How the ACLU Handles Haters in Social Media

Diana Scholl, Social Media Manager for the ACLU, joins the Social Pros Podcast to share how social is transforming the role of advocacy both online and offline.

In This Episode:

8

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Full Episode Details

Social For Social Justice

Social media marketing isn’t just for private, for-profit businesses anymore. It has become an essential item in the toolkit for nonprofits looking to share their mission, increase impact, and recruit members across the country and beyond.

However, social justice organizations such as the ACLU can find it difficult to balance a planned social media calendar while maintaining the flexibility to respond immediately to current news and events. Diana has discovered that not only is it possible to walk the line between news and campaigns on social, but also that it’s an incredibly effective vehicle for cultivating new members and retaining donors.

Nonprofit organizations that leverage the power of organic social with a boost from paid can significantly increase their reach and exposure in such a way that attracts new donors and reinforces the commitment of existing members.

Additionally, being able to present your ongoing work alongside the organization’s responses to crises quickly, effectively, and without the burden of postage or printing is a huge cost benefit for non-profits.

In This Episode

  • How an overactive social presence for an advocacy organization leads to new donors and reaffirming the commitment of existing members
  • Why the rise of social means a new age for non-profit fundraising
  • How the social activism boom leads to a unique opportunity for nonprofits to quickly and easily share their message far and wide
  • Why using social wisely means being critical of every new tool or feature that hits the market

Quotes From This Episode

“I’m in constant contact with my colleagues in the states, working with their social channels, and we elevate their content, and vice-versa.” —@dianascholl

“We’ve found an interesting sweet spot between being a news outlet and being an advocacy organization.” —@dianascholl

People are coming to our social platforms to see what we have to say. Click To Tweet

“We value speed, but we value accuracy more.” —@dianascholl

“Our legal and legislative staff have seen the power of social media, and what a way it is to get information and get people mobilized.” —@dianascholl

Social media brings donors in, but it also fortifies their membership. Click To Tweet

Social is definitely part of the equation for raising money.” —@dianascholl

“I don’t think we would have seen these protests spreading if it wasn’t for social media because it’s making people feel part of the story, and wanting to be part of it… the same people who live online also live offline.” —@dianascholl

Because we have such great organic reach, we use paid as a way to expand that. Click To Tweet

“Even though Tumblr is not seeing the growth that some other platforms are seeing, it still has a very active, engaged young audience that’s very committed to social justice.” —@dianascholl

“Right now we’re a driver of conversations, so sometimes the fact that we have 3.5 million social followers, we both listen to what the conversation is, and we help start some of these conversations.” —@dianascholl

“When folks come to me saying they want something done on social, I always say, “What is the goal? Who is the audience?” I will always start with that.” —@dianascholl

Resources

See you next week!

