NAMI - using social networking for Advocacy

Using Social Networking for Advocacy

NAMI advocates can use social networking to reach a large audience of existing supporters and potential supporters, inspire public dialogue around mental illness and influence key decision makers.

What is social networking?

Social networking focuses on building social relations between people who have similar interest using a variety of networks that are most often Web-based, so that network members can interact over the internet. Through social networking, ordinary people and experts, reporters, etc. can exchange ideas, debate issues and motivate others to take action by sharing media links, videos and other information.

If you are not using social networking, you are missing an opportunity not only to be part of the conversations related to NAMI and its mission, but also to be a recognizable, reliable authority on mental illness.

While there are many free social media networks, if you are just starting out, you may want to focus on three key, user-friendly networks that reach huge audiences: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

You can use all of these channels free-of-cost; you only need to invest some time into familiarizing yourself with each network to learn how you can best mobilize NAMI support.

We will walk you through some basic ways to use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to advocate on behalf of people affected by mental illness and reach the most people possible.

What is Facebook?

Facebook, www.facebook.com, is a social networking Web site that allows users to create a personal profile and communicate with friends and others by sharing messages, photos, links, etc.

In addition to personal profiles, Facebook recently introduced Pages, or public profiles, which are specifically intended for organizations or public figures. Pages are public platforms that allow organizations to connect with members and other supporters in the Facebook network.

Why Facebook?

The breadth of Facebook's network is enormous: there are more than 350 million active users and approximately 50% of active users log on to Facebook on any given day.

Creating a Page for your state organization or affiliate is a great way to raise NAMI's profile and bring attention to NAMI's advocacy efforts and other activities.

A Facebook Page allows you to:

  • Create a basic profile describing NAMI's mission
  • Make your community aware of your local NAMI presence
  • Post news related to important issues, such as mental health budget cuts
  • Alert supporters to NAMI advocacy efforts
  • Encourage dialogue through wall posts, status updates and newsfeeds
  • Share photos, videos and links

Getting Started on Facebook

  • Visit www.facebook.com
  • To create a personal account, fill out your name, e-mail, password and birthday
  • To create a Page, click on Create a Page for a celebrity, band, business
    • Click on Band, Product, Organization
    • Enter NAMI affiliate name in Name of Page box
    • Click on Create Page

Once you've created a page, you may want to check out the NAMI National page by visiting http://www.facebook.com/officialNAMI.

Anatomy of a Facebook Page

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