Platforms, Strategies, and Audience Members

It’s time to pick the platform(s) that you will use to deliver your key messages to your target audience(s). Below you’ll find a list of platforms and strategies. Within each platform listed below, you will find:

  • Why the platform may help you achieve your goals
  • How to use the platform
  • Questions to help you develop your strategy
  • Instructions to help you calculate the number of audience members you reached using the platform
    • When you put your strategy into action during Phase 4, you will need to report the number of people you were able to reach!

If you have any questions about picking your platform, developing strategies, or calculating the number of audience members you reached, please reach out to your Advisor!

Communications Platforms:

Social Media

Why use this platform?

Social media has become the go-to place for people to discover new information, check news updates, and connect with friends and family. It can be one of the most important platforms to ensure your message is heard.

How does it work?

Creating an Account for Your Team:

If you’re allowed to do so, you can create a new social media account for your team. This is a great idea if your team or group will continue to work together for at least a couple of years and you’re committed to growing the account. Using your own accounts is often the best way to go!


 When creating an account for your team, you’ll want to include your team name, upload your team logo, and create a short bio that lets people know who you are and what you’re about. This would be a great place to include your vision statement from Phase 1.2.

Asking a Larger Account to Promote your Message

Increase the visibility of your campaign and reach new audiences by connecting with a social media account that has a larger audience base. This account should be aligned with your campaign’s goals (for example, if you’re promoting a beach clean up event, look for accounts who are also championing goals around clean oceans, zero waste, up-cycling/reusability, etc.). Send them a direct message or email that lets them know who you are, why you want to connect and the content (picture and text) that you want them to share on their platform.

How to use Social Media?

  1. Choose the social media platform(s) that best align(s) with your target audience. See an overview of the top five social media platforms below:
  • Facebook: 
    • Number of monthly users: 2.6+ billion
    • Demographics: Very popular, but overall the audience is older.
    • As the most popular social network in the world, you can find just about anyone on Facebook, provided they have access to the Internet. Because Facebook’s audience skews older, it is a great place to reach people who are older.
    • Photos, contests, questions, videos, and other short posts work well on Facebook.  
  • Instagram
    • Number of monthly users: 1+ billion
    • Demographics: Popular as well, and the audience is young
    • Instagram is one of the youngest social networks out there, with a majority of users under the age of 25. Photos and short videos with a small amount of text do exceptionally well on Instagram, and it also integrates with your Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can use the same photos across multiple platforms.
  • Twitter
    • Number of monthly users: 330 million
    • Demographics: Less popular, but a dedicated following. Twitter is a great way to engage with professionals, politicians, journalists and companies.
    • Twitter gives its users a steady stream of information and new content from all over the Internet. Practically every brand in the world has an account to update its customers. It may not have the same broad audience as Facebook, but it’s easily one of the most accessible networks on the planet.
    • Twitter limits its users to messages of 280 characters or less. So, be concise, interesting, and informative all in one tweet. When you do it correctly, people can retweet what you’ve written so that you can appeal to a broader audience. When you want to expand brand awareness, Twitter is one of the best social media platforms.
  • TikTok
    • Number of monthly users: 680+ million
    • Demographics: The audience is much younger than other platforms. 
    • Tiktok is known for their short, viral videos. It is important to know that unlike the other platforms, TikTok is video-only content. 
  • YouTube
    • Number of monthly users: 2 billion
    • Demographics: YouTube has widespread use among US adults, millennials and youth audiences, casting the broadest reach of all social media sites.
    • YouTube is the most popular video platform on the planet and the videos are highly shareble on other social media platforms. Video is a fast and effective way to convey your campaign message, as people respond well when they see emotion and a strong call to action on film. 
  1. Create the content for your social media posts. Posts have two main components:
    • An engaging visual. This can be a video, a picture, or a graphic that you design. Whichever it is, make sure it grabs your audience’s attention and expresses what you’re trying to say in your post. Use bright colors and patterns and a clear and relevant image. On several platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram, using images covered in text are less effective than using engaging images.
    • A caption or text. This text should have a clear and strong call to action that inspires your audience to make the change you want to see.

Both components should communicate your key message statement and can be included as a part of the text and/or visual.

  1. Post your content!
  2. Reach out to accounts with bigger followings and ask them to share your posts (see tip above) – make sure to provide your content so they can easily share.

What is your strategy?

Use these questions to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3

  • How many times will you post to social media?
  • What social media accounts will you post to? (Ex: your team’s social media account, your team members’ personal social media accounts or both)
  • What other accounts will you ask to share your posts?

Example Social Media Strategy: We will publish four different social media posts to our club’s account and will contact 10 larger social media accounts to ask them to share our posts.

