Last updated: 4th October, 2023
1. Templates and content for social media marketing
We recommend you go to this section to view tips, templates, and content for EA groups' social media marketing. That page also contains graphics your group can use to market your group.
2. Creating a social media or communications guide
Creating a social media guide for your group can help your group think through the goals of your social media use, and track what works well for your group. This can especially be helpful:
- for other groups in the same country or geography to rely on and to share a common approach and understanding
- to take into account cultural differences and sensitivities when communicating EA ideas and beliefs
- if you have several people sharing content on behalf of your group
- if you are expecting to pass on social media roles to other members of your group
For example, see EA Ankara's guide which also includes practical advice to keep in mind, especially about tone and language. See also this example from EA Turkey of a long-form guide to their principles for communication or the template from CEA for planning social media and communications campaigns. See the chart below for an example of a strategy.
a. Facebook Groups
Groups can help facilitate discussion between members. We recommend creating a private, visible group, which allows people to find the group by searching on Facebook. People have to request to join the group, and group member lists and discussions are only viewable by members of the group.
You can set up the group so that people requesting to join must answer up to three questions. These questions can help gauge their understanding of EA, interest in meeting with you or others, and inclinations toward specific cause areas. These questions also help you scan out for potential spammers.
We recommend a tidy, appealing cover image set to the dimensions of a Facebook cover photo, as well as a friendly description for your group. We also recommend editing the group URL to words instead of numbers, and marking important messages as “Announcements” so they appear on the top of the group’s page.
b. Facebook Pages
Generally, pages take less effort to maintain than groups. Only admins can post, and posts aren’t tied to Facebook users. People can directly message page admins using Facebook Messenger. Aim to provide regular updates or posts on things like events and donation opportunities, as well as engage followers of the page by replying to comments and messages.
4. Mailing lists
Email mailing lists are usually the most important communication method, excluding direct individual messages. They also are necessary to communicate with members who aren’t on active on social media. You can keep lists of emails in mailing platforms like MailChimp or Flodesk; these platforms also track the open rates and clicks on emails you send.
You can set up an email address with an EA domain name if you’d like to send emails from an EA-branded email, but we’d recommend using your personal email at the start (to keep on top of responses).
A regular newsletter with events, job openings, and local group happenings can help members keep up to date and engaged with your group. We recommend a newsletter if you have a large enough mailing list since smaller groups might be able to share links more informally through a group chat or Facebook group. Try to keep newsletters relatively short (up to five items of news) and place your most important content at the top of the email.
Instagram is a lesser-used platform by many EA groups, which may be due to its limits and challenges. However, it can be a valuable platform especially for new local groups established in countries or places (eg. universities) where it is highly popular.
- The word limit
- Not being able to provide direct links within the posts
- Shortness of videos
- Inability to rearrange posts and update the visuals of a post
- Greater focus on aesthetics: Instagram heavily relies on visuals. In order to have a more professional looking account, Instagram requires greater effort in designing and scheduling
- Follow other EA accounts, EA’s and tag them in relevant posts eg. those with general EA related content (best to ask for permission via direct messaging first) The simplest way to find other EA groups is by using Instagram’s search function: you can search for public accounts that use “effective altruism” in their title
- Repost EA-related content or share posts and updates from other EA Instagram group accounts as stories (best to ask for permission first)
- Follow people who have a large following in similar fields and engage them in conversation or repost their content (ask for permission first if necessary via commenting or direct messaging).
- Use the post to lead people to other sources of information about EA.
- Further tips about how to use Instagram stories, hashtags, captions and the links in bio with a focus on publicising EA groups can be found here (based on EA Ankara’s experience).
- Check out Rob Wiblin’s guide to promoting ideas on social media for some pointers.
- Use your own Twitter to publicise stuff about EA to your followers.
- If you want to use a Twitter account for your group: regularly post short statuses / quotes / one-liners / links and so on (similar to updating a Facebook page). Shorten links using the bit.ly website or similar.
- Follow people who have a large following in similar fields, and engage them in conversation or retweet them. This allows their followers to discover your Twitter account.
Websites are particularly good for large groups and national groups, to create a professional online presence that can be found through a Google search. However, we don’t recommend university groups to focus large amount of time on these because students will often use social media far more.
- Many groups get by using only Facebook and Meetup, so your group may not need a website or a personalised email address.
- If your group is part of a national group, you could ask whether it’s possible to have a page on your national group’s website.
- By creating a website you are committing to keeping your website up to date.
- CEA can assist you to create a website
- You can link your newsletter signup form to your website, and set it up to send a welcoming email to everyone that signs up with links to useful introductory videos and articles, and relevant groups.
- Check out websites from other groups to get some ideas of what to include.
8. Coordination tips
- If you are regularly posting to multiple social media platforms you can use a social media management platform such as Hootsuite which allows you to manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts and to schedule future posts. Sign up for a free account and use the box in the top right to schedule future Facebook and Twitter posts
- If you are using Instagram you can link your account with Facebook, which allows for Instagram stories and posts to be selectively synced without the need for an additional social media management platform. Images and photos previously uploaded on Instagram can also be shared on Twitter or Facebook later. See instructions for these here
9. What to share and when
Rob Wiblin’s guide to promoting ideas on social media covers what to post, how to share it, and a few do’s and don’ts.
You can find articles to post from these places:
- Other local EA groups’ Facebook pages and newsletters
- The effectivealtruism.org website
- EA forum and Facebook pages
- A list of relevant podcasts or episodes featuring prominent EAs
Articles relating to trending topics tend to get more attention, but consider if they are relevant to EA. You may prefer fewer clicks but from people who are more interested (and having them become more inclined towards EA), than for lots of people to engage, but only superficially.
Luca from EA Hungary and Dewi from EA Cambridge are available to help groups that would like a short video to promote their group. They’ve created a general EA video and can add on specific to your group. Contact Luca at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested.
10. Responding to messages and requests
- Prompt, friendly communication can help make people feel welcome to your group. Make sure you know who in your group is responsible for communications such as:
- Facebook messages to your page
- Requests to join Facebook groups
- Approving Facebook posts
- To save time, you can set up standard messages to common requests and make small changes to personalise the message.