Episode Transcript

Jay: Welcome, everybody, to Social Pros, the podcast for real people doing real work in social media. I am, as always, Jay Behr from Convince and Convert, joined as usual by my special Texas friend. He is the executive strategist of Salesforce Marketing Cloud. He's in Austin, Texas, as he usually is. He is the one, the only, your friend and mine, Mr. Adam Brown.
Adam: What an introduction, Jay. It is great to be here. I'm so excited about this show. I know we sometimes say that, but seriously, sincerely. This is a pretty groundbreaking show we're about to do here.
Jay: Man, talk about an individual who is in the middle of it, in the mix, in the maelstrom, in the zeitgeist, on the pulse. Our guest today is doing that every single hour of every single day. One of the most interesting and perhaps most difficult jobs in all of social media. Diana Scholl is on the podcast this week. She is the social media manager of ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union. She runs all of their social nationally. Diana, thanks so much for being on Social Pros.
Diana: Thank you for having me.
Jay: Can you describe for our audience, for those who do not really understand perhaps, or fully appreciate the scope of the ACLU, how it works, all the different state chapters, and then your role on the national side, please?
Diana: Yeah. The ACLU stands for the American Civil Liberties Union. We've been around for 97 years, and our job is to protect the civil rights and civil liberties for everyone in the United States, so you know, no big deal. We have chapters in every state. California actually has three, so we have 53 affiliates total. Yeah, so we are just covering the waterfront with what's happening in the United States, and we've been ... You know, we're always working, but since Donald Trump got elected, we've been working overtime.
Jay: You're funded by donations, primarily?
Diana: Yeah. 100% by donations. We don't take any government funding.
Jay: On the national side, you are responsible for the social channels for the official sort of @ACLU accounts and such. Do each of the states have their own set of social channels as well?
Diana: Yes. I'm in charge of ACLU National's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all the things, and then all the chapters also have their own social channels. They are independent, but we work closely with them, so I'm in constant contact with my colleagues at the states, working with their social channels, and we elevate their content, and vice-versa.
Jay: Do you have some sort of syndication system where you've got something that you publish and you share it with them internally, or do they just always monitor your page and just grab it and redistribute it?
Diana: Yeah, we share it, especially images. We give it to them in advance, and we give them files so if they want to edit them to make it more state-specific. We're constantly working together.
Jay: I'm glad you mentioned that, "in advance," because my observation, just having spent some time on your accounts in preparation for the show, and seeing your work here and there in my feeds, is you are very, very busy. Like, your publishing cadence is quite frequent. Lots and lots of posts per day, in many of the social channels. I have two questions. One, do you have a target cadence? Are you trying to say, "Look, we're going to post three times a day to Facebook?" Or are you primarily letting current events dictate that publishing schedule? Then my second question, along those lines, is, do you have an editorial calendar? Are you thinking, "All right, next week we're going to do this, and the week after we're going to do that"? Or it's just so run and gun right now with all the craziness in the world that you're just sort of at sea, and whatever happens, you react?
Diana: It's a bit of all of the above. We do have an editorial calendar, but a lot of it is rapid response. I think of it almost like a news outlet. A newspaper will have their long lead pieces they're working on, but then they also react to whatever is happening in the world that day. Since the election, it's definitely been primarily rapid response, but now we're moving more towards making sure that we can do more long lead editorial work. As far as timing, it really varies by platform. We treat every platform differently. Facebook, we make sure we do have a certain amount of posts we want to do a day. It's usually ... We try not to post more than every two hours, because we want to give each piece a chance at success. Whereas Twitter, it's much more reacting to the news and posting constantly.
Jay: Even that is a frequent schedule, to say, "We're going to try and post to Facebook no more than every two hours." Many of the guests here on Social Pros who work more in the corporate side are thinking, "We're going to post one to two times a day, period." It's amazing to me the loyalty of your audience in all of your channels, that even though you are posting with some degree of frequency, or perhaps because you're posting with that degree of frequency, almost everything you publish generates substantial levels of engagement.
