Twitter recently released a newsletter report outlining its policy to curb the number of duplicate tweets, known as “copypasta” posts, on its platform. They define copypasta in the following way:
“‘Copypasta’ (a reference to copy-and-paste functionality to duplicate content) is an Internet slang term that refers to an attempt by multiple individuals to duplicate content from an original source and share it widely across social platforms or forums.”
Now to be clear, the differences between a piece of real copypasta and average online campaign messaging are day and night. Real copypasta ranges from internet background noise at best to irritatingly spammy messaging at worst, as opposed to the vast majority of organized online messaging that’s more like the kind of discourse you’d see at a rally or protest. This is the main reason there’s little likelihood of massive disruptions to mainstream online campaigns.
Still, the ambiguous copypasta definition that Twitter issued still leaves a variety of online campaigns, companies, and digital influencers under increased risk of being de-amplified by online algorithms. This heightened threat of content being marked for limited visibility raises an important point: Successful online campaign content is rooted in authenticity.
Experts agree that word-of-mouth marketing is an effective tool for harnessing people’s trust in their own online networks to authentically generate engagement. And while many organizations try to promote this kind of interaction with their content, they often use the same outdated “copy-and-paste” Google document social toolkits, which can run the risk of reading more like pre-written advertisements than authentic word-of-mouth messaging.
Organizations looking to facilitate genuine interaction with their content – whether it’s digital fundraising, RSVPs for a digital event, or a GOTV campaign – have a clear interest in trying to promote audience trust and boost the authenticity of their messaging.
The key to doing this is by amplifying the organic voices of audiences online. Here are three steps organizations can take to accomplish this:
Provide a variety of content to share via social toolkits.
The fact is that even the most targeted online audiences are filled with diverse personalities, all with different tastes in the content they prefer to share. If your audience is diverse, shouldn’t your content be as well? When it comes to generating content for word of mouth or online social sharing, more is more.
What does that mean? Not only diversifying your campaign’s actual messaging, but also experimenting with a variety of multimedia including videos, audio clips, and even GIFs, that can be deployed across a variety of different platforms. Certain material is better suited for particular platforms, but that doesn’t rule out leveraging each platform to its fullest extent.
Encourage content customization.
Allowing your audience to take your messaging and provide their own personal twist on it reinforces the trust that the endorsement, recommendation, or suggestion produced authentically comes from the person sharing it, rather than a large company or organization.
Nonetheless, getting users to contribute their own content can be extremely difficult. Even the best online writers and social media managers can have difficulty producing content, so it’s no surprise when research shows most content on a platform like Twitter is produced by only a fraction of its users.
Draft messaging centered around short messages that contain a clear call to action or articulate the main idea. This will both provide room for additional messaging from users without creating overladen posts, and provide an easily understandable blueprint on which users can expand.
We’ve provided a few different avenues to diversify and enable content customization within our social toolkits, including fill-in-the-blank posts that organizations can use to encourage customization. But we’ve also implemented more advanced solutions, including an artificial intelligence-powered writing assistant that provides revisions based on established social media posting techniques.
Facilitate post-action sharing.
Oftentimes, organizations are in a rush to get their action item from audiences — RSVPs, donations, etc. — and forget the follow-through that’s so essential to maintaining the momentum of the messaging and building an organic social community around your organization.
This follow-through is often referred to as post-action sharing and can make the difference between reaching a limited audience or attaining virality. Building the capacity for post-action sharing is often the biggest obstacle here, but if you can set up even the most fundamental of resources, such as an automated email asking users to share their donation or RSVP on social media, that can go a long way in getting that extra engagement your campaign can generate.
As recent events continue to emphasize the importance and relevance of digital organizing, organizations need to find the right ways to empower and channel authentic voices. While these steps can take time to implement, they’ll ultimately generate a more authentic digital organizing strategy. This means avoiding the high costs of online advertising, boosting your effective capacity for audience targeting, and navigating the increased restrictions imposed by either Twitter or any other social media platform in the future.
Michael Roach is the Content & Communications Lead at SpeechifAI, an embeddable digital platform that enables organizations and companies to create and manage digital campaigns & toolkits.