How would you get up the web presence of a local campaign group?

What bits of Web 2.0 are essential for a local campaigning group?
What bits of Web 2.0 are essential for a local campaigning group?

One of the jobs I’ve taken on for 2009 is getting an online presence set up for the Oxford City Fairtrade Coalition. The coalition’s last static HTML website disappeared when the committee member who had set it up moved out of the area a few years ago, and the group is currently without a proper existence online.

With the rise of the social web over the last few years, it’s obvious that I can’t just set up a new static website. I need to make use of Web 2.0 tools to really give Oxford City Fairtrade Coalition a proper presence in the online space. But what should I use?

Should I leap in with Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and more? Or is this just going to leave a trail of un-maintained web-debris? What sort of strategy should a small, volunteer run, campaigning group use to be seen on the web?

As I get started setting up a web presence for the group, I’ll aim to document the process, and to produce some practical Getting Started guides for each of the tools I do use (in the style of the one page guides) in the hope that these can be useful to other campaign groups, and possible to the emerging digital mentors programmes. However, before I start on that, I’d really value your ideas on the tools and approaches you would recommend…

9 thoughts on “How would you get up the web presence of a local campaign group?”

  1. Personally I would create a blog as the main site, and then build outwards from there.

    Things like Twitter and Flickr are great for those who already use them, but won’t provide a focal point for people who aren’t already signed up for the web 2.0 revolution; a blog will give you a place to embed all these extras for the general public.

  2. I do rather like Ning – a nice mix of blog publishing and social networking features, lots of control to turn things on and off without getting too technical, and enough flexibility that someone else could take over quite naturally if the initial administrators move on.

    If you want something more customised, perhaps doing something clever with RSS or want to do lots of bespoke coding, then a WordPress foundation is a good bet to embed other services.

    I’ve certainly changed the way I think about building sites in the last few months: better to start from a flexible blog/CMS core and then use APIs/RSS to bring in content from other specialist services, than to find something with all the functionality built in.

  3. I think it depends on who you want to attract and what you hope they’ll do after you’ve got their interest.

    re. management I think this can be dealt with in part by being very clear why you’re using other services. If you set up a facebook group purely for promotion then your target with that group is to get people from it to your main online presence, and so managing the group shouldn’t be a huge deal (you don’t want them there for long). On the otherhand if you feel your target group are all on facebook and you want thousands of them to display your facebook badge then your other sites would all be aimed towards getting them there instead!

    Of course if you’re not sure the target group is likely to be on facebook I agree with Davids point above.

  4. I agree with Mike…

    What do you want your online presence to achieve?

    Start with your objectives, then work out your strategy, then what tools you need. Needn’t take long, needn’t be over-formal, but it’ll save a bunch of wasted effort in the long run.

  5. Hi Tim, You know I’m not technical enough to advise you – you’ve been the one advising me – although, with your help I’ve now got 3 networking sites using ning and I’ve found it sooo easy! Anyhow, have you thought that whatever you do you add it to

  6. Thanks all for the advice… will start work on a clear strategy soon after talking to the group about everything they want to achieve.

    David – I hadn’t thought of Groups Near You – will definitely do that…

  7. tim, great post. and by some bizarre coincidence i’ve also been thinking about this recently.

    did you read duane’s write up of e-campaigning essentials in the ECF documentation that was recently sent to 2008 participants? some good ideas in there.

    other than that i agree with a couple of comments above in that it’s a case of working back from your objectives. but in addition to this i think it’s also a case of working out what your user wants. do they want to go and meet other fairtraders online? if so, heavy linking to social networks is an idea. do they want to know when the next FT meeting is? then give them a calendar.

    there is however one essential – a big flashing red box that says “give us your email address”.

    anyway, i’m coming round to your house on saturday so we should talk about this then… in between nibbles, of course.

    p.s. i think “adress” is missing a d

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