Diana: Yeah. It's incredible. I think we've found an interesting sweet spot between being a news outlet and being an advocacy organization, where we're able to really ... We're reacting to what's happening, but we're also giving our own spin, and people want to hear, "What is ACLU saying about this?" X event happens. "What's the ACLU's take?" People really are coming to our social platforms to see what we have to say.
Jay: Obviously a lot of the work that you do has direct or indirect political ramifications, policy overtones, et cetera. One of the things I really wanted to ask you about was, because you're so quick, and your rapid response is really on top of it, what is the approval process inside your organization? Is it ACLU says, "You know what? Diana knows what she's doing. It's all good," and sort of whatever you want to post, you post? Or is there some sort of committee or higher authority that says, "Yeah, we don't want to say that"?
Diana: Yeah, I would say in between those things. I think one of the reasons we've been able to be so successful since the election is, I've been at the ACLU a long time. I've been there four and a half years, so I know our messaging really well. There's a lot of things that if maybe a new person coming in wouldn't know what's an okay thing to say. A lot of it I just know because I know. Some things don't get approved. The way I work is if something's been approved once, then it's been approved. That's a way to try to make things quicker, but we do have an approval process. Any new information, making sure that it runs by the appropriate policy and legal folks. We really value accuracy. We value speed, but we value accuracy more. That's something, and luckily we have a whole team of lawyers at the ready who I can call and say, "Hey, is this okay?" And I'll read a Tweet to them, and they'll say, "Go for it."
Jay: Nice. It's nice to have a legal team that understands the value of social and will cooperate in the moment. It's not like, "Make an appointment with me next week, and we'll talk that over."
Adam: Enablers, not barriers. Yeah.
Diana: Exactly. That's been an evolution, and I think since the election, our legal and legislative staff have seen the power of social media, and what a way it is to get information and get people mobilized, and they realize that it's important to be responsive.
Jay: Strategically, what is the role of social for ACLU? Clearly, you're generating a ton of engagement. I suspect, and logic would dictate, that most of that engagement comes from people who are already members or supporters of the organization. Is the idea that giving them those engagement opportunities ratifies their decision to help fund the organization, and the next time it's time to do fundraising, those people will remain loyal? Or is there some sort of overt responsibility of the social media outposts to encourage people to donate? The reason I ask is that I didn't see a lot of content in social that says, "Hey, support the organization. Click here to give us money," et cetera. Maybe I just didn't see it, but my examination did not turn up a lot of that kind of content, which I found interesting.
Diana: Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned that. We do very, very few direct fundraising asks on social, because ... It's definitely part of it. If someone comments and says, "Oh, this is why I'm a member." Then I'll say, "Great. Here's a link, so anyone else can join." But it's really to make people feel, yeah, like you said, Fortify the reasons they support the ACLU. Development has been very good about that. We're not expected to be a ... You know, it's part. Certainly fundraising is one of our goals, but it's not our chief goal. Also, I would say a lot of members came through social since the election. People, donors, high level, as well as just people who give $20 a month, first learned about the ACLU's work through seeing our social media during the Muslim ban protests or otherwise. It's a ... What's the right word? It's a cycle, right? Donation is part of the wheel, but social media is ... Social media brings donors in, but then it also fortifies their membership.
Jay: Do you track that? If you've got content that yields site traffic, and that site traffic yields new donations, do you report that back and say, "We're going to attribute some of these new donations to Facebook," for example?
Diana: Absolutely. I always joke before the election, we'd get ... You know, I'd say, "Oh." There was this day that $300 came through social, and that would be a cool day. Then right after the Muslim ban victory, we have millions coming through social. It's been incredible.
Jay: Diana, you should be working on commission. You're doing this all wrong.
Diana: Right? Thank you. I'm glad you said that. I think it's interesting, because it's such a new time. I think the party line before was, "Social is not a money-generating thing." That's how people saw it, but we've really been changing the game, where now social is ... You know, social is definitely part of the equation for raising money.
