April 28, 2022 |
Updated April 28, 2022
Can social media platforms be effectively used for citizen advocacy?
There are few who would debate the importance of social media platforms in today’s world. With the power of social networks being so profound, it begs the question: Can individuals harness this power to impact elected officials?
The answer is a resounding “Yes.”
Lawmakers use social media to inform the public on their latest bills and have direct dialogue with their constituents. How involved is Congress on social media? According to the report, “Social Media Use Increases Among Members of Congress, While Presidential Social Media Use Decreases,” from Washington, D.C.-based advocacy software company Quorum, Congress takes its social media activity very seriously:
- Members of Congress posted on social media a total of 793,483 times in 2021 alone.
- Breaking down the percentage of House and Senate Members who posted on various platforms in 2021: Twitter – 99% of the Senate and 98% of the House posted on the platform; Facebook – 100% of the Senate and 99% of the House posted on the platform; YouTube – 88% of the Senate and 76% of the House posted on the network.
Data doesn’t lie. Legislators use social platforms daily to understand how their constituents feel on key issues. Because elected officials can’t be in-district as often as they’d like to be, they use various social channels to keep them apprised of what’s happening back in their home states. With all this online activity from Members of Congress, are their constituents’ voices able to influence their legislative decision-making?
The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) surveyed 116 senior Congressional staff to show how receptive Congressional offices were to social media. Some of the key points from the survey include:
- 76% of respondents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement: “Social media enabled us to have more meaningful interactions with constituents.”
- 70% of respondents agreed that “Social media have made Members/Senators more accountable to constituents.”
- Many respondents also said that social media posts from constituents have “some” influence on their Members’ policy decisions if they have not yet made up their mind on an issue, while 36% “agreed” or “strongly agreed.”
Enter the NAA Influencer Program
The National Apartment Association (NAA) focused on building out membership participation in social media advocacy throughout 2021, as these channels are becoming even more influential in legislative and policy debates.
The NAA Influencer Program, which launched in 2021, includes individual members, affiliated apartment association staff and affiliated apartment association accounts that post important policy information and graphics on their social platforms. Throughout the pandemic, the media portrayed the rental housing industry in a negative light, while resident rights groups continued to utilize social media to effectively spread their messaging. It was important that NAA begin to make an impact online, and the Influencer Program has proven to be successful thus far:
- In 2021, the Influencer Program led to a reach of 700,000 individuals, and more than 1.3 million organic impressions.
- As of the end of the first quarter of 2022, the Influencer Program has led to a reach of over 600,000 individuals and more than 2 million organic impressions.
The rental housing industry has been faced with numerous challenges the past few years and will continue to face challenges moving forward. Establishing a network of organizations and individuals to participate in advocacy through social media was a vital push not just for NAA, but the entire industry, as it will allow individual members to have their voices heard by their elected officials on important issues.
Join The NAA Influencer Program Today!
The NAA Influencer Program is an easily accessible way to become involved in NAA Advocacy, signing up to become an Influencer is simple. Make your voice heard today and have an impact on public policy that can benefit you, your business and your industry.
Austin O’Boyle is NAA Manager, Grassroots Engagement.