Traditional marketing and advertising was based on one-to-many communications. In other words, the handful of big business who had the budgets to make large media buys were able to broadcast their message to huge audiences.
With the development of social media marketing, marketing and advertising strategy have undergone a paradigm shift. Gone are the days when marketing was all about big media buys. Today, businesses and organizations have the unique (and low-cost) opportunity to build authentic, transparent relationships with their customers, members, and advocates.
This paradigm shift means that we can use social media marketing to build authentic, transparent relationships with our elected officials, too. These 17 tips will help your membership organization practice #AstroNetTurfRoots; engaging with elected officials online.
- Follow elected officials and staff members on Twitter. Here is a good place to start.
- Like the pages of or ask to Friend elected officials and staff members on Facebook.
- Observe (“listen to”) how those officials communicate. What is their tone? What topics do they tweet about?
- Match the tone your elected officials use online when you communicate with them on social media channels.
- When appropriate, respond to elected officials, retweet their posts, or share their messages with your community.
- Seek out press and media representatives that cover government affairs (at all levels) so they have a more familiar relationship with you.
- Create a social media directory or follow list that includes the names and usernames of those elected officials, staff, and press.
- Share your social media directory (see #7) with your members.
- Encourage your members to follow, friend, and engage with elected officials as well.
- Speak to elected officials as yourself (as in individual), rather than as your organization to separate yourself from the white noise the elected official is already inundated by.
- Be an expert on your issue, whatever that issue may be.
- Know the impact that an issue has on your area, the elected official’s area, and on your own business.
- Be able to back your knowledge and expertise with real, factual information.
- Share upcoming events with elected officials when those events will give them real-world experience in your affairs, industry, or region.
- When elected officials attend your events, tweet about their attendance and Facebook it to your friends and followers.
- When you meet elected officials in the real world, gently remind them of your social media relationship.
- Be aware that the Internet, like a diamond, is forever. If you put it out there it can help you or come back and bite you in the butt.
One final note: Social media is changing constantly. Your goal shouldn’t be to follow hard-and-fast rules from a “social media expert”, but to apply — and test — best practices with your audiences. And when you think you’ve found what works, test it again! You might be surprised at how frequently social media platforms make changes that impact you.
Need a hand with your social media strategy? Drop us a line.
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