Three social media lessons from Ireland’s ‘Yes Equality’ campaign

Three social media lessons from Ireland’s ‘Yes Equality’ campaign

We all know social media is a great tool for businesses and thought leaders to promote their brand and create an online image. The potential for this is far more powerful than many people realise, as it is now proving to have the capability to change the way people think and promote positive change around the world.

A recent example of this is Ireland’s ‘Yes Equality’ campaign which began in the lead up to the referendum vote to legalise marriage equality which was held in May 2015.

Leading up to the campaign, the movement harnessed the power of social media to encourage people to vote yes for marriage equality, and the results were astonishing. Irish citizens from all over the world flew home to vote in the referendum and be a part of one of the biggest changes in Ireland’s political history.

Some of the campaign’s tactics were positive, comical personalised messages using influential people with a strong online presence, such as bloggers, celebrities, journalists, and politicians. For example, take a look at this video which uses a number of celebrities like Stephen Fry and Jimmy Carr encouraging Irish citizens to vote yes in the referendum.



While you may not be looking to change the world, there are some social media lessons you can take from this astoundingly successful campaign:


1. Have a clear goal


Like any strategy, setting clear goals and objectives is crucial to your success. If you have a goal to influence an audience, not only do you need to be clear about who your target audience is, you also need to figure out the best way to reach out and grab their attention.

The ‘Yes Equality’ campaign had one clear goal, and that was to get as many people as possible to vote yes in the referendum and thereby achieve marriage equality.


2. Embrace the use of #hashtags


Hashtags can be incredibly powerful when trying to spread a message. This is because they easily allow people to share your messages in a unified and powerful way.

All over social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn, #yesequality was a popular and trending hashtag, provoking people to spread the message globally and create significant awareness and positivity of the ‘Yes Equality’ campaign.


3. Harness the power of emotion


Humanity is what makes a campaign come to life. Social media is a way for people to connect with each other all over the world and to share views, thoughts and desires. These emotional drivers are what you need to tap into when using social media. It’s what will turn your messages from promotion into valued content that is shared, commented and clicked on.

The ‘Yes Equality’ campaign tapped into the emotions people felt about marriage equality, so much so, that it not only influenced people to change their own views, but also to become an active participant in the process. Rather than just agreeing or hashtagging, many people flew home to vote, and be a part of the change they so desperately believed in.

So why not take some lessons from the ‘yes equality’ campaign and apply these same tactics to your own social media strategy. Realising the full potential of social media, and how it can be used to create awareness and change the way people view the world is a powerful tool to have at your disposal, and can be effective for building your own brand


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