I have a file on my desktop called “Everything You’re Doing Wrong.” I scour the internet for potential clients and summarize what they’re doing wrong and how we would do things better. From there my boss goes out to make the pitch that makes the money, I proceed to put said money where my mouth is, and the circle of life is complete. After doing more than a few of these EYDW’s, I’m noticing a few reoccurring issues.
Some are basic. I should never see the actual URL on the article you’re posting anywhere on Facebook, and whenever you can link to your website instead of a news website the better. Why link to the advertisers of people who generally hate you when you can link to your donation page? And those automatic tweets everytime you post something on Facebook? Just stop.
There are however five major issues (at least in my humble opinion) that cause me to #headesk my way into a concussion…
Waiting until the last minute: I call this “build now, play later.” Are you an elected official who says he’s not thinking of running for higher office? Guess what, you’re a rotten liar too. You know, even if it’s in the back of your head, you’re thinking about it. So build your network that expands out of your district now, and decide later on when or if you’re going to play with it. That way when you’re ready to run – say in a ridiculously expensive state like New York – your base has already been expanded while your opponents are just building theirs. Is that something you can rely on your intern who is good with computers for? If you answer yes, you’re probably also telling people you aren’t thinking of running for higher office.
The intern who is really good with computers: Because a lot of the tools and services we use (the basic ones) are free, people seem to think that if they get their intern or niece/nephew who is on Facebook all the time to set up a page that will automatically post to Twitter for them, their social media work is done until you give them a press release to post. What about using an image to get more people to share that graphic? Breaking it down to a few choice 140 character bits, which more people will read?
What about setting up feeds so you are constantly keep track of your opponents, the local news, and/or what your average constituents are talking about so you can jump on issues before anyone else does?
What about the hundreds of other tools not named Facebook and Twitter that can be just as important to your social media operation, knowing which ones work best for you and how to best use them?
Too much media, not enough social: If you have a pulse, you most likely have interests outside of the office you either hold or are running for. Guess what, so do the people voting for you, and they can go to the NYTimesWaPoBuzzfeedNationalReview.com to read what your thoughts on the sequester are. Lighten up a little. Give your Oscar predictions. Live-tweet your favorite TV show. Share that Grumpy Cat picture you’re still LOLing about. If it seems frivolous, it is, and a lot of us Romney supporters criticized the Obama campaign for doing similar things instead of serious interviews. You’ll notice you aren’t reading “Not Another the Democrats are Bad at Social Media Blog” on ThinkProgress.com. Voters relate to things like that.
More Promoting/Less Bashing: Marco Rubio was a former state rep. Scott Walker was a former county executive. Everyone with an (R-State) after their last name agrees that we need to constantly build a bench. Each state is lousy with town supervisors and village mayors who can do just that and can use every promotional tool available to help introduce them to the electorate and get their message out there. So why is your state/local GOP’s focus mainly on Obama bashing with next to no mention of any of the local Republican officials in the state/county/town/etc.?
I get it. I’m not a fan either. He only ever campaigns with his army of straw men he uses to demonize anyone who has an opposing political opinion than he does, and knows that the media will swear by most of what he says as long as the money’s on the nightstand. Here’s the thing . . . voters in 2012 didn’t care and he’s not on the ballot in 2014 and 2016. I know part of campaigning is attacking or “contrasting” with your opponent, but why not a better ratio? Instead of 90/10, why not 50/50? Half attacking Top Dem X, half promoting your candidates/officials who have better solutions. Just a thought.
Create your own content: I see a lot of local GOP pages that are primarily a collection of images from conservative activism organizations. This tells me you read an article that said you should type the words “LIKE” and “SHARE” and figured any picture you find will do just to justify your job. The reason you even know these pictures exist in the first place is because the organizations took the time an effort to brand themselves. Brand yourself. Create your own original content. Strengthening your brand also strengthens everyone who is a part of the brand (like say, all of your candidates/officials/etc.), not to mention the added publicity when lazy social media people use your content because they read an article somewhere.