If you are an elected official that is just using Facebook as your sole social media outreach, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: it may be all that you have time for or the only place that you feel technologically comfortable. If this is a conscious decision, and you feel that you have no alternative, no problem. Having a presence on one platform alone isn’t the end of the world.
But you can do better. And you should.
A quick look at some demographic facts about the various social media platforms out there:
- 13-24 year olds are leaving Facebook, and this trend may continue.
- In terms of overall internet users, more African-Americans are on Twitter than whites.
- More 18-29 year olds are on Instagram than any other social network (save Facebook, for now).
- The vast majority of Twitter users are under 55.
What’s the point of all this? Go back, for a moment, to the basic premise of this blog: I believe that elected officials have a moral obligation to use social media, because an informed citizenry is required for an informed democracy. If you accept that this premise is true, then it requires that you use whatever social networks are most appropriate to your constituents. My constituency, for example, is a very slim plurality Hispanic, followed by whites, followed by African-Americans. This would, it seems, validate my office’s strategy of heavily using Twitter in addition to Facebook. For a district that was largely white and older, a Facebook-heavy approach would be a better way to spend limited time and resources.
A one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t work for social media usage. You have to go where the people are, and go where your district is. If you are going to use social media, make sure that you take the time to develop a Social Media plan that determines who you are targeting and how you can reach them.