The 10 Commandments of Campaign Social Media

By Josh Koster and Tyler Davis

ClickZ News - Politics & AdvocacyThe following is an excerpt from ClickZ’s Digital Political Campaigns 101, a free, downloadable resource with practical information on online fundraising, online advertising, social media, campaign video, and more. Although these commandments are particularly relevant for political and advocacy campaigns, corporate marketers will find value in them, too.

This may offend a lot of new media consultants, but getting social media right is actually pretty simple. Don’t think of it as the silver bullet; it’s not. But don’t ignore it either.

Get on the social networks your people actually use. Make sure you tell your supporters to go follow you, and make it easy to do from every page of the campaign website (which, by the way, should have share buttons all over it). Find someone who can write and spell and will not require post approval and put that person in charge of pushing out a steady drumbeat of links to clips, videos, pictures – whatever. And, make sure that person pays close enough attention to notice when something catches on among the netroots.

The 10 Commandments of Campaign Social Media

1. Thou shalt not ignore social media. If you think you can entirely ignore social media, Google your candidate and then Google the opponent.

2. Thou shalt not worship the false social media god. Social media is not your campaign savior. If your candidate thinks social media is a mythical democratic medium that will catapult him to viability, jump ship.

3. Thou shalt not let the entire campaign staff know the login info. People are not going to steal the info (that’s just paranoia). However, some less experienced staffers could cause problems unintentionally. Imagine a 20-year-old staff member who forgets he’s still logged into the official account and posts something that a 20-year-old would post to his own account. Embarrassment ensues.

4. Thou shalt not fake a personal presence. If your candidate is older than dirt, or simply never going to care about or understand the Internet or social media, don’t try to fake a personal presence. People will see right through it. Instead, develop a campaign presence.

5. Thou shalt not put a social media novice in charge. Do not put someone in charge of social media who doesn’t personally use those channels. It will take him forever to figure it out, and he’ll probably not be very good at it.

6. Thou shalt not make social media decisions by committee. Especially small decisions. You’ll accomplish little else.

7. Though shalt not give the candidate (too much) room to gaffe. Don’t let a candidate with a drinking or gaffing problem do his own posting. Under no circumstances should he be taught how to post from his phone. Change passwords if you have to.

8. Thou shalt not link feeds. Audiences vary, and so should your messages in the social channels where you reach them. You should tailor your communications in tone, style, and subject matter to each distinct audience. Simply put: do not link Facebook, Twitter, or other feeds together or you’ll weaken the potency of each individual channel. (For more, see step 4 below.)

9. Honor your readers and your sharers. Don’t ignore them. Pay attention to what they like and don’t like. Don’t spam them. Don’t treat your social media channels like feed for your press releases.

10. Thou shalt not let multiple staffers waste time monitoring buzz. Infomania is like crack – addictive and destructive. Give the tasks of numbers refreshing and buzz monitoring to the staffer who handles clips as a legitimate responsibility, and steer everyone else away from it.

For more great insight on using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter in campaigns, and to read the accompanying “Twelve Steps to Social Media Campaigns That Don’t Suck,” download ClickZ’s Digital Political Campaigns 101 today!

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