Sharing your thoughts with your Senators or Representative on a routine basis will keep CTE in the front of their minds. By using social media as an advocacy tool, we can influence Congress to continue and improve successful programs like Perkins, ESSA and WIOA.
Social media advocacy is one of the quickest and simplest ways to spread the CTE message to your Members of Congress. You can share about the benefits of your CTE program, activities your students are involved in, or your thoughts on key policy issues. In a visual age, graphics and other images can help you draw attention to your posts and illustrate your messages. Make sure to use relevant graphics, photos and GIFs to help add more context and personality to your posts. If you have pictures of your institution, courses, educators or students in action, utilize them in your social media posts. Create a quick image or graphic with a free platform like Canva to catch users’ attention. When users are scrolling through their feeds, you want your posts to be the ones that they read!
ACTE Principles for Using Social Media
- Be personal. Share your story of CTE through your own voice instead of “broadcasting” the message. Let your messages reflect your personality, use humor, and be transparent about who is posting messages. The goal should be to become a credible source of CTE information.
- Keep your eye on the goal. Refrain from posting personal attacks or negative comments about anyone. Straying away from your core message and facts will cause the community to lose trust in you and diminish the attention your social media presence receives from your followers, policymakers and media.
- Facts, not fiction. Staying credible means sharing quality information and refraining from posting exaggerated or false information about your program, CTE in general or policymakers.
- Be social. Conversation is a two-way street, even online. Join topics and discussions with other people and organizations. The more you engage the CTE community and policymakers, the more the CTE message moves forward.
- Ask questions. If you have a question about engaging in social media advocacy, please feel free to reach out to ACTE’s Public Policy Department with any questions you may have before engaging policy makers.
- Share your successes and appreciation. Policymakers respond well to positive stories about their constituents’ successes! Share your program’s successes and appreciation with your policymakers regularly to help cultivate a positive relationship.
Find your Senators’ and Representatives’ social media contact information by searching for them on the platform. Try to use a policymaker’s official, not campaign, accounts. Below are more ACTE tips for using Facebook, Twitter and blogs to maximize your social media advocacy efforts!
- Share information about your CTE program and student success in a condensed version of 280 characters or less. Tweet at @ACTEcareertech and @ACTEpolicy.
- Link to press releases, photos or other information to provide more information and context to your Tweets.
- Run a Twitter poll to get feedback from your followers.
- Tweet directly to your policymaker or members of the media to make sure your message is seen by the intended audience. Search for members of your local media, and tag and tweet at them to highlight your message.
- Reply to and engage with others’ Tweets in the CTE sphere to build the conversation on Twitter. Respond to Tweets from policymakers or tag them in your Tweets about CTE. Tag your friends and followers on Twitter to encourage them to share CTE-related stories and amplify your content to their followers.
- Tweet the action you want your Members of Congress to take, such as more robust support for CTE, or to visit your program.
- Use photos or GIFs whenever possible to draw attention to the post.
- Be authentic! Use your own tone, language or even humor.
- Link to ACTE’s policy positions on key CTE related issues on the ACTE website.
- Use the CTE community’s hashtags to be a part of the broader CTE conversation, including:
- #CareerTechEd, #PerkinsCTE, #PerkinsV, #CTEMonth, #STEM#SkillsGap, #WkDev, #workforcedevelopment, #Comm_College
- Every so often, perform a few searches on Twitter for “career and technical education,” “workforce development,” “skills gap,” “Perkins,” and other CTE-related topics. Make note of the hashtags that others are using if they are different from the hashtags that ACTE is using and jump in on the CTE conversation.
- Post a short story of your CTE program or student success on yours or your institution’s Facebook page. Use your post to ask your friends questions or ask them for feedback. Facebook Live also provides a great opportunity to feature live content from your organization or institution. You may be able to provide virtual mini-tours, interviews with students and educators and more!
- Share your CTE posts on your legislator’s Facebook page and on the ACTE Facebook page. You can also tag the policymaker’s Facebook page to get their attention.
- Ask your followers to share your content through their personal or institution’s Facebook page.
- Share content from the ACTE Facebook page and from ACTE’s CTE Policy Watch blog.
- Use photos whenever possible to draw attention to the post. Photos are much more likely to ensure that your content is seen than simply a text post.
- Join ACTE’s main LinkedIn group and a separate group for Middle School career exploration.
- You can also engage with ACTE’s LinkedIn page, and use hashtags to share your content with a broader audience.
- On either the ACTE page or your personal page, post a CTE article or success story and briefly summarize what you would like your fellow educators to learn from the piece while encouraging discussion on any unresolved questions.
- Discuss CTE classroom strategies, innovative teaching techniques or creative classroom projects.
- Post information about a current CTE public policy issue, such as a specific piece of legislation or CTE funding debate. Ask your professional colleagues for their thoughts on this news and how it affects their schools. Thank them for sharing their thoughts.
- Keep the information on your LinkedIn account up to date, as it establishes you as a CTE educator and experienced professional in your field.
- Take photos at CTE events and share with your peers. Be sure to tag @actecareertech1 to be featured.
- Be descriptive in your Instagram captions and have fun with them.
- Share your experiences on your personal or institution’s blog and send policymakers the link. Post the link to your blog content on your social media pages, if you have them.
- ACTE also has a Medium account where we can publish and feature your blog posts if you do not have your own blog or do not wish to start one. Alternatively, you can create a personal Medium account and share your blog post under your own name!
- Blog topics:
- Educators and Administrators
- How you develop new CTE programs that are filling workforce needs. If you are using Perkins funds, describe how that funding has impacted the program.
- How your program uses Perkins funding and its impact in your community. For example, say your community college receives $50,000 from Perkins and you have implemented a program to encourage women to enter STEM careers. Because of this program, you have been able to train 30 more students each year and students from this program have a 95 percent success rate of landing a job. Outline the impact this has on your community, the return-on-investment CTE has in your state, and how the program is helping the economy and building a qualified workforce.
- CTE’s impact on reducing the dropout rate and helping students continue on to postsecondary institutions or training.
- Why you are a CTE teacher/administrator.
- Your favorite CTE classes to teach and why.
- Why you are a CTE student and the impact CTE has had on your education and career.
- Your favorite CTE class and why.
- The impact of CTE on your life, including technical and employability skills, how you are college and career-ready, your involvement with CTSOs, and how CTE courses effectively teach students the academic skills to be successful.
- Business Leaders
- Why CTE and workforce development is important to your business.
- Relevant issues your business faces, including skills shortages and how CTE can help bridge those gaps.
- Examples of how your business partners with local schools. (Click here for a business leader’s guide to congressional CTE advocacy)
- Educators and Administrators
- Create a video about your program, post it to YouTube and share it through Twitter or Facebook. Ideas could include student showcases and demonstrations, instructor interviews or facility tours – the possibilities are endless. Then, send your video to ACTE – we would love to see your creativity! If you are interested in creating a video to feature your students, courses, programs or institutions and would like assistance with developing one, email Jori Houck at firstname.lastname@example.org.