Jay: Last question from me in this segment of the show, and then I'll turn it over to my colleague Mr. Brown. As the person who wrote the book Hug Your Haters, I am certainly a proponent of engaging with your critics as often as possible. However, you certainly have perhaps more than your fair share of critics. There's lots of people who reflexively dislike your organization, rightly or wrongly. You do not, as a matter of course, interact with critics, some would say even trolls, who comment on your Facebook page, on your Tweets. It seems to be that you post the content and you sort of let the supporters and the detractors kind of fight it out in the comments, and sort of let the members come to your defense without you having to do that. It seems like that is the defined strategy. I'd just love for you to comment on that.
Diana: Yeah, exactly. We have a lot of people who feel strongly about the ACLU, one way or another. We do respond to some of the people who have critiques, either because we think it's a critique worth addressing, or we think it's important that our supporters see this critique so they can address it, but we're a free speech organization. You know, that's one of our main goals, so we're never going to silence our critics, but we will give an opportunity to speak. We won't always elevate what they have to say.
Adam: I think it's that intersection of communicating with your fans, your activists, those who are agreeing with your sentiment, and those who are either just disagree with you, or are kind of part of a spirited debate that I think, Diana, makes your role so interesting. I know one of the things that you spoke about before, and you kind of shared with us before the show, is how the melding of offline and online activism is something that really excites you. I'm curious, kind of your thoughts on how this melding, if we want to call it that, comes together. Is this more about online activism kind of driving feet on the ground behavior, or is it more about seeing the amplification of online activism driving, or offline activism driving engagement and awareness online.
Diana: I think we're seeing both. The example that is the best example is during the Muslim ban protest, they started at JFK, and then I went to JFK. I was elevating it on social media, as were other people, and then folks at home were seeing these protests. Like, "Oh, I have an airport in Boston. I should go there and protest." I really don't think we would have seen these protests spreading if it wasn't for social media, because it's making people ... You know, making people feel part of the story, and wanting to be part of it. Then maybe they couldn't go to an airport protest, but then they could elevate it to their followers, you know? I think it's all part of a constant cycle. I think we first saw this during Arab Spring, and then again with the Black Lives Matter protests, where online and offline can't be separated. You know, the same people who live online also live offline.
Adam: You mentioned certainly that you've been busier since Trump became president, and the Muslim ban being one of those pivotal moments. You also mentioned the Black Lives Matter protests and a few others. I'm curious, you mentioned you've been with ACLU four and a half years. What are the other kind of pivotal moments, and was there one moment where you really said, "Okay, hey. Social is now having a more bigger impact and significance than ever before"? I mean, if you rewind back, what was that kind of ground zero position for social really beginning to be important at the ACLU?
Diana: Good question. I've been in this role for a little over a year. Before that, I did more general communications, but social media was always my interest. I went to Ferguson during the grand jury verdict, and that was, I think, when I ... And I helped with social media there, and I helped the affiliate elevate their content. That was, I think, when I first saw it being such a pivotal tool, where people were seeing what was happening, were amplifying the voices on the ground, giving "Know Your Rights" materials, and we were able to do this through social media, and we didn't need an outside media to I guess filter our message.
Adam: When you were speaking with Jay earlier, you mentioned that you kind of have an editorial calendar, but so much is really related and around the news of the day, and responding and participating in that, and you said that that kind of pivot is shifting just a little bit. I'm curious kind of how you're beginning to use social advertising paid activities to better target your messages, and is it more kind of around different campaigns running concurrently, or do you say, "Okay, listen. This is our message. This is going to be our topic for this day, this week, this month"?
Diana: Yeah. We use paid a lot to expand our audience and reach new audiences. Because we have such great organic reach, as you noted, we use paid as a way to expand that organic reach. Let's say we have a post about criminal justice and we want to reach people who care about criminal justice. We'll use paid reach to target audiences that don't necessarily follow us, but we know would be interested in this topic. That's a strategy that's been evolving, and it's an important part of our toolbox right now.
