newsletter subscribe
3 Essential Social Networks for Online Campaigning

Though is still early summer, November elections will be here before you know it! As a political candidate, what are you doing right now to make the most of social media and get voters to support you in the voting booth?

If you are going to do any online social networking, here are the three networks you should definitely use – and why.

Facebook

With over 400 500 600 + million users, there’s a good chance some of your voters are on Facebook.  Establishing a presence there is simple, and it’s easy to branch out and it connects well with other social networks.

Build a campaign Facebook Page to help spread the word. Once you do that, you can also:

  • Post campaign updates, news, pictures and video to your Page.
  • Create custom tabs for your page, including a custom landing page for non-Facebook users.
  • Post Events and invite others.
  • Use Facebook Plugins add additional page functionality.
  • Add Facebook ‘Like’ Buttons to your web content so others can share and help spread the word on their walls and in their own news feeds.
  • Use Facebook Ads to reach other users by age, location and other demographic information.

How the 2012 Presidential Candidates’ websites are using Facebook Connect to collect data like never before

Twitter

Who would have thought that online relationships could be developed within a 140-character limit? Twitter is more than just a micro-blogging tool. It is a way to connect and interact with others.

A few ways to interact, as opposed to just posting status updates, include:

  • Asking questions about issues or news events.
  • Re-tweeting other people’s tweets. Support other pols and have them support you!
  • Using the #hashtag to get involved in conversations.

Tweets to promote your campaign are fine, but pure plugs should make up only a tiny fraction of your Twitter activity. Active engagement will get you more followers and more exposure.

LinkedIn

With over 100 million professionals in the network, candidates cannot ignoreLinkedIn. Create a professional profile to reach out to others and build your credibility.

LinkedIn is NOT a place to promote your campaign. That will constitute spam and will turn others off. It is a professional network, and you might want to get a feel for how it works before you jump right in.

LinkedIn allows you to:

  • Create a personal profile.
  • Attach your resume and describe your professional skills.
  • Upload materials, such as SlideShare presentations and PDFs.
  • Post reviews from others of your work.
  • Highlight what others are saying or doing.

LinkedIn Groups provides a place for professionally-minded people with social influence to exchange ideas. Find a few groups on topics that you are passionate about and join the conversation.

LinkedIn Answers allows you opportunity to display your expertise to others. Good answers can earn you stars and enhance your overall status.

If you are going to go down the social network route, don’t wait! Building a successful network takes time and effort. (Months, really. We’re seeing some campaigns starting social networking efforts a year or more ahead of the elections.)

Who is going to influence the social media-savvy voter? The lonely candidate with 12 Facebook Fans and 3 Twitter followers, or the more popular candidate with hundreds of followers who is effectively engaging others online?