What Does Facebook Town Hall Mean for Online Advocacy?

Working in digital at The Herald Group, the area where we’ve seen the largest growth over the past year has been social promotion. Clients love the precise targeting afforded by the large amount of data collected by platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and client teams love the flexibility of a dashboard that allows you to start or stop a campaign at a moment’s notice. It has made online promotion accessible to many more people and often works as a segue to more varied types of campaigns.

Much of the promotion done on this channel is targeting online users who care about a very specific issue, and driving them to an external landing page where they can first lookup their representative(s), then contact them using a dedicated form. As anyone who works in online advocacy knows, driving people away from a social network is often a big ask of a user; it’s hard to go from looking at photos of puppies to writing about a heady policy issue.

Earlier this week Facebook launched a tool that seeks to close the gap between one’s social life and their civic duties (it has been in beta testing with select users for some time). It’s called Town Hall, and it allows you to quickly look up your local, state, and federal representatives, then add them to your “follow” list or contact them with the click of a button. You’re also able to subscribe to local election alerts, which ping you to remind of upcoming city, county, or state elections.

What remains to be seen, however, is how Facebook will allow advocacy firms like ours to use this data. Will we be able to point users to the Town Hall portal and track who takes action? Will we have information on who takes action on which issues? We’ll be diving in over the next few days on ways to integrate this into our suite of advocacy products. As always, you can give us a shout to learn about the latest and greatest in online advocacy!