It’s time again to begin thinking about and planning for the 2014 round of elections. This means TV ads, debates, public appearances, pictures of politicians holding children – all part of a typical political campaign. The savvy, modern politician also knows that their social media strategy is critical to the success of their political campaign.
For example, California representative Eric Swalwell made news by being the first-ever congressman to broadcast his vote via Vine, a social media network that has recently outgrown the epithet of “fledgling.” It was a six-second clip of him voting “nay” to the GOP’s attempts to decrease health protection for women. Needless to say, this made him quite popular not just among women, but also among youths and users of the social media technology.
It’s worth pointing out how recognizable Swalwell became simply because he posted some good content in a low-competition area. Only ten Senators currently use Vine, despite the Senate having released an official statement of approval on using Twitter’s video-sharing app.
Here are some more tips on using social media effectively in a political campaign:
- Getting there first. Dear Mr. Swalwell, thanks for the lesson learned!
- Learn the niche of the network. On Twitter, this means being able to write a short but meaningful message that generates enough interests to get clicks. On Vine, this means capturing something memorable in six seconds. On Facebook, it could mean a bunch of different things depending on the brand and the audience. It’s all about doing what’s right for the medium and the people who use it.
- Ask questions. People want to feel like their representatives are personable and want to hear what they say. No matter if you’re a brand, an individual, or a political campaign, your audience will be engaged by questions.
- Stay human. No one wants to feel like their representatives are untouchable gods in the sky – it’s good to have a witty statement here, an update on the politician’s life there. These should not be the majority, however.
- Recognize your followers. Say a certain political campaign stands behind increasing funds for education. Wouldn’t it be great to ask your followers for children’s hand-written messages and drawings – and then to share them? This kind of move is adaptable to many different platforms. The Internet is no longer a one-way information street. Recognize and learn from your followers.
- Finally, have great content. It’s been rehashed so many times, but there’s no way around this one. Everyone looking to be successful on social media needs to have the content to back them up. Link to relevant articles and news, post meaningful pictures and videos, and don’t post anything unnecessary (i.e. “Good night!”).