Donald Trump has COMPLETELY changed the rules for politics, business…and social media. Love him or hate him (there is little room in the middle), his Twitter strategy gave him $5 billion in free media. The power of social media for politicians cannot be ignored. It is a robust communication tool whose power and influence transcends generations. Social media for politicians is drastically than that of businesses, brands and “normal people.” Senators, Governors and Mayors are doing new things in social media to better connect with constituents. Not everyone can be Donald Trump. Those rules don’t apply to ANYONE ELSE. These are the 5 best practices to follow for politicians to get elected:
- Strategy – Political messaging must be on point. There are no random tweets or posts. All messaging feeds into a larger narrative. Develop a content calendar with dates, times, platforms and tracking methods (e.g. – hashtags). Insure all members of the politician’s staff are aware of talking points and messaging – daily.
- Monitor – Constantly track what people are saying. Social media for politicians is similar to that of celebrities and top brands. You want to know what they are saying about you – words, hashtags, key phrases. Use Hootsuite or Sproutsocial to monitor conversations in real time.
- Tone – Donald Trump has changed how people speak on social media. Establish a consistent tone in messaging (responses and new statements) that is hopeful, critical, uplifting, informative or opinionated. Nearly 40% of Americans say they are worn out by political debates on sites like Twitter. Give them a reason follow you.
- Audience – Donald Trump’s audience was not white males, the working class or evangelicals. His audience was the media. He gave them the content they were looking for and they published it for him…for free. Listen to your audience and respond accordingly.
- Content – Creative and consistent content is key. Mayor Joe Hogsett of Indianapolis takes pictures at almost every event he attends. Add humor and fun to your content to lighten the mood. Include pictures of children, pets and funny situations. Remember ABS: Always be smiling!
Social Media Strategy Tips
- Platforms – There are no ghost towns. Be active on any platforms you choose. Twitter is great for conversations, so be prepared for an active dialogue. Instagram is all photos and videos. Do not use it for long speeches. Social media for politicians is still social. Do not use social media as a place to only advertise your messages.
- KISS – Keep it short and simple. Do put speeches on Facebook. Your constituents have a short attention span. Respect people’s time with short videos (less than 1 minute), pictures and posts. People go to campaign rallies for long speeches, not Snapchat.
Social media is a place to engage with your audience. Be social and fun with your constituents. Just like Pepsi, Kelloggs or Nordstrom, politicians are their own brand. Social media for politicians is not about selling “your brand.” Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook is a platform to build and maintain relationships.Finally, if you’re ever wondering what to tweet, post or say remember WWTD (i.e. – What Would Taylor Swift Do).
Scientifically Speaking, of course…