Five Tips for Nonprofits Using Social Media During the #JointSession Address | npENGAGE

Five Tips for Nonprofits Using Social Media During the #JointSession Address

By on Feb 27, 2017


Presidential Address to Congress

On February 28, 2017, President Trump will give an address to a joint session of Congress, alternative to a State of the Union address (which happens after a full year in office). It’s a key first opportunity for the new president to outline his agenda in a nationally televised address. As Paul Ryan said: “This address will give the people and their representatives the chance to hear directly from [the president] about [his] agenda to tackle the critical challenges we face at home and abroad.”

What opportunity does this give nonprofits engaging on social media? A big one and you need to be prepared.

A majority of live conversation during presidential addresses happens on Twitter, so here are 5 steps nonprofits can take to engage and drive support for their cause on social media:

1. Prepare to insert your voice – positively

Begin by defining your position and plan of action if your cause becomes central to the conversation. Create tweets and calls to action in advance so that you’re able to give people direction on actions they can take to support your cause.

I encourage nonprofits to insert their voice and reinforce their values by using positive and action-oriented messaging. Use energized language, short text with images, mentions of relevant influencers (more on this below), and positioning that invites conversation. This will help boost engagement and momentum for your cause during a times that people are primed to take action.

2. Have visuals ready to go & capture video

During the height of interactions about the speech, you’ll want to utilize digital content to help your messages stand out. Your team can use for quick quote images during the talk. You can also capture screenshots and video from the speech to use as GIFs or clips in social posts and blog posts.

In other words, you’ll want to have pre-planned content in place, and then be ready to create additional social graphics or adapt once the White House releases a transcript (usually a few minutes before the President speaks). Rapid response should actually be planned response, and then you can make the most of the moment and enjoy.

3. Set up lists, keywords, and hashtags to listen

Before the address begins, monitor and share posts by people and organizations you care about related to topics that will be discussed. Prepare ahead of time to track the keywords and hashtags used by influencers to monitor what they are saying. You can use tools like,, and for advance research and listening.

Some hashtags that may be important next week include:

  • “joint session of congress” OR “joint session”
  • “my campaign terms”
  • Hashtag for the joint sessions address (TBD)
  • #Immigration
  • #DACA
  • #Obamacare
  • #SOTU

If your nonprofit has its own hashtag, think about ways you can insert it along with the trending hashtags to bring even more awareness to your brand.

4. Draft a blog in advance

You may want to prepare a blog post draft that’s ready to update and insert specific thoughts and opinions that come up during the joint sessions speech, including what your organization does to address these issues. Blog posts are a great entry to the rest of your website. With a draft prepared in advance, you can publish the post quickly while buzz is at it’s highest during or right after the speech. Include a suggestion or call to action at the end of your blog post to give interested folks another step to take on your behalf.

Then share it on social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are strong drivers of traffic to websites — to capitalize on a moment when people are looking for good content to share about the speech.

5. Identify and mention influencers

Find out the top mentions for the joint sessions address hashtag and other hashtags you’re interested in. Then, start following and interacting with those who could have the most influence for your cause. Instead of simply pushing content, reply to interesting tweets to join the conversation for real. Prepare some tweets in advance with mentions of some of your current top influencers who may be interested in what you’re saying, and then add in quotes & thoughts while listening — and remember to use the hashtag for the joint sessions address + mention the Twitter handles of people with whom you want to interact. Having people with large social networks sharing your ideas provides a valuable introduction.

Some of the handles of those involved in the speech include:

  • @POTUS
  • @VP
  • @SpeakerRyan
  • @HouseGOP
  • + Influencers from your lists
  • + Influencers in your issue areas
  • + Your Congresspeople

So, how can you identify your influencers?

  1. You can discover who’s influential on your email list by uploading your list to
  2. You can find your top Twitter influencers by putting your Twitter handle in the Reach tab in Twiangulate to run the search. A spreadsheet can be a handy place to track influencers you want to mention, as well as Twitter lists by topic area (or other category) that you can then pull into a monitoring tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

In closing, this is a fantastic opportunity for organizations to engage their current supporters, up their social media game, and reach new people. We hope you enjoy using the tips and start preparing to have fun!

Get more interaction tips from digital experts here:


Adriana Dakin (@apdakin) is Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy and Research at Fission Strategy. Drop Adriana a line at adriana [at] to discuss your organization’s ideas and goals in online outreach. Fission works with nonprofits, social enterprises and foundations to breakthrough the noise and create change.

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