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What is a Social Media Strategy

A Social Media Strategy is becoming a critical part of every political and non-for profits strategy, and unlike other digital strategies, your social media strategy is built with a framework and general policy. The first part is the Strategy that will act like a framework that will lay out your key performance indicators (KPI) and the general direction that it will take (IE. platform and activities). The other part is policy and will be the guidelines that will help you adapt your strategy to changing environments on each platform.

Social Media Policy

Your Social Media Policy is by far the most important part of your Social Media Plan because it will be what fills in the strategy, and gives you direction when the unexpected happens. There are three basic points to cover in your Social Media Policy:

  1. How do you respond to people on social media
    • The most common way to handle this is to not respond to people on social media because they are most likely to be trolls.
  • If you do respond to people on social media it is best to try to get them off of social media. To do this you can direct them to a press release or direct message them, but you should have guidelines that focus on how fast you respond to people on social media and what type of message do you respond to.
  1. How do you use social media (IE. Repost of campaign material or social media exclusive media)? There are pros and cons of both of them, and each campaign will have to decide which one will achieve their goal

  2. How do you staff handle their own social media?

  • The one point you should always have is that staffers don’t talk about internal information (IE. voter contact number and canvassing location)

  • The other one that can be important is what they post about politics in general. The rule of thumb here is for staffers to only post what their boss post.

Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy has 6 different angles in which you can use social media:

  1. Reach: Social media helps politicians more effectively reach large numbers of voters in a short amount of time.

  2. Engagement: Unlike television, radio, and direct mailers, social media allow politicians to actively engage with their potential voters.

  3. Share Ideas & Goals: Social media allows politicians to share their beliefs, goals, and accomplishments directly with voters, making them feel more directly involved with the campaign.

  4. Behind-the-Scenes: Social media allows politicians to give their supporters a behind-the-scenes view of their campaign.

  5. Turn Digital Followers into Votes: It is one thing to build a large, digital following. It is another to turn those followers into votes.

  6. Analytics: Social media allows political campaigns to more easily track engagement. “We now track every mention of a Senator, House Representative, or Governor,” said Zachary Green, CEO of 140Elect.


Sample Social Media Policy / Strategy

Social Media Policy

Purpose

To address the fast-changing landscape of the Internet and the way voters communicate and obtain information online. [ORGANIZATION] departments may consider using social media tools to reach a broader audience. The [ORGANIZATION] encourages the use of social media to increase our outreach to communities, where appropriate.

The [ORGANIZATION] has an overriding interest and expectation in deciding what is “spoken” on behalf of the organization on media sites. This policy establishes guidelines the use of personal social media accounts, and official accounts.

General

  1. All [ORGANIZATION] social media related accounts will be subject to approval by office of the communications director

  2. The [ORGANIZATION] website (example.com, example.org, etc.) will remain the organizations primary and predominate internet presences

  • The best, most appropriate [ORGANIZATION] use of social media fall into two categories:

    1. As a way to disseminate time-sensitive information as quickly as possible.

    2. As a way to promote an event and encourage followers and supporters engagement.

  • Wherever possible, content posted to [ORGANIZATION] social media accounts will also be available on the main website of the organization.

  • Wherever possible, content posted on social media should link back to the [ORGANIZATION] main website for in-depth information, forms, or documents.

  1. The quality question that is asked through social media will respond to within 24 hours through on or offline channels.
  • A Quality question is a question that’s about upcoming events like time and place, or are about clarifying a statement or position.

  • Poor quality question is accusatory and inflammatory, and will often look to attack your views and start an argument.

  1. All new social media tools proposed for [ORGANIZATION] use will be approved by the office of the Technology/Digital Director and the appropriate department’s public information authority.

  2. [ORGANIZATION] will whenever necessary will replace any removed content with an explanation of why it was removed and step that have been taken to avoid similar events.

  3. [ORGANIZATION] reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed in violation of this social media policy from staff accounts.

Case studies There is no privacy on the Web.

Imagine, if you will, an NPR legal correspondent named Sue Zemencourt. She’s a huge fan of Enormous University’s basketball team and loves to chat online about EU. She posts comments on blogs under the screen name “enormous1.” One day, an equally rabid fan of Gigormous State (“gigormous1”) posts obnoxious comments about EU.

Sue snaps. Expletives and insults fly from her fingers onto the web page. They’re so out-of-line that the blog blocks her from submitting any more comments — and discovers that her i.p. address leads back to NPR. The blog’s host posts that “someone at NPR is using language that the FCC definitely would not approve of” and describes what was said. Things go viral.

The basically good person that she is, Sue publicly acknowledges and apologizes for her mistake. But that doesn’t stop The Daily Show from satirizing about the “NPRNormous Explosion.”

Damage done.

Be circumspect about your behavior, even when the exchange feels private or anonymous. Even an email to a trusted recipient can be made public, with or without the recipient’s knowledge or consent.

  1. Staff should avoid posting partisan political material. They shouldn’t just spread information they should be careful and skeptical.

  2. Staff shouldn’t comment on issues that [ORGANIZATION] are involved in, and any questions about [ORGANIZATION] should be directed to the communication department or website.

  3. Self-protection is part of being accountable online. Make sure that you use two-stage authentication and strong passwords with all social media accounts

Social Media Strategy

Purpose

Social Media Strategy will be used to target 18-35-year-olds thought multiple social platforms. Whenever possible create and maintain an open community, and to disseminate information as quickly as possible. The primary goal is to help organize supporters and reach out to hard to reach groups through fan pages, hashtags, and subreddit.

Platforms

Reddit have an ongoing AMA(Ask Me Anything) to direct question on another platform, and have scheduled time for both staff and politician. Allow for the volunteers to form a community, and to create and give input about blitz days and other campaign events.

Twitter: use Twitter as a new RSS feed for new site content and press release. Try to get any interaction to the Website or Reddit whenever possible.

Facebook: use it as a portal for the website, but keep it up to date with pictures unique to the site and recent events and a current event list.

Tactics

  1. Create 2 blog post a week that talk about what the campaign has been up to (IE. events, press mentions, endorsements, etc.).
  2. Create infographic once a month on issues that are most important to an online audience.
  3. Use listening tools to monitor keywords and content sediment(negative, neutral, or positive)
  4. create hashtags for the major event like Blitz Days.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

Main KPI: Will be sign-ups to an email list to stay up to date on volunteer, and campaign events.

Secondary KIP: - Share and Upvotes(5+ will create a backlink) - Increase of inbound traffic to the main site

The one KPI that you should never use is a number of users this is because followers have no value if they don’t engage with the campaign through sharing commenting or signing-up.

Influencers

An influencer is a member of a community that can help you spread your brand and gain you meaningful followers that will help your KPIs. There are several tools to help you find them and they are:

Buzzsumo

Keyhole

More Tools for Social Media Tracking and Engagement

Meshfire(shut down)

ALL Have a free unlimited option that is somewhat limited but is some of the best options out there.

Conclusion

Social Media Strategies aren’t like any other strategy you will have for your campaign because of the flex-able nature of social media platforms. That is why you should always have a clear list of rules and ethics that will guide you through every situation while making sure that you have clear, measurable, and meaningful goals for your social media strategy.

First Posted 11-18-2016