Social Media and Running for Office: Top 5 Tips for Politicians

The actual Presidential election is about a year away — yes, one whole year. Before that big election, we get to watch the politician Ping-Pong game that entails the primaries.

You’d think pols would be dubious about the way social media and digital communications would impact the public’s perception of them. Then again, perhaps it’s the pols’ way of acting like everyone else and capitalizing on the moment of Oops!

Either way, here are some easy things campaigns can do to keep their candidates in check, while learning a thing or two about their base.

1.     Keep track of how the Facebook posts of other candidates are doing.

Ever hear of CrowdTangle? Initially created for the purpose of activism by merging various pages together, they took a pivot and are used by some of the biggest media organizations out there. Was it a video that boosted high engagement on another candidate’s page? Was it a specific topic? CrowdTangle helps unravel all of that.

2.     Keep a real-time ear on how people are talking about you.

Whether it’s Sysomos, NUVI, Crimson Hexagon, or Radian6, the social media teams of each candidate should have some sort of real-time digital snapshot of how their guy or gal is doing in the primaries. These tools have the ability to type in a particular topic or meme, along with the candidate, and Boom! — instant feedback. The trick here is to filter accordingly.

3.     Hire a data scientist.

At this point in the cycle, I’d expect someone on your staff to have a solid handle on data, predictive analytics, and algorithms. The Obama campaign put a stake in the ground around the way in which data can be used for raising money and testing various messages via email. If you don’t have a data expert on staff, I suggest you find one — quick.

4.     Understand, engage, and test multiple platforms.

Reddit isn’t just a fun place to trade Imgurs — it’s become a solid place to organize rallies, volunteers, and local happenings. If you don’t have a member of your staff spending a considerable amount of time on Reddit, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, Google Trends, Snapchat, or Vine, you are in serious trouble. Here’s why: Understanding how the up-and-coming generation communicates and what matters to them most will not only get you elected, but keep you on your toes throughout your presidency.

5.     Post as you. Yes, really.

It’s 100% A-OK to have a member of your staff tweet on your behalf now and then, but you know what’s really powerful? Being yourself. We love seeing our candidates expressing themselves in their own style. Sure, we know there are people behind you, but there’s nothing wrong with throwing up a tweet or Instagram post with your personal touch behind the button.

There you have it: my top tips to keep our politicians at the digital forefront this election cycle. Take out your popcorn — it’s going to be an interesting ride!

Blagica Bottigliero
VP of Digital Media

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