Amplify Your Outreach

Social Influence

Social media has revolutionized the way elected officials connect with their constituents. Instead of waiting for a poll to be released, an elected official can simply monitor a hashtag, attend a Digital Town Hall, or lead a Twitter Chat to get the see how voters stand on an issue. A large number of congressional offices even employ social media managers to monitor your comments throughout the day. Of course, there is always the question of whether these social platforms matter. Do they actually change votes?

The good news is that a recent Congressional Management Foundation study, entitled #SocialCongress 2015, asked congressional offices how many posts it would take to grab their attention, and 35% of them said less than 10 posts! 80% went on to say 10-30 posts would be enough. The key, however, is not getting lost in the noise.

Follow these steps to make sure your message is heard.


Every congressional office is on Facebook, and typically uses their page as a way to share information with their constituents. While not every Facebook page is open to comments, a good number of them are. If you are able to comment on your Member's page directly, feel free to use this as a tool to speak to them.

The best posts are short and respectful. Make sure to identify yourself as a constituent, and as an attorney. This can easily be done by saying:

“As an attorney in your district/state…”

Also, try to include a picture or an infographic. Not only does this make your post more engaging, but it actually scores higher on the Facebook algorithms. In other words, your post will be seen by more people and for a longer period of time if you use a picture, video, or link.

If you cannot post directly on your elected official's page, don’t worry. This is still a great place to see what your elected official has been doing. You can see upcoming events that you may want to attend, and get an idea on how they feel about issues. That way, when you do get a chance to reach them, you know exactly where they stand.


Twitter has radically enhanced the way elected officials communicate with constituents. Now a favorite tool of elected officials, Twitter is a great way for them to release press statements, photos, and other news items.

Of course, it is also a great way for individuals to rally around an issue. To reach your elected official, simply include their Twitter handle in your tweet. A Twitter handle is the name of the account and will begin with an @ sign. 

You will also want to include a hashtag (which begins with the # sign). Hashtags allow people to search for other tweets using that hashtag, and they also do a great job of branding your message. Your strength is in your numbers, so using a common hashtag will help you show a united front. Make sure to coordinate with other family physicians on a specific time, date, and hashtag to strengthen each other’s efforts. Also, a great way to identify yourself as a constituent is to hashtag your district. This will let the elected official's
social media manager know you are from the community.

An example tweet might be:

.@davereichertplease support #Justice4All and co-sponsor H.R. 899 #WA-8

Try to always include an image. 280 characters is not a lot to get a message across, and an image is worth a thousand words. Check our Social Media Center <link> for photos, infographics, and videos you can use in your own posts.

For more information, contact Eric Storey, the ABA’s Director of Grassroots and Digital Advocacy, by email or by calling him at (202) 662-1770.


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