Chapter 10

Appendix: Integrating Mobiles into your Comms Strategy

The use of mobile devices is best seen as a tactic; you should use them to support an advocacy strategy within a well-established network, or to enhance existing relationships inside a broader campaign. Try to choose your approach, and the tools you use, on the basis of the strategic value they can bring to your campaign. Remember, there is no single tool that will address all your needs, and mobile communications exist in a fast-changing environment, in which a tool or tactic that works on one occasion might not necessarily work a second time.

The design of any intervention using mobile technologies should be based on an understanding of the way the audience you are trying to reach uses these devices. Be clear about who you want to engage, and also about what you want them to do as a result of your communications. Patterns of mobile phone use are very different among different groups; for example, younger and older people often use their phones in very different ways. This means you can, and should, tailor your interventions and messaging for different target groups.

The way you structure your intervention should also be informed by the kind and amount of information you are trying to get across to your audiences; for example, through SMS blast campaigns; or else by the nature of the information you are trying to get back from the communities you work with, from a survey, for example.

Here are some important questions to ask about reaching people with mobiles:

  1. Who do you want to engage with, and what do you want them to do as a result of your communication? Profile your audiences.
  2. Is your communication going to be one-way (disseminating information, or providing updates on a campaign) or two-way (conducting a survey, documenting what’s happening on the ground, coordinating actions and protests)? Decide on tactics.
  3. Do you have mobile numbers for all of your supporters? Assess the state of your contact list.
  4. Does the mobile technology you want to use match the capabilities of your audience’s phones? Identify the capabilities of the handsets your audience uses.
  5. Is your database of contact numbers stored securely? Do you and the people you work with know about and practice optimum mobile security? Don’t forget security and legal issues.

Start with free or low-cost pilot projects: try sending a message to supporters and asking them to forward it, or set up a system using missed calls as signals. Do some research into potential partnerships with organisations that are working in your sector, or that have related campaigning or advocacy goals.

For more useful information on mobiles see:

– http://howto.informationactivism.org/content/mobile-tips

– http://booktype-demo.sourcefabric.org/freedomfone/know-your-audience/