Engagement is the name of the game when it comes to an elected official using social media. Sure, having large numbers of followers is nice, but at the end of the day, if people aren’t reading what you type, it’s kind of useless. By building engagement with constituents, elected officials can guarantee that their message is being heard. More to the point, engagement helps you build followers, increasing your message’s overall reach.
So, how do you actually build that level of engagement? Here are a few thoughts:
- Ask for it: It may sound simple, but if you don’t ask for engagement, you won’t get it. Directly ask for someone’s opinions on an issue, and odds are, you’ll get them. Just be careful what you wish for. Don’t ask for someone’s opinion and then get annoyed when they give you one you disagree with.
- Ask questions: This is in line with the item above – ask questions and you will get answers. This, again, is a specific, direct way of seeking to build engagement.
- Don’t just post vanilla: Posting press releases and other official sounding tweets certainly have their place, but they get real boring, real quickly. Most of the time, a press release won’t be heavily shared or linked to. You have to post more than just vanilla to build engagement.
- Controversy: This is the converse of the above point – building engagement, and getting your content shared, frequently comes down to posting information that is interesting enough to be shared and responded to. This can mean controversial items. In my approximately five or so years in elected office, the item that I posted that got the most responses and shares was a note I wrote to people who asked me to oppose gay marriage. being active on social media frequently means not be afraid of a fight. Controversial posts will get you engagement. Just make sure you are ready to deal with the controversy, and of course, make sure not to go overboard.
- Time it right: One of the things we found with my elected official Facebook page is that posts at a certain time of day tended to get more response then others. To test what times work best for you (and they will work differently for everyone, depending on the demographic of your posts, content, etc), make a broad array of posts and see what times get you the best response. Go from there.
Anything else you want to add? As always, let us know in the comments!