Social Media Primer
First the term “social media” in campaign speak is often used interchangeably with new media, digital media, on-line presence and several other similar terms. What you call it doesn’t matter. How you do it does matter.
For our purposes here, I am taking the broadest possible definition which includes things like emails, web site, Twitter, and Facebook.
Why do social media?
Yes, potential clients still seriously ask that question. The short answer? Properly executed social media can introduce you to voters, help you organize your supporters and help raise money.
The golden rule is don’t get involved in any kind of media unless you have the resources to do it right. In most cases, the “resources” means time. Nothing is more depressing or amateur looking than to have a voter visit your “page” to see you haven’t posted anything in six months.
Nobody expects a candidate to take the time to personally write everything that the campaign puts out. I worked in one campaign where the candidate did want to post occasionally so we selected special a hash tag that acted as his signature so people knew it was actually him.
How often should you post to make it an effective tool?
e-Mail: 1-2 per week – 5 maximum
Web Site: Weekly Updates – no maximum
Twitter: 3-5 times per day minimum – no maximum
Facebook: 3-5 per week – 10 times maximum
Google +: 3-5 per week – 10 times maximum
If time allows :
Pinterest: 3-5 per week – 10 times maximum
LinkedIn: 1-2 week – 5 maximum
YouTube: 1-3 per month – 15 maximum
Flicker/Instagram: Daily – no maximum
If you can’t commit to these minimums just don’t it! That is why you see most successful campaigns pick a couple (usually Facebook, Twitter, e-Mail) social media enterprises to engage in.
How do you pick which ones are best given your resources?
This is a great question for your benchmark polling. If your polling shows that 47% of likely voters use Facebook and 3% use Google + your decision is pretty much made for you.
What should you post?
The exact ratio will vary from campaign to campaign and where you are in the election cycle, but most posts fall in one of three categories.
Message – The messaging and issues about the campaign can help your candidate get new supporters and make sure their supporters know what the campaign is about.
The Ask – Whether it’s money or something else, if the campaign needs something you should ask supporters. However, you CAN definitely ask too often. Make your asks count.
Personal – Especially in races that cover a large geographic area, this can help voters get to know your candidate. Personal information can help voters to feel a connection to the candidate.
Whatever social media you choose, cross promote. Put web address, Facebook address, etc… on all printed materials. Use your web site to promote your Facebook and Twitter, and Twitter to promote Facebook and web site… You get the idea.
Social media can be a great way to communicate with voters, but it requires time, effort and some creativity to benefit your campaign. Almost every campaign can benefit from some social media, just don’t stretch your campaign too thin. Start with what you are pretty sure you can handle and grow from there.