Adam: Let's just take that criminal justice example, because I think that's a perfect one. How kind of, without giving any of your secret sauce, how are you beginning to do that? Is this kind of keyword buys? Are you doing any kind of geographic or demographic marketing or targeting? I'm just curious kind of how you do this, because I truly believe as marketers, or as communicators, most of us who are listening to the show, and Jay and my careers have primarily been on ... Although I know Jay has a little bit of a political experience. Most of us, and most of our call to actions are about selling something, a product or a service, where you're really trying to drive certainly donations, but you said your primary goal is really to drive activation. Getting people to do things. How do you begin to find those new recruits, if you will, using paid activities?
Diana: Yeah. A lot of it right now is through Facebook. We use people who are interested, and their peer group. ACLU is an interesting case, because we are a multi-issue organization. Let's say we were doing a post about reproductive rights. We might target fans of groups that work on reproductive rights. It's really looking at, "How do we expand? How do we make the circle bigger?" You know? Then sometimes we do try to ... We think outside the box. "Okay, we're trying to reach women. Let's target people who also ... We'll target people who follow women's magazines." You know? There's a mix of different ways we do this. It's always testing, you know? I think it's a little more art than science. We see what works, and then we adjust accordingly.
Adam: In terms of measurement, for the efficacy of those pay dollars, but also just overall engagement, how are you going back to your leadership at ACLU and saying, "Listen, we find this program successful." Or, "This program not quite as successful." What are those big metrics for you?
Diana: Engagement is a big one for us. We also want to get people to our website and get them on our email list, so I'd say those are the main metrics.
Adam: One more question, Diana, for you before I hand it back over to Jay. I think there's a lot of people who see conversation in social media, especially ones on emotional and political topics, is very polarizing. Some would say that debates, be it spirited or bombastic, is in some cases causing kind of what we like to call Facebook fatigue, where people just turn it off rather than reconsider maybe an alternative position. I'm curious how you, in your position at the ACLU, kind of combat this? Finding that right messaging that can motivate your base, then get some of those folks in the middle to really kind of reconsider their position.
Diana: Yeah. I mean, I think it's really important for us to stick with the facts. We really are ... We're not a partisan organization. I know obviously because Trump, a lot of our new supporters have been people who don't like him, but that does not make us a partisan organization. We make sure that we're sticking to our values. We support free speech rights of everyone, and we make sure that we're reaching people who ... We're making sure that folks know that. At the same time, it's like we can't reach everyone, right? There's going to be some people who reflexively hate the ACLU, and we can try to reach them, but there's only so much we can do.
Jay: I think it's a terrific perspective, and if you didn't have that perspective, about every other Tweet would be a very disappointing set of circumstances for you, because if you want to kind of get a sense for the polarization in this country, read some comments on the ACLU Facebook page or Twitter account.
Diana: Yes.
Jay: Diana, I want to ask you another couple of questions about channels. You had mentioned to us earlier that you want to revamp your Instagram strategy. I thought that was interesting. Maybe you could describe what you're doing now and what you're thinking about doing.
Diana: Yeah. Instagram's very new for us. First of all, we've just seen incredible growth since the election on all the channels, but Instagram is the I guess highest percentage. We started with 8,000 followers on Instagram before the election. We have 244,000 now.
Adam: Good grief.
Diana: Yeah. It's less than Facebook, which is now 2.2 million, and Twitter, which is 1.2 million, but it's the highest growth. We know this is an audience that's growing, that is younger than our other audiences, so we want to ... In the past, it's been, "Okay, we did this image for Facebook. Let's also put it on Instagram." Now we're really thinking about what content would work specifically for this channel. Specifically Instagram Stories, which we've done a little more on the ad hoc basis, but we want to make it more part of the day to day strategy.
Adam: I'm curious kind of around that Instagram strategy, certainly Instagram is all about visuals and graphics, and you mentioned before beginning to use more and more graphics and visuals to help kind of visualize and tell the story. We all know that creating visuals can take a little bit more time, they're a little bit harder to create. It's harder to be kind of off the cuff. There's typically a little bit more approval process. Do you have kind of graphic designers and other folks kind of on staff as part of your team, that are ready to go to get that content so you can be kind of 30, 45 minutes flipping stuff out there?
