Note: This is an updated version of a post that originally ran on Firesteel in January 2016.
Use your social media skills to advocate for affordable housing and an end to homelessness on the fourth annual Social Media Day of Action, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.
Advocates around the state will flock to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms that day to build an online movement as we lead up to Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) in Olympia, Thursday, Feb. 2. HHAD is hosted by our partner, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
More importantly, we want to keep the momentum going, so that our voices are heard all year long and lawmakers understand that there is huge public will for policy change.
This year, Seattle University is partnering with Housing Development Consortium to co-host the Day of Action. We’ve added some new twists to keep everyone energized throughout the day — from hourly themes, to HDC’s new Legislative Session Bingo!
Why We Do It
Our goals are to:
1. Increase registration for HHAD. Three years ago, Social Media Day of Action increased registrations for HHAD 50 percent. We can do it again!
2. Demand action for the Alliance’s legislative agenda items like the Housing Trust Fund, Source of Income Discrimination, the Washington Housing Opportunities Act (formerly Document Recording Fee) and more.
3. Share clear, consistent messaging (see below).
4. Connect with advocates around the state who are doing the same kind of work. We are stronger when we advocate together!
How To Do It
It’s easy – and fun – to participate. Here are a few ways you can be part of the action.
1. Change your photo – your Facebook profile photo and Twitter avatar, for example — to the Social Media Day of Action icon above. Just click on the image and save it to a folder, then post on social media.
2. Post something on your social media accounts – an image, video, link to TV story and more. Create your own image, or share content from partners. See below for some suggestions.
3. Add a key message. (See below.)
4. Add hashtags. Be sure to use the hashtag #HHAD2017 and the #WAhomes hashtag, as well as #WAleg for the Washington legislature. These not only concisely express a message, they help people search for your posts.
5. Invite your friends, family and colleagues to join in. Ask them to “like” and “follow”:
- Washington Low Income Housing Alliance on Facebook and Twitter
- Social media co-sponsor Housing Development Consortium on Facebook and Twitter
- Social media co-sponsor Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness on Facebook.
6. Repeat. The Day of Action lasts all day – from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
- For Twitter, post once per hour.
- For Facebook, post a few times during the day. We don’t recommend flooding your Facebook feed with too many #HHAD2017 posts; Facebook users aren’t accustomed to a surge of posts, like Twitter users are.
All the Social Media Day of Action content should focus on key messages like these:
1. Register for Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day, Feb. 2 [http://wliha.org/housing-and-homelessness-advocacy-day] #HHAD2017 #WAhomes
2. All Washington residents deserve the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home in thriving communities.
WLIHA’s Legislative Agenda Item Messaging:
1. Create 5,700 affordable homes: Invest $200 million in the Housing Trust Fund.
2. Streamline and increase the funding for homelessness services and housing.
3. Prohibit discrimination based on a renter’s source of income.
4. Expand housing for people with disabilities experiencing long-term homelessness.
5. Protect and fully fund services that prevent homelessness.
More about the WLIHA agenda here.
10 Kinds of Content To Share
Now that we’ve done the Day of Action for a few years, we know what kind of content gets shared the most. Here are some recommendations for what kinds of posts to try. Change it up throughout the day. Look at what others are sharing, and join in. Be sure to interact with others; don’t just post-and-run.
1. “Unselfies.” A selfie is type of self-portrait photograph usually taken with a camera phone and then posted to a social media site, often accompanied with the hashtag #selfie. An unselfie encourages people to take a self-portrait and tie it to a social issue or cause. It’s easy. First, write clearly why or how you’ll be participating in Advocacy Day; maybe you’re volunteering, or will meet with your legislator. Feel free to list more than one. Then, hold the piece of paper in front of you, showing your personal pledge, and take a picture. Add the hashtags #HHAD2017, #WAhomes and #unselfie to the post.
We’ve even created a template you can use for an “unselfie” sign, below – just save the image, insert a text box and fill in the message!
2. Cute animal photos. Just like any other social media content – but with extra meaning.
3. Memes. These are images, videos, quotes and other pop-culture content made for sharing. Make your own at Imgur or Quickmeme. Or just pop an image into Powerpoint and snip it, creating a jpeg you can share. Note: You can also listen to Firesteel’s “Spark Change” podcast on creating images quickly, or read the post about it. There, you’ll also see the “Office Space” meme, a perennial favorite.
4. Videos. Here’s one created specifically about WLIHA, featuring super-advocate Nancy Amidei and lots of scenes from HHAD last year. This is a great way to get people fired up about HHAD.
5. Images related to agenda items. McKenna Haley of Seattle U created this image to support the Housing Trust Fund several years ago. You can add your own advocacy message at the bottom, or make your own image.
6. Infographics. These are great for visualizing data quickly. Here’s one from Columbia Legal Services and Seattle U about the number of homeless students in the state as of 2014-2015 (newer numbers are not yet available). This can be used to support items like funding for the Homeless Student Stability Program.
7. News Coverage. You can share this Seattle Times editorial on the need to better address the needs of people living in vehicles; this editorial in The Columbian in Clark County, about the need to help people who are homeless year round; blog posts; and much more.
8. Quotes. Take a memorable quote and turn it into a strong visual. Or, share images that already exist, like this.
9. Statistics. Share statistics about affordable housing and homeless in your community on your tweets and posts with the hashtag #HHAD2017 and #WAhomes. Here are some great sources for statistics:
- Housing Alliance State Legislative Advocacy Page
- National Low Income Housing Coalition Housing Spotlight
- Department of Commerce Annual Point in Time Count
- Schoolhouse Washington: Information & Support for Homeless Students
10. Your personal thoughts and experiences. Your point of view means a lot to your followers and friends. Whatever you share, make sure you express your opinion and tell people what you want them to do.
New This Year!
For the first time we’ve divided up the day into different themes.
- 8 – 10 a.m.: Musicals and Music (look for the debut of a certain Founding Father!)
- 10 a.m. – noon: Pets and Animals
- Noon – 2 p.m.: Classic Memes updated for #HHAD2017 (Hey Girl!)
- 2-4 p.m.: Popular TV
- 4-6 p.m.: Oscar-nominated Movies
- 6-8 p.m.: Washington State scenes, trivia and culture
Of course, you’re welcome to post this content at any time of the day. And, please post unselfies, statistics, videos, news articles, infographics, inspirational quotes and more all day long.
BINGO! You and your team can also play HDC’s new Legislative Session Bingo and win prizes! Click on and save this card now so you can get going.
You can earn your first square just by participating in Social Media Day of Action! Maybe you’ll be able to win by the time HHAD rolls around.
About Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day
An Advocacy Day (a.k.a. “Lobby Day”) is an organized event, usually at the legislature, where constituents can meet their elected officials to inform on and advocate for specific legislation and policies. Each year, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance organizes one of the largest Advocacy Days during the legislative session. Over 650 advocates from every county in the state gather to urge their legislators to support policy ensuring that everyone in Washington has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, and affordable home. Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day is Thursday, Feb. 2 in Olympia. More information, including registration, here.
See you online Jan. 31!