Social Media & Press Coverage
For Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapters
Social media is a great tool for keeping your chapter members up-to-date on animal law events and news. Here are our tips for using social media as a communications tool:
- Share your social media links with chapter members and encourage their participation.
- Use the accounts to spread the word about chapter events and encourage others to share to help raise awareness about your chapter on campus.
- Social media is a great place to share news and information about animals and the law. You can share posts from the Animal Legal Defense Fund about recent cases, re-tweet news stories and share links to interesting news articles.
- Social media can be a great recruitment tool and help educate students about the chapter and how they can get involved.
- Your chapter’s social media profiles are also a great way to capture your events for the year, so future boards and interested students can see the chapter’s history.
- Tweet: A 140-character or less message posted on Twitter.
- Retweet: Sharing another user’s post.
- Hashtag: Begins with “#” and is used to track conversations and topics.
- Direct Message: Private message sent to a specific user.
- Mentions and replies are updates that contain “@username” anywhere in the body of the tweet. Place a “@” in front of the person, business, organization or whatever you want to mention or reply to. A recent change has made it so that your replies to someone will be seen only by mutual followers if you place their “@username” at the beginning of your tweet. If you want your followers to see your mentions/replies to someone, set the “@username” at the end of the tweet or put a period in front of the ampersand like this: “.@”.
- Feed: The stream that displays on your Twitter homepage.
How to Set up an Account
When setting up a Twitter account on behalf of your chapter, it is important to keep in mind the longevity of the account. Once you’ve moved on and graduated, you’ll want to pass the login and password on to the new members. We suggest creating a google account, or linking it to your chapter’s general email address (if you have one), in lieu of linking the account to your personal email. Keep the login info safe and develop a system to ensure logins are passed on to new chapter leaders.
- Please use the Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter logo or your chapter’s branded logo as the Twitter icon photo. We’ve also provided a few header photos you may choose from.
- Copy Example: New York University School of Law Animal Legal Defense Fund or Animal Legal Defense Fund at New York University School of Law.
- Add your city/state.
- Link: https://aldf.org/studentchapters
How to Build a Following
To help build your followers, it’s important that you take the first step – which is following others. Find similar accounts and view their follower list. This should be a regular practice performed once per week as time allows. Additionally, every 2 weeks, review the users you are following and unfollow those who are not following back. Tools like http://who.unfollowed.me/ can help.
Don’t forget to follow:
- Animal Legal Defense Fund @ALDF
- Animal Legal Defense Fund Media Department @ALDFMedia
- Animal Law Conference @AnimalLawCon
- Animal Legal Defense Fund Staff
Use pertinent hashtags to allow your tweet to show up in the hashtag timeline. Users interested in that topic will see the tweet and consider following your account.
Here are some popular hashtags to consider:
Links should always be shortened using a URL shortener, such as Bit.ly. Using a shortener reduces the amount of characters used by the link and also makes the tweet look cleaner. For example: The URL https://aldf.org/article/lucky-and-nicole-together-in-solitary/ can be shorted to bit.ly/2bSLZTg using Bitly.
Whenever possible, photos should be used in tweets. Bookmark royalty-free image sites such as Pixabay.com and Librestock.com to access images that can be used with your postings. When linking to a news story or article, grab the photo used on the linked page. Note: As of 8/2016, images count against the 140-character limit. But, according to Twitter, soon images and links will not count against the limit.
Optimize your image for Twitter by cropping the image to 1024 x 512 pixels in a PNG or JPG file type. A tool like Landscape can help.
- When setting up a Facebook page on behalf of your chapter, it is important to keep in mind the longevity of the account. Once you’ve moved on and graduated, you’ll want to add the new leader as the administrator of the page or group. Keep in mind a page is public, so it represents your chapter to members, and the outside world.
- If you want to use a Facebook group for communicating with just chapter members, set the group to be a secret group so only members know it exists.
- Please use the Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter logo (see here) or your chapter’s branded logo as the Facebook icon photo. You can use a high quality photo from a chapter event or one of the cover photos we provide.
- Fill in the basic page information:
- Sample copy for the About Us: New York University School of Law Animal Legal Defense Fund.
- The mission of Animal Legal Defense Fund student chapter’s is to provide a forum for education, advocacy, and scholarship aimed at protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system, and raising the profile of the field of animal law.
- Add your city/state and a link to your chapter’s school webpage (if you have one.)
- Link: https://aldf.org/studentchapters
Here are some cover photos you can download and use:
With this option, you can add your school’s logo to the cover photo:
Directions: Download the cover photo and save as a JPEG or PNG file. Open the file in your own photo editing software or an free online version (like Pixlr) to add your school’s logo. In Pixlr, select “open image from computer” to open the cover photo. Select “open image as layer” and open your school’s logo. Use “free transform” (under edit) to resize the logo, then use the move tool to place the logo in the right hand corner.
Timeline: The updates you have shared on your chapter’s Facebook homepage.
Newsfeed: Status updates of those your chapter follows.
How to Build a Following
For Chapter Pages, Like Other Pages
To help build your followers, it’s important that you take the first step – which is following others. Find similar accounts and “Like” those pages as your page.
For Groups, Invite Members to Join
Go to “Add Members” and type in the names of those you want to invite to join the group.
A Few to Like:
Your school’s main Facebook page and the law school’s Facebook page:
View your chapter’s newsfeed and share posts from their timeline to yours.
Whenever possible, photos should be used with status updates. Bookmark royalty-free image sites such as Pixabay.com and Librestock.com to access images that can be used with your postings.
Grow Your Page!
Invite chapter members, share the link with your friends and other students who might be interested in learning about animal law! Connect with other student Facebook pages and cross promote to reach an even wider audience.
Monitor your posts carefully, and always, always respond to comments!
Animal Legal Defense Fund student chapters are doing amazing work to advance the field of animal law. Reaching out to your local press outlets is an excellent, inexpensive way to let your community know about your chapter’s work for animals, and to educate countless people about issues affecting animals. Your events, projects and work on local cases can all be the basis for a press release about your chapter. We can support you in this effort by providing your chapter with a list of local media contacts in your area. If you have an idea for ways to get press coverage and want additional support, we can also provide guidance.
Another way to reach out to your local media and obtain press coverage for your chapter is to contact area newspapers and magazines (even your state or regional bar journal) and offer to contribute a regular column or write a feature story. An example of a chapter who did just that is the Charleston School of Law chapter, whose president, Danielle Young, has been invited to write a regular column about animal law for the regional magazine, Low Country Dog
Finally, why not invite area TV stations to your next event? Your chapter may get covered on the local news. Projects featuring live animals, such as a dog walk fundraiser or similar events, tend to be very “TV-friendly” and may result in media interest, so give it a try! You’re already putting in the work to organize the event, and with a little extra effort you can reach a much wider audience.
If you need help locating a list of media contacts in your area, or for guidance on how to pitch your chapter’s project to the press, contact the Student Programs Attorney.
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