Diana: Yes. We thankfully have a great graphic designer. We have two great graphic designers on staff, and then they work with freelancers on an as-needed basis, so we can do rapid response. And then videos, we have an in-house video person as well, and that's a slightly longer lead, but also something that we can turn around fairly quickly.
Jay: Speaking of visual platforms, you'd also mentioned to us that you are looking to relaunch your Tumblr, which I found interesting, because Tumblr has been sort of back-benched in a lot of ways in terms of social channels for many brands. Not all brands. There are some brands that continue to really succeed with Tumblr, but it has, I think it's safe to say, fallen out of favor with a lot of social media practitioners, especially with all the weirdness at Yahoo. I thought that was a really interesting perspective, and wanted you to clarify that a little bit, please.
Diana: Yeah, so that's a platform that I believe was a ... ACLU had a presence many years ago, before I even started, but it was back-benched. We have realized, though, even though Tumblr is not seeing the growth that some other platforms are seeing, it still has a very active, engaged young audience that's very committed to social justice. When you search "ACLU" on Tumblr, a lot of their folks are already sharing our content, so we want to make sure that we have a voice there.
Jay: Are you on Snapchat as well for that reason, or not at this point?
Diana: We're not, actually, and I just realized ... People are always asking us if we're on Snapchat, but that I feel, when reaching younger audiences, we want to use Instagram, Instagram Stories, and Tumblr, and seeing how that pays off, whereas Snapchat seems like a harder platform for us to launch.
Jay: Yeah. Especially you might need to be in the field even more than you already are in order to do justice with that one. I want to take just a second to acknowledge the sponsors for this week's show. This is where you don't fast forward, ladies and gentlemen, where to just listen to the sponsors, because they're the ones that make this possible every single week. As always, our friends at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, bringing you Social Pros this week. They have a really interesting new ebook. You can find it at CandC.ly/NewMarketer. That's CandC.ly/NewMarketer. Why would you want to download it? Well, it's called More Than Marketing: Exploring the Five Roles of the New Marketer. It breaks down the five new essential marketing skills that all of us in marketing need to possess. There's interviews. There's stories. There's interactive features. It's really slick. It's free. You're going to like it. Check out More Than Marketing: Exploring the Five Roles of the New Marketer. Also, I wanted to let you know about a brand new ebook that my team and I at Convince and Convert just published, called The Three Types of Social Media Metrics, and Why They Will Get You Promoted. I think we all know that budgets for social media are going up, as we tend to lean more and more on paid. As budgets go up, scrutiny goes up amongst the executive team, and rightfully so, so regardless of how large your company is, or how big your team is, you need to be able to produce a compelling metrics narrative to justify your budget and the things that you're doing in social. This ebook will help you do just that. It's free from me and the guys at Convince and Convert. You can get that at CandC.ly/3SocialMetrics. That's the number three. CandC.ly/3SocialMetrics. Adam, back to you.
Adam: Jay, thank you so much, and Diana Scholl, Social Media Manager for ACLU. So great to have you on the program. Diana leads the national strategy for ACLU, working with the 53 different chapters. I thought that was interesting, Diana, that California has three chapters, where every other state has one. What an exciting position you have, and I think for those who are kind of in the activist community, or those who kind of come from a journalism or communications background, wow. What an unbelievable organization. I'm curious how you got started with the ACLU, and how you got this role.
Diana: I started ... I have my background in advocacy. I'd worked at Housing Works, an HIV-AIDS group, when I first graduated college, and I was just the young person on staff, so I started the Facebook and Twitter page. Through the years, I've done different ... I'm sorry. My degree is in journalism, but then I've done different ... I've always straddled the line between journalism and advocacy. I got the job at the ACLU four years ago, and I'd already done ... I'd done similar work in some ways, but I started working on really all digital strategy, not just social media. Then I saw a position open up that was social media specific, and that's where my interest lies, so I took that position, knowing it would be a nice opportunity, but not knowing that the election results would be what it was, and that the platform would become what it was. I was kind of in, I would say, the right place in the wrong time for our country, and it's really been an incredible opportunity to just help, be a voice of a lot of people who have wanted to know what they can do to protect civil rights and civil liberties during this time.
