“You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.” – Scott Adams (American cartoonist and satirist)
Digital platforms, including social media, provide powerful ways to communicate ideas, raise awareness, encourage support, and generate social change. With more and more young people having access to the internet via their mobile phones, digital awareness campaigns can be the best way to present your campaign. This is why many companies and non-profit organizations have decided to start launching their actions digitally to connect with this audience.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital media has changed education, creating new digital spaces where young people can talk about current affairs and debate the issues, they consider relevant to the world around them. Nowadays, people study online and can even work without the need of face-to-face meetings. Also, social networks have allowed young people to create spaces for peer-to-peer communication and self-development. That’s why many digital campaigns invite young people themselves to create content for the campaign. In addition, digital spaces are a great tool for raising awareness among young people about issues such as respect, intercultural coexistence, gender equality, etc.
Choosing to launch a campaign digitally has numerous advantages, first, if we target young people, we can reach them in a more direct way; it is dynamic, fast and cheap. Everyone can participate, as they only need a phone to record and publish it as part of the campaign. To launch an effective digital awareness campaign we leave you here a series of tips to follow to make it successful.
Use digital platforms to create engagement
Set up accounts on social media platforms. Use these platforms to share information and updates with other people around the world. Participate in online chat and blogs about your chosen topic to get a better understanding of the discussions people are having and how they view the issue.
Design a digital campaign. This is the best way to engage people, especially youth as they would be able to generate materials and take direct action in the cause.
Create digital petitions and try e-funding. Many websites let you to create and share an online petition, which lets your follower to show their support for your issue. Smilar to this, we have the “crowfunding”, a way of online fundraising, so people can support your cause with money via Internet.
Previous steps for a good awareness campaign
There are several aspects you need to take into account when you are planning to create a campaign, regardless of if you plan to launch it online or face to face.
- Set your goals. Be clear about what you want to achieve with your campaign. Your goal is the main change you want to see take place as a result of your advocacy efforts.
- Determine your audience. Your audience includes people or institutions you seek to influence to achieve your goal. Try to define your audiences as clearly as possible and find out more about them in order to know how to approach to them.
- Develop your key messages. You should develop your messages to appeal to the head, heart and hand. People need to feel invited to join you and want to know how their involvement can make a difference, so never forget to include a call to action!
- Decide upon your tactics and activities. Make sure that you create compelling content by using graphics/visuals, blogs, interviews, human stories, first-person narratives, email communication… Also, use digital channels that reach your target audience: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn etc.
Some examples of digital campaigns for youth you can use as reference are the following ones. Keep in mind, you can choose any topic you want when working on a digital campaign, there is no limitation, there are campaigns that deal with the good use of new technologies such as “Pantallas Amigas”, a Spanish initiative that works under the slogan of responsible digital citizenship. Its target group is mainly families and young people. Another example can be “Save the Music Foundation”, an American non-profit organization that provides public school kids in need with music education. Together with Tik Tok, they launched the #musicsavescampaignthat was intended to raise awareness of the importance and impact music can have on mental health.
An example of a movement that began on a small scale to provide resources and information for women survivors of gender-based violence. Thus, using the hashtag #MeToo, they created an entire movement to raise awareness around this issue until it grew into what it is today. With this example we want to highlight that the advantages offered by the digital era are numerous and that launching a digital campaign can help many small social organizations to grow, but also the power that lies in each individual user of social networks to generate social change.
Starting a campaign: https://www.youthdoit.org/themes/awareness-raising/starting-a-campaign/
Engaging online: https://www.voicesofyouth.org/engaging-online
A guide to Activism in the Digital Age: https://online.maryville.edu/blog/a-guide-to-social-media-activism/
Social Change Iniciative (2018), “For a Change: Digital Strategy for Social Change”
Designing Digital Strategies for Social Change: https://campaignsandelections.com/campaigntech/designing-digital-strategies-for-social-change/