How to build a local environmental campaign - social marketing

What we learned from a Facebook-led environmental campaign that reached over 100 000 people

August 4, 2017

In our last post, we laid the foundations for creating a compelling campaign, looking at setting a goal, deciding a strategy to reach it, and crafting a story to support it.

Read on to discover the tricks we employed to grow the community to over 100 000 people, over 2,700 of whom who took action and wrote an objection - a new local record.

Use your Facebook page to talk to your community

The next step is to set up your Facebook page so that you can begin gaining traction online.

Pin a post to the top of your page explaining the basic situation and how people can take action.

Something like this should do fine 🏖

Then jump into sharing your first pieces of content...

Video killed the Facebook posts

Share any media that is relevant to the campaign: images, newspaper articles, etc.

However, we found that videos produced the most public reactions by far.

Our engagement rate (likes/shares/comments) vs people reached was around 20% with a video post, compared to around 10% with a link or image.

Graph showing organic growth as a result of video post
53,000 people reached for free in one day! 👏🏽
Total number of people reached: 101k! 🙌🏽

Whatever the case, this media should always be presented as supporting your main narrative and at least one supporting argument, which we talked about in our previous post on strategy and story setting.

Some other tips for sharing on social media:

  • Always include a call to action at the end - e.g. click here to write your objection
  • Use social proof - say how many people have already taken action
  • Give a sense of urgency by setting a deadline
Protect Sandbanks Local Campaign Example Social Media Post
A short but effective post that stirs up debate 👀

Encourage a debate

It might be tempting to delete any negative comments that appear on your posts - and you will almost certainly get them.

In fact, a healthy debate is good since it will trigger more interest and opinions on your side too.

Your goal should be to stir up the debate and get people talking, not silence people you don’t agree with.

More debate = more attention.

Protect your privacy

If the campaign is potentially controversial, carefully set your privacy settings to make sure people can’t access details about you or other organisers via the Facebook page.

Spread your story with hyper-local adverts

Our marketing campaign was successful on such a small budget because we targeted people very local to the area. Limit your target area to within 1-3 kilometres and you will reach a lot of people for a relatively low cost per click.

We set up an rolling advert on a budget of £5 per day to drive traffic to the website.

We also paid around £5 per Facebook post to boost them to the same target audience within 3km.

Protect Sandbanks Group Facebook post showing cost per click
4,810 people reached and 670 clicks for £66.57 - that's 10p per click on average! 💪🏽

Contact local & national press

If you can leverage any contacts to get in the local or national press, it’s well worth it to spread your story and get more website visitors.

Therefore, remember to include details of your website and Facebook page in any press releases or interviews.

Max approves this message! 🐾

Be advised though: journalists may not give you an easy ride, so make sure you’ve got your facts and story straight before talking to them.

They'll be looking for a soundbite, so make sure you have something catchy and punchy memorised!

Press exposure also mean you are able to add publication logos to your website and link to the articles, which lends importance and credibility to your campaign.

Screenshot of Protect Sandbanks website showing news publication logos
Credibility: earlier 💁🏻

Find & enlist local influencers

We got in contact with the admin of a Facebook page dedicated to news in the local area.

Once we explained the situation and got them on our side, we were able to get the message out to the group's 30,000 followers.

This drove an incredible amount of organic traffic to the page and website.

Google Analytics showing jump in visitors following Facebook post from local influencer
The power of local influencers 🤙🏿

Post frequently to keep up momentum

Keep your followers updated on facebook & email, and post daily to keep up momentum.

As always, there is a balance to be struck between regularity and spam, so be consistent and economical in your posting, and above all, always provide value, e.g. new information, something interesting/funny/sad/urgent, etc.

We focused on 1-2 Facebook posts per day, and an email blast whenever any important updates happened in the campaign (usually twice a month).

Email reaches core supporters

Your email list will likely have few subscribers compared to your facebook following. However, these are people who want to hear from you and care about the campaign the most, so your messages can be longer, go into more detail, and provide more nuanced information.

Table showing metrics of email campaigns
Only 146 email subscribers on the list, but all very actively engaged 💌

Watch your words

If you have any competitors or adversaries in your campaign, it's worth bearing in mind that they will likely be subscribed to your lists and following you on Facebook.

Watch what you say and be prepared to defend it when the time comes.


When looked at as a whole, everything we have described over the last two articles constitutes one big interoperable machine.

In the first part, we learned how to write a story to capture people's imagination. While in the second part, we examined how to spread the story to capture people's attention.

Across both parts, we have seen how a well designed and constructed system was able to get people to take action by continually driving home the story, and the call to action to write an objection.

As we have said, this story is far from over, but the enlisting of thousands of supporters has rallied the community and gives us a strong base to continue the fight.

I hope you have found our story interesting and are able to use the knowledge from these articles to boost your own campaign.

If you have any questions are interested in learning further about anything, please don't hesitate to get in contact.

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