Social Media Strategy for Legislators

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)

Social media

How Should Legislators Work With the Changing World of Social Media Strategy?

Last year I spoke to a group of legislators at the Public Leadership Institute. There were a lot of great questions, and the crowd was so much fun that I decided to turn the highlights into this week's post.

1. Have a message:

Some have underplayed legislative fundamentals, but to have a good social media presence means you need to have a clear message.

2. Tell a story:

Storytelling is a big deal. Whether you are a legislator or a nonprofit, understanding and delivering the emotion of an issue can be the difference between passing and killing a piece of legislation.

3. Have a content calendar:

Get the message out and repeat. A content calendar allows you to plan out your content in a clear way.  Remember: time is a constant. You need to look at yourself as a publisher, and you need to think about your overall message. Planning content ahead of time helps you stay in control of the dialogue.

4. Use your content to test messages:

Social media can be a great way to test what works and what doesn't.  Use facebook and twitter analytics to see what is working and how you could refine and improve your message.

5. Be proactive and reactive:

Have a good mix of planned content and spur of the moment content. Don't just tweet once. Switch the headline and tweet again.

6. Hashtag it:

Hashtags make it easy for folks to find content. Research the best hashtags on an issue in your state or create memorable new ones and use them.

7. Be multi-channel: 

It is important to create content specific for you channels. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all have different specifications and different ways to optimize content on their platforms.  Creating content for each channel will work better in the long run.

8. Video matters:

The world is moved by video, and social media strategy rewards video content. Always make sure the video can be played on mobile devices, and focus on content rather than production value. The video does not have to be highly produced. It needs to have a good message that folks can connect with.

9. Don't ignore email: 

Email is tried and true. It is a great way to layer what you are doing on social media to get specific actions taken.

10. Build lists:

Taking your email and donor list and adding it to Twitter and Facebook can help with your layered communication.

11. Let folks know who you are:

Bombarding folks with a borage of tweets on legislation may not be as effective as mixing in personal content that explains to folks who you are in your everyday life.

12. Create a real relationship:

Layer communication across mediums and have a real back and forth with your constituents. 

13. Hug your haters:

Jay Baer writes a great book about how ignoring feedback from customers can really hurt a company the same can be said for legislators. Hug your haters!

This gives you the highlights but since this was a long session if you have the question about social media strategy for legislators ask them here. Be sure to check out our ebooks and other content here.