Audience Reached

  • Track the total community members and student reached for your team’s social media accounts
  • Track the total community member and student reached for the accounts who shared your posts

Check out the Social Media Campaign Documentation Worksheet to help track and measure your Audience Reached in Phase 4!

Email Outreach

Why use this platform?

Emails are a great way to help you reach and connect with your target audience in a personalized way. Nearly everyone has an email account that they check on a daily – if not hourly – basis.

How does it work?

The target audience receives an email that has been crafted to engage them and inspire them to take action.

How to conduct Email Outreach?

  • If you don’t have email addresses for your target audience:
    Find the people or organizations that do have emails for your target audience and ask them to share your message with their list. These could be school administrators or members of the PTA, community groups, institutions or leaders.
  • If you have email addresses for your target audience:
    Create a list of contacts that you want to reach out to. You can also ask these contacts if they can share emails of additional members of your target audience with you.

Tips for Success:

  • Subject line: Keep your subject line short, informative and to the point. Consider using numbers to frame your email. Ex: “5 Ways You Can Save Money and Reduce Waste”
  • Personalization: Address your audience by their name if available.
  • Call to action: Make sure that your key message and call to action is clearly stated and highlighted in the email. Include the link to take action in a big button or bold font. It should be easy for the recipient to find!
  • Well edited: Make sure you double and triple check for spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.

What is your strategy?

Use these questions to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3

  • How many email campaign messages will your team write and send?
  • Who will you ask to send your message to their contacts? These could be school administrators, organizations or companies that have a list of email addresses that match your target audience.

Example: We will send two different email messages to a list of 525 parents on our PTA’s list.

Audience Reached

  • Track the number of unique community member and student contacts you send your messages to

Check out the Email Outreach Campaign Documentation Worksheet to help track and measure your Audience Reached in Phase 4!

Website Content

Why use this platform?

If someone needs to find information, they are most likely turning to the internet to find it. By getting your message on an existing website, you’ve created a great place to share your message and important information with your audience.

How does it work?

Start out by identifying websites that your target audience is likely to visit. Depending on their age, interests, hobbies, or location, they’ll be visiting certain websites to meet certain needs.

How to develop Website Content?

  • Create a list of websites that you think your target audience visits.
  • Look at the website’s contact pages and reach out to the administrator – let them know who you are and why it’s important that your message be shared on their platform

What is your strategy?

Use this question to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3*

  • What websites will you ask to publish your messages/content? If you are publishing content to your own website, what is it?

Example: We will publish our letter encouraging others to boycott plastic utensils to our website www.gradesofgreen.org

Audience Reached

  • Track the estimated number of users that will view your content (you can do this by contacting the website administrator that posted your content)

Check out the Website Content Campaign Documentation Worksheet to help track and measure your Audience Reached in Phase 4!

Press and Media Outreach

Why use this platform?

Press and media outlets – like newspapers, magazines, online news sites, television and radio – can help get your message in front of your target audience. Press and media companies are made up of writers and editors that craft stories to share with their readers. They often look to the public to find those stories, and that’s where you come in.

How to utilize Press and Media Outreach?

  1. Identify press and media outlets in your area by going online and researching. This can include:
  • Local print publication
  • Local city newspapers
  • Local educational publications (ie school or school district newsletters)
  • Community publications (ie local chamber of commerce)
  • Local radio stations
  • Local television stations
  • Digital news outlets (ie Buzzfeed, Medium)
  1. After finding out the press and media companies in your area, look for the contact information of their writers and editors. Make sure to get first and last names, email addresses and phone numbers. 
  2. Write your press release.
  3. Attach your press release to an email and send it out to the contacts you gathered. Attach pictures to grab the journalist’s attention and make them want to share your story.
  4. Track your progress! Make sure to note the date you sent out your press release and any response that you get back in your press contact list. 

Tips for Success:

  • Check for typos and spelling errors
  • Use first names when writing your email to the press contacts, when possible. “Dear Sir/Madam” is generic and will decrease your chances of getting your press release published.
  • Add in any links you have for your social media so they can learn more.

What is your strategy?

Use these questions to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3

  • How many press releases will you write and send out?
  • Which press and media outlets are you going to send your press release to?
  • How many press and media outlets will share your story?

Example: We will write 2 press releases promoting the use of alternate modes of transportation and send them to our local newspaper to be published

Audience Reached

  • Track the number of print subscribers that each press and media outlet has, if your press release was published in print
  • Track the number of page visits to your press release, if your press release was published online

Check out the Press and Media Outreach Campaign Documentation Worksheet to help track and measure your Audience Reached in Phase 4!

Presentations

Why use this platform?

Effective presentations allow you to communicate your ideas clearly to your audience for them to understand and responds positively to your “Call to Action”.