Adam: I'm curious how you work with those local chapters. You mentioned in terms of at the national level you working with the legislative groups, and your lawyers there at the national organization, but I'm going to assume that there are kind of equivalents kind of at that local level. There are people who are either doing that as a social media manager, or probably more likely one of the many hats that they wear. How do you coordinate activities with them, both from an online standpoint and just kind of a workflow standpoint, but also just in making sure that what they're sharing on their respective Twitter pages, Tumblr pages, social media outlets is consistent in messaging with what the national ACLU represents?
Diana: ACLU, the affiliates are independent. We work with them very closely, but they are allowed to do whatever they want. We like our messages to be consistent, but they don't have to be. However, we try. Most of them want to be consistent with us, so we give talking points and messaging, and are constantly in contact. I have a group of all the people who work on social media at affiliates, and you're absolutely right. Most of them aren't dedicated social media managers. Most of them wear many hats, and a lot of them don't have the capacity that we have. They don't have the graphic designers and video that we have. We work with them to say, "Okay, here's what our messaging is on the Muslim ban." Or, "Here's our messaging on this abortion bill." But at the same time, sometimes it comes from them. Like, right now in Texas, we're seeing a lot of things where it's a national story, but it's coming out of Texas, so the affiliate takes the lead, and we work to elevate their content. We want to make sure that folks across the country know that we're working across the country, and that the affiliates, since they're really the grassroots arm of the organization, that they're able to take the lead when it's about what's happening in their state. If you see on our platforms, we often try to elevate their posts and reblog, like retweet them, and share their Facebook posts when they're the ones taking the lead in their states.
Adam: I know most of what we've been talking about here on this podcast has been publishing. Sharing content, sharing positions, and getting outreach. Another side of what a lot of Social Pros focus on is listening, actually kind of using the data from marketing insights, or what they would call marketing insights, or business insights. I'm curious if, as part of your role in your organization, you're using social listening to kind of understand kind of, "What is the zeitgeist? What is the pulse of what people are talking about?" And is there any analysis that's happening kind of at that level?
Diana: Yeah. We do use tools, third party tools to listen. I also joke, but not really joke often, we get tagged in so many things, "Where's the ACLU on this?" Sometimes it actually is true. That's the first time I'm hearing about it. That is a social listening tool for us. But we use third party tools, but at the same time, right now we're a driver of conversations, so sometimes the fact that we have 3.5 million social followers, we both listen to what the conversation is, and we help start some of these conversations. It's a really interesting place to be.
Adam: I can only imagine. Are you sharing that information? Kind of you mentioned the laissez-faireness of those local organizations. Are you sharing those insights, kind of tripling down to the local chapters, or is this more, "We're kind of managing and using this at the national level"?
Diana: No. We share with the local affiliates as well. We want to make sure that our ... Since we are higher capacity here, we want to make sure that we're able to give them the information that they need to do their jobs.
Adam: Got it. Diana, one more question before I hand it back over to Jay. One of the other things you mentioned to us is kind of the disconnection, in your opinion, of tactics and strategy for a lot of social activities and campaigns. I'm curious how you make sure that you are always connecting the two as leading strategy, social strategy for the ACLU. Are there any questions you kind of ask yourself as you put programs together, and saying, "Listen, okay, tactically this is correct, but strategically this is going to drive the outcome that we want or expect"?
Diana: Yeah. When folks come to me saying they want something done on social, I always say, "What is the goal? Who is the audience?" I will always start with that, and making sure folks are really honed in on that, because you can't do everything at once. You can't drive engagement, and drive donations, and get ... You know, social can do a lot of things, but it can't do everything at once. Really thinking about what we want, and I think sometimes folks don't ... You know, they might hear something. Like, they've heard of the term Tweet chat, and think this is something we should be doing, without really thinking about, "Okay, is this gonna achieve the goal that you want?"
