As the demand from citizens and advocates for politicians to be more available and engaged on social media grows louder and more insistent everyday, it’s not enough for these representatives to just open a facebook or twitter account and be done with it.
In the same way that one would be polite, attentive and engaging at a public event or when talking with constituents at the Capitol, being a responsive representative on social media means being conscious of etiquette, norms and best practices.
Here’s 5 Tips For Politicians on Using Social Media
- The internet is forever. Once you have posted something to your social media, especially something embarrassing, it can’t be deleted from the web permanently. Think before you post. Be mindful of what you’re saying and how you are saying it. Never give or RT (retweet) misleading facts or information.
Use your platform to teach and celebrate your community.
- Use your social media regularly. Your social media should reflect your offline political engagement. Know that if your community would experience an emergency, YOU will be a trusted source for important information to the public and media. Use your platform to teach and celebrate your community.
- #SenatorSoCoolWV. Create and use your own personalized hashtag. This will help others search and find you, and will help you see what conversations are happening that involve you.
- Your bio is your intro. Post your political party and district in your Twitter biography. Let your constituents know who you are and where you’re from so they can reach out to you easily and reference your website address. You don’t have a website? Get one. You don’t run your office with a closed door, so don’t run your social media that way.And, please make sure you have a profile photo so they can put a face with the name, and the policies. (Here’s a good example.) Your profile should be public, not locked or private. You don’t run your office with a closed door, so don’t run your social media that way.
- Nice to meet you @constituent. Twitter likens itself to the modern-day handshake. Use it this way. Communicate with your constituents. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun and show your personality. Here’s a list of politicans from all over the world who are doing a great job of building an audience on social media.