How to conduct a Presentation?

  1. Identify where and how you want to give your presentation. Due to COVID 19, most presentations will only be accessible online and given virtually. There are two options for presentations:
    • Host your team’s own event: this means that you and your team will be organizing and facilitating an independent event.
    • Guest present to/for another institution: this means that you will need to reach out to institutions (organizations, schools, businesses, governments, etc.) whose audience you want to reach and let them know why you’re interested in presenting at their event. 

2. Make a presentation. Essential components of a presentation include:

  • A clear objective: what are you trying to achieve in this presentation? Are you trying to educate your audience about the importance of forests or encourage them to reduce their electricity use? Whatever it is, make sure that your slides all reinforce this idea.
  • Images and graphics: clear images and attractive graphics are critical parts of all strategies.
  • Minimal text: it’s impossible for people to read more than a few words at a time while also listening attentively to the speaker, so make sure your text summarizes only the most important points
  • Key messages and “Call to Action”: conclude your presentation with your key messages and Call to Action! Remember, this is the goal of your presentation and you want to give them easy ways to follow up with next steps
  1. If you are hosting your own presentation virtually, find a presentation platform that works best for your group. Some popular options include:
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • Blue Jeans
  • Google Meet

4. Decide on a presentation slide platform. Popular options include

  • Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Canva
  • Google Slides
  • Prezi

Tips for success:

  • Make sure it’s well-rehearsed: practice makes perfect!
  • Test your technology: make sure you meet with your team before the scheduled presentation time to try out your presentation platform and understand how all of the various functions of the platform work (i.e. breakout rooms, polling).

What is your strategy?

Use these questions to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3

  • How many presentations will your team give?
  • Who will be your presentation audience?

Example: We plan to hold an assembly via zoom to educate our 7th grade class on how to conserve energy within their household.

Audience Reached

  • Track the total number of unique community members and students that attended each presentation.

Check out the Presentations Campaign Documentation Worksheet to help track and measure your Audience Reached in Phase 4!

Petition

Why use this platform?

A petition is a request for a government, or public entity, to take a specific action. Petitions are a great way to demonstrate public support for a specific action or change they want to see in their community.

How to write a petition?

  1. Identify what the change is that you want to happen and who can make that change happen. This will involve your target audience.
  2. Choose a petition platform to gather your signatures and support.
  • Care 2 is a petition site that we like to use, but there are many options.
  1. Create your petition! Components of a petition include:
  • A short headline that grabs attention and creates an immediate connection.
  • A summary that either demands or requests change and tells people why they should sign.

Tips for success:

  • Keep your petition short (150–200 words), and include bulleted lists to make it easy to read.
  • Add photos and videos for the strongest impact possible! Compelling media brings your issue to life — adding pictures and video adds a tremendous boost to your petition.

What is your strategy?

Use these questions to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3

  • How many petitions will you organize?
  • What campaign strategies will you use to promote your petition?

Example: We plan to write a petition that bans plastic bags at restaurants within our downtown area. We want to send this petition out to all the parents at our school.

Audience Reached

  • Track the number of signatures from community members and students your petition receives

Check out the Petitions Campaign Documentation Worksheet to help track and measure your Audience Reached in Phase 4!

Email or Letter of Support

Why use this platform?

The Email or Letter of Support campaign strategy asks individuals, or organizations, to write letters to decision makers – like principals, school boards, city councils, or legislators – to encourage them to take a particular action.

How to write emails or letters of support?

  1. Identify the action you want the decision-maker to take.
  2. Identify who the letters will be sent to. Make sure this person has the power to make the decision or change you are asking for.
  3. Identify the decision maker who is most likely to be influenced. For example, local Council members are more likely to be influenced by their own constituents, while businesses are more likely to be influenced by their customers.
  4. Create an email or letter template that you can share with your target audience to have them send to the decision maker. The template should include:
    • Brief background about the campaign
    • Who you want them to email and why (include the decision-maker’s name and address)
    • Text they should include in their letter or email. This includes:
      • A clear and concise demand: what is the sender asking the decision-maker to do?
      • A small amount of background information to back up the demand. This should be no more than 2-3 sentences.
    • Address or email of the decision-maker to send the letter

What is your strategy?

Use these questions to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3

  • How many messages will you ask people to send on your behalf?
  • How many people did you ask to send the messages on your behalf?

Example: We are going to write an email to local restaurants encouraging them to adopt “Meatless Mondays”. We are sending a template and asking the rest of our 11th grade class to also send out this email.

Audience Reached

  • Track the number of community members and students who send a letter on your behalf.

Check out the Email or Letter of Support Campaign Documentation Worksheet to help track and measure your Audience Reached in Phase 4!

