In this four part series, I will look at the various mistakes made by numerous political candidates running for office. Topics I will look at will include outreach, updates, Facebook links to Twitter and posting times & hashtags.
This year there are many candidates running for political office in Maryland. The fact that they flocked to the various social media platforms to attract potential voters is not surprising. What can be surprising is the number of mistakes they make in their approaches. Many seem jumping onboard without a proper strategy and they are unable to attract the number of “Followers / Likes / +1’s” as they would like to have. Now to be honest, it is still early enough for many to change course on some of the bad habits they have begun and begin to really optimize their approach. Social media will not win a candidate and election, but in todays technology driven age it is important to utilize the social tools to expand outreach to potential voters.
(* Note – I will show examples in this four part series to provide context to the topics. I do not do this to embarrass any candidate or to show allegiance to any particular party in Maryland and will do my best to be fair and equal in my examples)
Part 1 – Outreach
A social media strategy for a candidate in any campaign for office should be complete and as wide as is manageable by the candidate and their staff. Almost every major candidate gets their website up early. At this point this is basically a given for all candidates. The next steps (usually) are Facebook and Twitter. Now lets be honest and say that some do this quicker and better than others. What is surprising is that this is where many campaigns limit their outreach. What is not known is why they stop with those platforms. Is it because they are unaware of the other social media tools available? Is it because they don’t think they have the time to keep all of the platforms updated regularly? I am sure it is a little different for each candidate, but whatever the reason they are missing out on potential voters on other platforms.
Here are two examples from candidates running for Governor in Maryland:
As you can see he is only publicizing Facebook and Twitter (as a described above). He is serious missing out on the world of followers in the social media world.
Heather has a nice YouTube page but there are many other outlets to reach potential voters.
These mistakes are not only made by these candidates but many others across the state running for Governor, U.S. Congress, State Senate or Delegate, County Executive, County Council and other offices. The great thing about the various social media platforms is that they are free so there really is no reason for candidates not to use them to reach potential voters or donors to their campaigns.
Some of the various social media platforms many candidates are not using include:
Google+ – I know this really has not reached the mainstream that Google would like yet, but there are a number of people that have left Facebook and are giving Google+ a try.
LinkedIn – Yes this is more of a professional network, but I would bet many of the candidates are already on LinkedIn and by expanding their networks it can be a useful tool.
YouTube – Seriously I really don’t understand why any serious candidate would not have one of these pages. Did you know that a man in Ellicott City Maryland has a shot to win $1,000,000 from Doritos for a commercial he made (and he only spent $200 on it). Making a video on why you are the best candidate is a pretty simple thing to do at little to no cost. By the way, here is the link to that commercial CLICK HERE
Instagram – Yeah I know this is only for photos, but the younger voters live on this thing. It is always a nice narrative to have photos out there of candidates at events and in the community. Trust me when I say it can’t hurt.
Pinterest – I will be honest and say I am not totally sold on this medium for campaigns, but I do know that by having a board out there for the campaign it will start showing up in Google search results.
I could go on and on but I think we all get the point by now. Candidates are missing out when it comes to social media outreach and now is the time to fix it. The primaries are coming quickly in 2014 and now is the time to complete your social media strategies.
Coming soon will be Part 2 – Social Media Updates