editorials you’ve generated
  • Grassroots activities like tabling events and community presentations
  • Grasstops successes, like endorsements and city council resolutions
  • Chapter activities, like your monthly meetings and social events

Just a note that you can make these types of posts on any platform that you use. But if you specifically want to use these posts to influence your member of Congress, Twitter is the best platform to do so. Members of Congress are most active and present on Twitter.

When should I tag my MOC in my post?

Be judicious. Don’t add your MOC’s handle to every single post you ever make about climate change. You don’t want to spam them. Instead, tag them in things that are truly relevant to them or helpful to them as they work to represent you. 

A good rule of thumb might be, “Is this post about my member of Congress? Is this information, this article, or this photo something I would share if I were meeting with my member of Congress in person?” If the answer to either of those is yes, then go ahead and tag your member of Congress. If not, though, it’s probably not something they need to see, so don’t tag them. 

Everything presented in this training today will be perfectly appropriate posts to tag your member of Congress in, so if you stick with what we recommend here, you’ll be in great shape.

Post about your lobby meetings

Anytime you have a lobby meeting in district or in D.C., that’s a great opportunity to post on social media. If your member of Congress sees themselves as a leader on climate issues, then your posts will show them that they get public praise and support when they meet with you. If you’re working on building a closer relationship with your member of Congress, then a nice post about your meeting will add to the respect and appreciation they feel from you. 

We recommend that you include the following elements in your post: 

  • A photo of you and your lobby team at the MOC’s office.
  • Your MOC’s handle. Including the member’s handle ensures their account gets a notification about your post, so that’s why it’s important to include. That’s also why it’s important not to abuse the tagging, and to only tag your MOC in posts they will find informative or helpful.
  • An appropriate hashtag. #GrassrootsClimate, #BipartisanClimate, or #PriceOnPollution are all ones that relate to CCL’s work.
  • An appreciative message to hold it all together. “Thank you @RepSmith for meeting with us to talk about putting a #PriceOnPollution. We appreciate your attention on climate change,” or something like that. If your member of Congress is not as far along on the issue of climate change and may not want public attention for meeting with a climate group, then please do be sensitive to that. You might phrase your post much more neutrally, like “Thank you @RepSmith for meeting with your constituents today! We appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.” 
Post about your media successes

Next, you can post about your media successes to make absolutely sure someone in the office of your member of Congress sees them. Here are a couple examples from volunteers - this first one is from volunteers who appeared on a local radio station, and the second is a volunteer who got a letter to the editor published.

When you’re posting about media in a way that will move your member of Congress forward, you want to include these elements:

  • A link to the media, or a clip, depending on the format
  • A quote from your media hit or something that emphasizes your message
  • Your MOC’s handle
  • You could also include the news outlet’s handle
  • An appropriate hashtag. #GrassrootsClimate, #BipartisanClimate, or #PriceOnPollution are ones that relate to CCL’s work. 
Post about your grassroots outreach

Anytime you’re tabling or giving a presentation, those are great opportunities to post on social media. 

When you’re posting about your grassroots activities to try to move your member of Congress forward, here’s what to include:

  • Photos from your activities. Show the presenting volunteer up on the stage, or show smiling volunteers at your CCL table.
  • An explanation about what you’re doing. You want to provide enough context that the MOC understands what they’re looking at when they see your post. 
  • Your MOC’s handle 
  • An appropriate hashtag. For these activities in particular, #GrassrootsClimate is especially fitting.
Post about your grasstops support

When you and your chapter generate endorsements from prominent figures in your community, or maybe a climate resolution from your city council, you can make sure your member of Congress sees the news on social media. 

In your post, be sure to include:

  • The context and details of the support. Who exactly are you talking about, and what have they done? Endorsed the bill themselves, or voted to pass a resolution in support of the bill, or something else? When did they do this? 
  • Include photos or news coverage, if you have any of that. So that might be a photo of CCLers at the city council meeting, or a newspaper story about the resolution, or a photo of the person who has endorsed. 
  • Your MOC’s handle. Again, that ensures that the member of Congress’s account will get a notification about your post and see the news of this grasstops support.
  • An appropriate hashtag. #GrassrootsClimate, #BipartisanClimate, or #PriceOnPollution are ones that relate to CCL’s work.
Post about your chapter meetings and social events

What do you and your fellow chapter members do to become better climate advocates or to strengthen your relationships? Post about it! For example, your monthly chapter meeting is something you could post every single month. 

When you’re posting about your chapter activities to try to move your member of Congress forward, here’s what to include:

  • Photos from your activities. This could be a group photo, or it could be candid shots of your chapter members talking, planning, and working together at a meeting.
  • An explanation about what you’re doing. Again, you want to provide enough context that your MOC understands what they’re looking at when they see your post. So if it’s your monthly meeting and there were 9 people there because they want Congress to act on climate change, say that. 
  • Your MOC’s handle.
  • An appropriate hashtag. #GrassrootsClimate, #BipartisanClimate, or #PriceOnPollution are ones that relate to CCL’s work
You can post and tag CCL, too

You’re welcome to post about and tag Citizens’ Climate Lobby, too! As part of a post, you may mention that you were in D.C. for @citizensclimate’s lobby day, or that you’re a volunteer with your local @citizensclimate, and so on. This will help put your activities in further context by connecting people with our national account.

Posting to your MOC on Facebook and Instagram

And as I mentioned at the beginning, Twitter is the platform where members of Congress are most present and active. Facebook is less ideal for lobbying, because you can tag your member of Congress, but they will not get a notification that they were tagged. Instead, your tag will show up in their “Activity” section where they manage their page. So it’s still possible they’ll see the post you tag them in, but it’s less direct than a tag on Twitter. If you’re more interested in making posts on Facebook, you can still make some of these same types of posts, but gear them toward making grassroots connections and growing your chapter, rather than lobbying.

Instagram is actually a fine platform for interacting and posting to your member of Congress, but it presents one significant challenge. Right now, a dramatically fewer percentage of members of Congress are active on Instagram compared with Twitter. As of 2018, virtually all members of Congress had Twitter accounts, but only 70% of the Senate and 50% of the House had Instagram accounts, so you just may not be able to find them on this platform. If your MOC does have an Instagram account, then any of the posts we’ve described here would definitely be valuable to make and to tag them in. 

More support

Click the “Watch” tab on this training page for examples of all the posts described here.

For more support, head to CCL’s Social Media Action Team. This is a private Facebook group, which you can request to join. Once you’ve joined, you can post questions and get support for any social media activity relating to CCL. 

You can also email Flannery Winchester, CCL’s Communications Director, at flannery@citizensclimate.org.

Length
Press play to start the video (14m 03s)
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

What to post to move your MOC forward
(from beginning)

When to tag your MOC
(1:41)

What to post about all five levers
(2:48)

Posting and tagging CCL
(12:05)

Posting to your MOC on Facebook and Instagram
(12:29)
Instructor(s)
  • Flannery Winchester
Downloads

View or Download the Google Slides presentation.

Download the video.
Go Deeper

Questions about using social media to support your lobbying efforts? Ask them in the Social Media Action Team or in the Lobbying Congress forum discussions.

To Print
Instructions for printing this page on Community.
Category
Training
Topics
Lobbying Congress
Format
Audio / Video