On March 3 and 4, the Wisconsin Women’s Network hosted a training weekend for 90 advocates, mentors and organizers working to improve public policy for women, work and families. Saturday afternoon included a round of TED-style talks on lobbying, using data and stories for advocacy, and how to leverage the power of social media for good.

In my talk, "Sisterhood is Powerful on Social Media," I wanted the participants to understand that while social change requires awareness before action (doesn’t everything have its own awareness day now?), they each have incredible potential to be influencers as policy experts in their own communities. They should raise their own public profiles as go-to leaders, experts, well-resourced and well-connected people who are making a difference.

It’s that top-of-mind awareness of who they are as leaders that was inspired by "ROTOMA: Return on Top of Mind Awareness," a book by Spencer X. Smith and D.P. Knudten. Their book, talks, and podcast are packed with ideas on the value of using social media to stay top of mind, but I only had time to share one fun strategy. I strongly recommend reading more about #ROTOMA.

Big thanks to the Wisconsin Women’s Network for inviting me to speak.


Sisterhood is Powerful on Social Media

Social is scary - Can we agree that sometimes social media feels like a waste of time? It can be overwhelming, depressing or even threatening to our privacy.

Social is powerful - But we could also agree that today’s most important social movements are being advanced through the use of social media. #MeToo, Black Twitter, Standing Rock, Wisconsin’s 2011 Capital protests, #NeverAgain against gun violence and more – are powerful examples of the incredible momentum, changing attitudes and community building that comes from using social.

How can we harness the power of social media for good and raise the profile of our causes by spotlighting our amazing partners?

First, can we also agree that if your goal is awareness – of your cause, campaign or company – that it is better to be at the top of people’s mind than forgotten? Isn’t it an advantage to be the first person who comes to mind when people think of an expert, a community leader, an advocate on an issue or someone running for office?

The social media measure of success that is sometimes hard to measure is the return on the investment of time to say top-of-mind with your audience. Local business development guru Spencer X. Smith and marketing Yoda D.P. Knudten literally wrote the book about how to do this. In ROTOMA: Return on Top of Mind Awareness, they explain a very positive, uplifting philosophy on exactly how to carve out time to use social for good.

One strategy – the unselfish selfie. (As a Midwestern woman, I think we are disinclined to brag about ourselves… but...) We can choose to brag about the people we meet, work with and admire. The next time you are at a meeting, conference, training, protest, campaign rally or even a friendly brunch with someone you want to spotlight, take a selfie photo or video with them and post it to social media and explain why they are doing good work.

When is the unselfish selfie an act of powerful sisterhood? When you spotlight women, people of color, wise retirees, wise youth, people with visible and invisible disabilities, queer and trans people, and those fighting for economic justice, you are lifting up unsung heroes and leaders who deserve recognition.

By sharing affirming and uplifting posts, you remind your audience you exist AND know amazing people. You stay top of mind. And you are actively building a network of positive, supportive, grateful support along the way.