Some of you reading this will have heard of The Hub - perhaps even used it - however a lot of people will be unfamiliar of what it is and why you should be using it. Put simply - The Hub is a social media platform, dedicated to Scottish Independence. It is one central place to find events, fundraisers, podcasts, livestreams, videos & articles - all about independence & all in one easy to use app.
But The Hub can do a LOT more than you think. It's also an extremely useful tool for campaigners and Yes Groups.
Why Your Yes Group Should Be On The Hub
Adding a Yes Group to The Hub can be done in a matter of minutes. And once you've set-up your group information and filled in details of your Youtube channel, Soundcloud account, Eventbrite profile and blog newsfeeds, the app will start to automatically import your content as soon as you have published it, it'll then post it on The Hub for others to see and instantly sends out notifications to your groups followers. No longer will you need to rely on people remembering to visit your website, Twitter or Facebook page. The Hub sends your content direct to their device, increasing the chances they'll check it out. In fact, The Hub sends out over half a MILLION notifications every month!
If you give your Yes group an address - even a rough location of where you operate from - it'll show up under Nearby Groups for others to discover. This is the FIRST screen people see when they look for groups to follow and the majority of users will follow at least 2 local groups. It is easier to discover a local Yes group on The Hub than it is using Facebook.
As soon as that person taps the "follow" button, they'll see your Yes groups content on their timeline and receive notifications of anything you post. They can then comment, like & share your groups content across other social media platforms, improving your Yes groups reach.
Remember - this is OUR platform, so it has been designed with Yes groups in mind. If you have an important article or video you think the entire movement should be made aware of, let me know and I can "Promote" it - this places your content on EVERY members timeline and sends them ALL a notification to their device to make them aware of it. Handy if you are planning a flash-mob and need as many people as possible to turn up at short notice, for example.
If you prefer a bit of subtlety, you can turn your content into an advert that all members see as they scroll through their timeline. You can even target people in your area so only local folk will see your advert. All of this is 100% free and NO data is shared with anyone (The Hub doesn't even store your location on it's server).
Most Yes Groups have more than one person running them. With The Hub, you can add extra admins in the Member Administration area and simply toggle admin status on/off for each group member. All admins will receive notifications when someone interacts with your group and also have the ability to post as the group account by tapping the avatar at the top right of the screen when writing a new post or manually creating a new event.
"Events, Dear Boy, Events"
One of the most important parts of The Hub is its Events area. Not only does it show upcoming events, it can show NEARBY upcoming events and it'll even show you online events under the Nearby tab if they are being held by a group in your local area. How smart is that?!
The Hub has shown over 1,900 events since it went live. There is no other website or app that displays as many pro-independence events as it does. In fact, I've set up The Hub to monitor over 300 pro-independence Facebook groups so that if a new event is mentioned somewhere, I'll know about it. It makes sense to have one place to come to find out what events are happening, rather than jumping across various Facebook groups and Eventbrite pages.
It is vital that your Yes Group makes sure that it adds any upcoming events to The Hub for others to find. It's a lot easier to tell people "Check on The Hub" when they want to see what events are happening rather than explaining how to find a Facebook page or getting them to remember a different and more obscure weblink.
If your Yes Group has a website, you can go one further than just adding your events to The Hub. You can display them on your own site too! Simply copy & paste the text from this page and your website will instantly show the same events that are listed on The Hub.
Supporting Yes Group Fundraisers
To use an old Better Together quote: "Pooling & Sharing" is what the Yes movement does when it comes to supporting each other. There are always a number of fundraisers on the go but not all of these are noticed - sometimes smaller groups are drowned out by the larger ones and The Hub wants to help with that.
Your Yes group can add information about fundraisers you run by adding either your Indiegogo profile, GoFundMe or JustGiving page or alternatively if you use GiveWP on your WordPress site you can add the link to your webpage. The Hub will then showcase that fundraiser for others to see. By having one place listing all active fundraisers, it increases the likelihood that someone will see it and perhaps donate. You can even embed the latest fundraisers on your own website.
In A World Of Mis-Information, Facts Are King
Despite Unionist politicians telling us Nicola Sturgeon should focus on the COVID recovery - rather than independence - it hasn't stopped them from attacking Scottish independence every single day across the UK media. What makes it worse is that a lot of what they say is untrue! For campaigners, we need a way of rebutting these lies and the best way to do that is by utilising The Hub's Fact Check area.
This is a growing library of curated articles & videos, all split into categories such as Defence, Currency, Europe, Borders, Pensions & Economy. So the next time someone tells you "Scotland must use the Euro", "Spain will veto EU entry" or "Scotland's deficit is too high" you can quickly find content to prove them wrong! With regards to the Pensions argument, it gives you the information to frame the argument differently (UK pension one of the worst in Europe, don't you want a better one?)
Just like events & fundraisers, you can even embed The Hub's Fact Checks onto your own website - check here for more details.
Online Campaigning Is Vital For Indyref2
Leafletting, street stalls & face to face discussions are all extremely important in the next referendum campaign. But online campaigning is just as important. Remember, a pro-Union leaflet can be binned and forgotten about, but that information stays alive a lot longer online. We need to improve how we do campaigning online. The Hub is set up to help with that. Firstly, by being the go-to resource for the movement to find and share events and other content and secondly by pushing pro-independence material further up search engine rankings.
If you conduct a Google search for something to do with Scottish Independence, more than likely one of the top results will be an anti-independence article. Most web users don't go beyond the first page of search results so we need to make sure our pro-independence content gets on there. How do we do that? By making sure we link to The Hub and share its content. The more people that do this, the more Google recognises it as an important resource and starts to bump OUR content above anti-independence content. We want people to search about independence and find our stuff first!
The Hub's website alone attracts over 11,000 unique visitors each month, showing it has an audience who are taking an interest in Scottish independence. We need to make sure that they have access to all the material they require so if they are a soft-No it'll give them food for thought and if they are a soft-Yes, we harden their vote. Having your local Yes group on there may well help them move to Yes - and stick with Yes.
There is a lot The Hub can do for your Yes group & for you as a campaigner that I haven't manage to cover (you can even livestream to your group, for example!) but the message is simple: if Yes groups and campaigners make use of The Hub:
- It greatly improves your Yes groups audience & exposure
- It improves the chances of pro-independence content being shown above anti-independence websites
- It gives you a simple app/website name to get people to visit ("It's all on the Fact Check area of The Hub, you should have a look")
- It improves our chances of turning a "soft-No" into a "hell Yes!"
You can download The Hub app for Android or iOS. Alternatively, visit the website at thehub.scot. If you have any ideas for improvement to the app or want to discuss The Hub further (I'm happy to do a Zoom meeting with you and/or your Yes group), drop me an email here: [email protected]