How to Apply the RACE Model to Your Social Media Strategy

Students in public relations have been studying the RACE Model for years. Whether it’s used for a specific part of public relations (like crisis management) or it encompasses a whole campaign, the RACE Model is incredibly useful. Here’s how to use it in particular for your social-media strategy.


from embrace

Research should always be your first step. Get to know your audience; know their gender, age and age group, race and nationality, income level, religion, sexual orientation, education, location, etc. Another important thing to know about your audience is their psychographics, or their personalities and values. All of these demographics and information will come in handy later in the RACE model.



Don’t forget to include the SWOT model when doing your research. Study your internal  strengths and weaknesses, and base your campaign off of that. Also study the external opportunities and threats. As far as social media goes, see if you have enough strengths to take on multiple mediums.  Is your nonprofit’s knowledge of social media a strength or a weakness? Is your campaign controversial? Are there any threats like opposing campaigns (typically politically) or are there plenty of opportunities to be retweeted and liked? These are the types of things you must look into.

Analyze (and creating an action plan) is the second step. This is where you start setting your goals for your nonprofit based off of the research you just conducted. Make sure your goals follow the SMARTS model. (My public relations professor adds another s at the end–sufficient. I think it’s pretty smart to add that.)

Are your goals specific? Do you know exactly what you want from them? What is the goal–to raise money? Gain awareness? Get people out to do something? Is your goal measurable (meaning can it easily be monitored and evaluated later?) Is it attainable and realistic, or are you wasting your time? Ask specific questions like “is it realistic to maintain seven different forms of social media?” or “is it possible to get that many signatures through this specific platform?” Is this goal time-locked? You don’t want to have one particular social media campaign going on forever. Also your staff shouldn’t feel like they have all the time in the world to get a particular task completed. Deadlines push the movement forward and allow room for later campaigns.

Don’t forget to apply your research findings to your action plan. Did you decide your target audience was younger women? Use Pinterest. Is your target audience in the silent generation (1927-1945)? You’re better off using an email campaign. Did you find that your target audience is mostly African Americans or the LGBTQ community? Use Black History Month or Pride Week to gain momentum for your campaign.

Communication is the third step. This is where you’re finally implementing your campaign. Keep in mind that social media is two-way communication. Listen to the people reaching out to you, and be sure to respond. Below is some research from about how quickly people want a response on social media.

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research by

Evaluation is the final step in the RACE process. Something to keep in mind is that there are two types of evaluation: monitoring and measuring. Monitoring is what you do throughout the campaign. Questions to ask include: are you getting responses (like direct messages, retweets, likes, repins, etc.)? Is the feedback positive or negative? How many have likes, retweets, whatever are you getting per day? Measuring is what you do at the end. Was is successful overall? How much have likes, favorites, whatever you’re testing increased since the beginning of the campaign? Were all of your SMARTS goals met?

If you use the RACE model, you’re on your way toward a very successful social-media campaign.


3 thoughts on “How to Apply the RACE Model to Your Social Media Strategy

  1. This post is a good opportunity to talk about image use. You’re using three images here, likely without permission, and probably none of them are necessary. The first two – RACE and SWOT – are lists, which you already know how to make. If you really want an image, I know that you know how to do that in Illustrator or InDesign in maybe 10 minutes (curse you, VISJ 321!). The last is slightly more complex, but still just a list; if you didn’t want to use this much material, you could just hit key points and link to the rest. I know you’ve got strong visual skills (as well as technical knowledge) that many of your classmates don’t, and you should be using them.

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