All political parties use Facebook, but the smaller ones on the Left do it best because Facebook is about connecting people and that’s a very good match to small-party kaupapa. Facebook is free so rank and file supporters can easily join in and campaign on a shoestring, as all they need is a computer and some get-started ideas.
Maori are even better placed because we are highly connected with each other, already use Facebook extensively and most of us have several times more Facebook friends than average. That makes it a good way to spread MANA’s message far and wide at very little cost, and many of our supporters already do. Here are some ways we can all do it more effectively:
Be tactful with friend requests, because if you get many refusals Facebook will restrict your ability to make them. It’s a good idea to make initial contact with people before you ask.
That said, here are some places to find new supporters:
Most MANA branches have Facebook pages. If you’re an Admin, hover on “Page Likes” in the right column then “See All” to study their Timelines and find out why they “Like” MANA. Invite likely people to join your branch. If you’re not an Admin but want to help, ask the page’s Admin to give you access.
Facebook has a page of its own called Maori Language at https://www.facebook.com/pages/M%C4%81ori/103756166330523?fref=ts with a blue link saying “280,000 users speak this.” For many that probably means they’d like to be more fluent, but it also means most will be either Maori or Ngati Pakeha. Click on that blue link to open the list and keep clicking More to scroll down past your own friends and look for people you know. It’s a very large list, probably the whole 280,000!
Click on hashtags for issues you want to follow up. That list will show posts from everyone using the hashtag, not just those you already connect with.
Instead of posting your own stories watch your friends’ Facebook conversations for an opportunity to join in. Your comments will be seen by their friends as well as your own and that may lead to new friend requests.
Looking for new Facebook friends who aren’t already in MANA:
These are the six possible kinds of network, but the only two that matter for Facebook are Mesh and Extended Star. Mesh is how MANA supporters connect with each other and it’s ideal for keeping everyone informed, with most postings about upcoming activities. However it doesn’t bring in new supporters, you need a star network for that. You can recognize star-type Facebook users as they have lots of friends but only a few significant mutual ones, meaning they share common interests but have a totally different circle of friends you can reach out to. Keep those strategic friends in a separate list and filter your News Feed by that List so you can easily watch what they post without clutter. Join their conversations whenever you see an opportunity so your comments will be seen by large numbers of strangers. You will probably discover new friends among people in their conversation threads.
Who sees your postings?
Not everyone you expect! To keep your News Feed manageable Facebook filters out friends you haven’t Liked or engaged with much in the past, whether or not you target them. So if you accept a new friend but don’t follow up, that person is unlikely to see your future posts unless you’ve had a conversation and Liked each other’s posts. That’s why you should engage with new friends straight away and Like everything, because the number of Likes you give each other determines what you will each see in future!
What makes a post go viral?
Nobody’s really sure, but these three things always help:
Fresh and impactful, right place at the right time.
Relevant, simple and short.
Action images that tell a story.
Getting ready for 2017:
Two years out from an election, building a strong network is what matters most and good preparation now will make ours much more effective. Develop your own Facebook strategy over the next two years (which Lists, which Groups, what sort of posts will you use?) so you will know exactly what to do when the time comes, and share what you learn with other supporters.
Study the Notes on the author’s Facebook page and share what you learn with other supporters as you help build MANA’s campaign network.
Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.