Tabling or Booth at an Event

Why use this platform?

Having a physical presence at an event, store or other public space is a great way to capture attention from a broader audience and share information with people you might have otherwise not been able to reach. Due to COVID-19, this will likely not be an available option for most teams, but is an important strategy to keep in mind for the future!

How to effectively table?

  1. Identify what events are in your area: often your city or school website will have an events page that you can check out to learn. Most events will be online now, so make sure to check for those too.
  2. Contact the event organizers with your adult advisor, and see if you can secure a space to table at the event. Contact local stores or shops – like grocery stores and malls – to see if tabling is an option at those areas.
  3. Organize a schedule with your team to make sure everyone can attend.
  4. Decide on what materials your team wants to utilize and bring to the tabling event.

Tips for success

  • Plan ahead! Most events are organized at least 2-3 months ahead of the actual date. Event organizers will want to have their booths and tables accounted for weeks beforehand, so make sure you get in touch before its too late.

Essential components of tabling at an event include:

  • Sign up sheets: these will help you collect visitor contact information and build your campaign’s contact list. Collecting and compiling this data should be one of your top priorities. Make sure to have a column on the sheet that asks if the person is a student.
  • Banner(s): consider creating a banner with your campaign/team name so people know who you are
  • Flyers: try to minimize the size and quantity of flyers you create to limit the amount of waste produced, but flyers are a way to share information with visitors and ways to get involved after they leave your booth
  • Camera: take pictures of your table and team interacting with visitors to document for your campaign

What is your strategy?

Use these questions to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3

  • How many events will you set up a table or booth at?
  • What are the names of the events that you will set up a table or booth?

Example: We are tabling at our school’s virtual club fair, asking other students to pledge to walk and ride their bikes instead of driving when they can!

Audience Reached

  • Track the number of community members and students who attend the event and visit your table.

Check out the Tabling or Booth Campaign Documentation Worksheet to help track and measure your Audience Reached in Phase 4!

Signage: Posters, Signs, & Billboards

Why use this platform?

Posters, signs and billboards are great visual elements that capture people’s attention and communicate messages to your audience.

How to create signage?

  1. Have a goal for your poster, sign or billboard. What message do you want to share with your audience? 
  2. Decide where you want your signage to go. You can post signage in businesses, stores, schools, and your local city hall/community center. Make sure you check with the owner or manager of the location and get their consent to post your signage there. Do not post in unmarked public areas like lamp posts or street corners.
  • Keep your text short and to the point. This should mainly consist of your key message or call to action.
  • Media links: include your campaign’s website or social media links for viewers to follow, engage and learn more.

Tips for Success:

  • Identify local print shops that will give you a good deal on printing in bulk. You can also ask for a student discount.
  • Talk to restaurant and shop owners to see if they will offer to post your signage at their stores. If they know it is for a good cause, they’re more likely to support you.

What is your strategy?

Use these questions to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3

  • How many posters, signs, or billboards will you create?
  • How many locations will your signs, posters and billboards be located?
  • What institutions will you approach to ask if you can post your signage?
  • Who at the institution will you approach to ask if you can post your signage?

Examples: We are hanging posters at our local grocery store (with their permission) encouraging the public to bring reusable bags.

Audience Reached

  • Track the estimated number of community members and students that your signs, posters and billboards will reach.

Check out the Signage: Posters, Signs & Billboards Campaign Documentation Worksheet to help track and measure your Audience Reached in Phase 4!

Incentives – a Tool to Use

An incentive isn’t a platform in and of itself, but a tool to use in your other campaign strategies.

Why use incentives?

Incentives encourage people to participate in a program or event who might not otherwise be motivated to attend. You can use this strategy to support other parts of your campaign.

How to use incentives?

  1. Identify the program or event that you want to incentivize people to sign up for or participate in
  2. Consider creating a pledge or a sign-up sheet where people can commit to attending the event or changing their behavior in exchange for a more environmentally friendly alternative
  3. Brainstorm feasible but attractive incentive options to offer to your target audience. There are a broad range of incentives you can create, some of which include:
  • Coupons: if you partner with a local business, they may provide you coupon codes to share with your audience
  • An example would be “make a pledge to stop using plastic bags and we’ll send you a free reusable bag.”

What is your strategy?

Use these questions to help you answer “What is your Strategy?” in Form 3.3

  • How many incentives did you distribute?

Example: We are distributing up-cycled bottle cap pins as an incentive for people who pledge to compost on a regular basis.

Audience Reached

  • Track the number of people that pledged to change their behavior

Having trouble viewing or completing the form below? To view in Google Forms click here – Phase 3.3 Form



NEXT STEP: Effective Goal Statement

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