Making a social media plan as an elected official

In yesterday’s entry, I discussed the importance of making sure that you use social media platforms that will enable you to hit the majority of your constituents.  To adequately figure out who you are targeting and what you need to say, you need to have some sort of social media plan.  Some people go through the steps of formally designing one (highly recommended, as answering all of these questions specifically really makes you think), while others just have a plan in their head.  If you are looking to go the formal, written route, here is a step-by-step process for any elected official:

1) What resources are at your disposal?  Specifically, three types:

  • Time: Do you have the staff time at your disposal?  Do NOT rely on an intern – interns come and go and aren’t as interested in your office, and your career, as a staffer.  They also lack adequate training.
  • Money:  If you are looking to do a paid campaign, do you have the money for it?  Can you afford to hire someone – even a consultant – on a part-time basis?
  • Tech: Most government offices have computers now, but what about phones?  Do you have a smart phone that has adequate capacity to manage social networking?

2) What are others in similar situations doing right – and what are they doing wrong?  Do your research and check out similar political pages.  Take note of what platforms they are using?  What types of content are they posting?  What is their tone?  The frequency with which they post?  Make sure you learn from these pages – take note of the things that are going right and wrong.

3) Who is your audience?  This isn’t necessarily what your district is.  There are some parts of your district that you will likely not be able to connect with via social media.  So, who IS in your district?  Who do you have the most to offer to, and what can you say?

4) What are your objectives?  What are you trying to advertise?  Constituent service and programs?  Policy positions?  Bipartisanship?  Your brand of ideology?  Whatever you pick, make it specific, because the content you post will flow from these answers.

5) How can you measure success?  Be specific here – what would be a “win”for you when it comes to your social media use?  More friends?  Conversations?  More website hits?  Whatever you define success is, make sure you have a metric by which you can track it.

6) What kind of content can you create?  I’d say this is the most important part, because really, the five questions above all lead to the types of content you post.  Based on your resources, research, audience and objectives, what do you have to say?

7) How often are you going to reevaluate?  Even the best plan needs updating.  Make sure that, at a set interval, you evaluate your social media plan and update it as your goals and needs shift.

It’s obviously more in-depth and time intensive than this, but the questions above can help you create a good social media plan that, if executed properly, will allow you to better connected with your constituents.

What do you think?  Did we miss anything?  Let us know in the comments!

One Comment

  1. […] I chose not to, because that isn’t my style.  I like being quirky and funny at times, but also professional.  I don’t want anyone to think that I regularly engage with trolls – I want to be above that.  And that was the path I chose.  Congressman Rohrabacher, at least temporarily, chose a different path.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with that path if it fits your image.  That, of course, goes back to knowing what your social media goals and objectives are – and this, in general, shows why everyone needs a social media plan. […]


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