Jay: Diana, I want to ask you the two questions that we've asked every guest on this show, across now six and a half years.
Diana: Wow.
Jay: The first one is, how much do you love the show Survivor?
Diana: Oh. Oh.
Jay: That's not actually one of the questions, but I know that you do.
Diana: I forgot. I'm like… I told you about that.
Adam: Great question.
Jay: Now I need a little background on that.
Diana: Okay. When I was in high school, I was a big Survivor fan when it first started, and I was ... We were on the Today Show. My family was on the Today Show for the finale. You know, that was like the thing. Whenever Survivor was big, and it was the thing that everyone was talking about. My family was on Today Show talking about Survivor, and a friend told her cousin who worked for this website called Jist.com, which manned TV websites, TV fan pages. I was in charge of the Survivor fan page. I got paid to do this in high school, which is a pretty cool high school job. I basically said my job in high school was the same as it is now, just being a community manager.
Jay: I can't even ... I don't even know where to go with that. It's pretty rare that Jay is stumped on his own show.
Adam: I think this is a first, Jay, in the two years we've been doing it.
Jay: All right. Wait, why were you on the Today Show? I don't understand that part?
Diana: That's the weirdest part. I should have explained that better. We just had some ... I grew up in New York, so it's a suburb above the city, New York City, and some person in our town was a producer on the Today Show and asked someone, "Do you know any families that like Survivor?" And they're like, "Oh, yeah. The Scholls are really into Survivor." I was at camp that summer, and my dad sent me letters talking about what was happening on Survivor. The Today Show did a montage of different people across the country watching Survivor, and we were the New York family.
Jay: That is so amazing. What lessons from Survivor do you now apply in your day to day role?
Diana: It's important to make alliances.
Jay: See? I knew there would be something.
Adam: Oh, that's good. That's good.
Jay: That is really, really good. All right. Now I am going to ask you the two questions that we've asked everybody on the show. First one is, what one tip would you give somebody who's looking to become a social pro?
Diana: Yeah. I think understanding social media from a user perspective. You know, it's like Hair Club for Men. Like, "I'm not only a ..." You know, "I'm not only the owner. I'm a real client." You know, really understanding how humans use social media. I think that's the first step, because you can't use it from the brand end if you don't understand how people are using it who want to be using it for their own enjoyment.
Jay: I couldn't agree more. Nobody has ever said, in the history of social media, that their favorite part of social media is the fact that brands are participating.
Diana: Exactly.
Adam: Yeah.
Jay: Last question for Diana Scholl, head of social media for the American Civil Liberties Union. Thank you for the work that you do protecting the freedoms for all of us in America. If you could do a Skype call with any living person, who would it be and why?
Diana: Ooh. Good question. Oh, I don't know. This is kind of cliché, but I think Barack Obama. I've been having like ... I had a dream about him, since after the election, where he said, he's like, "How are you doing?" I was just like, "It's really hard, you know? I have to read about all the bad things happening in the country every day." I feel like I'd just like to talk to him about what's happening in the country right now.
Jay: He's hanging out and having cocktails now.
Diana: Oh, he has zero interest in doing this. I mean, this is ... But, my dream.
Jay: I thought it would be Jeff Probst from Survivor.
Diana: Oh, there you go. Yeah. That would be number two.
Jay: That would be number two. Okay. We probably have a better chance of making that happen. We'll put the word out to the Social Pros listener. Somebody out there knows Jeff Probst. There's no question about that. We'll make that happen.
Diana: Great.
Jay: Diana, thanks again for being on the show. Fantastic. We will keep monitoring the conversation in social media. Don't let those haters get you down.
Diana: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Jay: You bet. On behalf of Mr. Adam Brown from Salesforce.com, I'm Jay Behr from Convince and Convert. Thanks as always to listening to Social Pros. Don't forget we would love your feedback. Just send me a note. Jay@JayBaer.com. Let me know what you're up to, what you like, what you don't like about the show. Always great to get your feedback. Obviously reviews on iTunes always appreciated as well, and don't forget to listen to our sister show, Content Pros. You can find them obviously anyplace that podcasts are distributed, and of course at ContentPros.com. All of the archives of our show, now 280 episodes or some crazy thing, every single show, all the audio, all the transcripts, at SocialPros.com. Until next week, this has been Social Pros.
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