Every Australian Counts is a campaign that has hit many highs since it’s launch in January 2011. The campaign to implement a National Disability Insurance Scheme is about to reach 80,000 supporters on the campaign website, close to the 2011 goal of 100,000. There are almost 12,000 active supporters on the lively Facebook page.
These numbers are absolutely fantastic – they show a growing movement committed to work to get the NDIS in place. But the figures come second to the big win of the campaign so far – the Federal Government’s announcement in August that it ‘shared the vision’ for an NDIS.
The Government has dedicated $10 million to the groundwork recommended by the Productivity Commission and initial advisory committees have been established. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is also on board at this point.
Now, the hard slog begins.
The campaign’s priority now is to see the NDIS fully implemented. With a timeline of seven years recommended by the Productivity Commission, keeping people engaged with the campaign is a considerable challenge.
How can we do this? Campaigners talk about action a lot, but at Essential Media we know that a good communications strategy begins with sound information, and real voices. And we don’t always believe that we are the keepers of all knowledge when it comes to trying something new or learning more about a campaign’s supporter base.
We tried something new on Facebook just last week. A state campaign coordinator suggested we have Campaign Director John Della Bosca do a live ‘chat’ on Facebook for an hour on a Thursday – during lunch. We talked through how the activity fit with the overall campaign strategy and decided to give it a whirl.
The way it worked was simple. First, fans on the Facebook page were alerted that the live chat was happening – a couple of days before the event. Then, when the designated hour came around, fans were invited to post questions as a ‘comment’ on our wall post. John would answer the questions by posting comments to the same post. It was a lively discussion, and John at times had trouble keeping up! Here’s how it looked:
There are two important things to take into account when using any social media tool – be authentic and be responsive.
Yes, the comments had the odd typo and went through without any proofreading, but people got the information they needed, straight from the person at the centre of the campaign with the intimate knowledge of how the NDIS is progressing.
It was such a success that the campaign team is keen to do these “q and a” style chats as a regular feature of the ongoing campaign.
The NDIS is a colossal and complex reform with the prospect of truly revolutionising disability services in Australia and improving the lives of thousands of Australians. Increasing your interaction in social networking applications is a method campaigners can use to help supporters deepen their knowledge of the nuts and bolts of an issue that’s difficult to grasp. Increasing your interaction in a social media channel also helps promote the campaign in that channel, organically spreading the word among friends, and friends of friends.
Crucially, social media and social networking engages people so they are more likely to stay strong in their support of the campaign for the long haul, which is what will make all the difference in achieving the NDIS for all Australians.
Remember, social media and social networking applications are not ends in themselves – at EMC “tools not toys” is our mantra when considering these tactics. But when using these tools as part of an integrated communications strategy, your staff – and your supporters – can help your campaign sing.
- Claire O’Rourke | Senior Account Manager, EMC
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