UPDATED: Communicating with Constituents Via Social Media


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How do you develop a social media communications strategy for your constituents? Whether your in Georgia or another state, this primer is where you start. If you do it right and really care about your constituents and supporter, where you'll end up is with better constituent relationships, larger campaign donations and massive voter support.

Do you like this presentation? Make sure you check out and "Like" my Facebook Page, too. at https://www.facebook.com/MyAudienceMatters where I share great content similar to this presentation on a regular basis. (Updated June 2012.)

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UPDATED: Communicating with Constituents Via Social Media

  1. 1. Winning the Future Begins with EngagementCommunicating with ConstituentsUsing Social MediaPresented to the Georgia Democratic House Caucus—January 25, 2012 (Updated: June 2012)Presented by Audience Matters, Inc.(404) 913-3340 * audiencedriven@myaudiencematters.com * www.myaudiencematters.com
  2. 2. Who Am I and What Do I Know about Social Media? I‟m Dahna Chandler, a professional social media, digital publicity and editorial content development strategist. I am an award-winning journalist and former reporter for Black Enterprise magazine and other major publications and websites. I‟ve worked with nonprofits, government agencies, small businesses, arts organizations, artists and politicians. I‟ve been conducting social media marketing strategy since 1992 and used it in 1998 to make myself an international journalist. I‟ve created and executed successful social media and digital publicity campaigns since 1992. I have approximately 17,000 friends, followers, fans and connections and subscribers across social media. I manage multiple social media accounts for clients. I‟m a social media marketing fanatic. Passion counts! © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  3. 3. In this Presentation, You‟ll Learn… What constitutes social media. What the focus of your social media efforts should be. What social media networks are most important to and most used by most constituents. The basics of using those social media networks effectively. The basics of measuring your social media effectiveness. Where to get started (or re-started) and how to keep engagement going. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  4. 4. What constitutes social media? Social media combines online technology and social interaction to share content that is interesting, high- quality and/or valuable to a common group of individuals. “Content” includes:  video and audio content  photos, images, cartoons  posted text—status updates, tweets, blog articles  documents, slides, news articles, polls Social media in the political context is developing a dialogue (two-way conversation) with your constituents about what‟s most meaningful and important to them. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  5. 5. Why Social Media, Why Now? Social media is no longer a novelty; it‟s necessary. It must be part of your political organization‟s 360 messaging strategy. Your constituents are on social media and expect you to be there, too. Your constituents want engagement—two-way conversation with you—not a monologue from you the way you would communicate to them traditionally. It‟s the best way to garner support, get volunteers, hire staff, build an organization, generate influence and maintain communication with constituents. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  6. 6. Besides, you‟re probably on social media whether you know it or not. People are probably talking about you on social media… …so, what are they saying and don‟t you want to help influence the discussion? If so, then, you need to effectively use social media. © 2012. Audience Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  7. 7. But, there are more reasons to engage with constituents on social media. © 2012. Audience Matters Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  8. 8. Six Reasons You Need to Engage with Constituents on Social Media1. To develop relationships because constituents support legislators they know, like and trust.2. It‟s an ideal, relatively inexpensive, fast constituent services tool; you‟ll learn about your constituents in a way that helps you effectively aid them with theirs issues and concerns.3. To influence constituents, share and get support for your legislative agenda, initiatives and causes and raise awareness of issues by sharing relevant-to-constituents and supporters content.4. To connect meaningfully with the media and volunteers.5. To encourage your constituents and supporters to influence others on your behalf.6. To learn about detractors and manage your online/social media reputation and presence. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  9. 9. What are some well-known social media platforms? Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn Google+ Flickr Blog Talk Radio Blogs Wikipedia © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  10. 10. But, those are just a few… © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  11. 11. So, Which Should You Be On? © 2012. Audience Matters Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  12. 12. At a minimum, you need to be on: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Which combination depends on your purpose for using social media, what kind of networking you will do on social media, the kind of content you or your organization will share and what your overall messaging strategy is. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  13. 13. But, before you get started, here are 10 Constituent Rules of Engagement you should know… © 2012. Audience Matters Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  14. 14. 10 Basics of Constituent Engagement on Social Media1. Be transparent, credible, authentic. Constituents spot fakes quickly and faking is worse than not trying at all.2. Remember, it is meant to be a natural extension of you, the legislator, and the legislation, issues and causes you‟re championing on behalf of your constituents.3. But, it‟s about your constituents, not you.4. Do you research. Know what your constituents care about and post relevant content and responses to them.5. Remember, this is a two-way conversation. Be willing to ask questions, even hard ones, and be involved in an honest dialogue—even when challenged. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  15. 15. 10 Basics of Constituent Engagement on Social Media6. Remember what you say anywhere on social media may be shared everywhere on social media.7. You must dedicate resources appropriately to social media engagement meaning using professional strategy and help to supervise interns or volunteers.8. Don‟t just set up an account on a network and neglect to monitor or update it regularly with fresh, new content or respond to constituents or supporters or allow someone who doesn‟t know what they‟re doing to do it for you.9. Know when and what to post in order to capture and engage with the audience that will benefit your organization.10. Know your message and stay on message. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  16. 16. And, now, the very basics of usingFacebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn In other words, these tips are just the beginning. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  17. 17. Facebook Set up Facebook Profiles, Pages, Groups or Causes and make them social search (keyword) optimized. Share your legislative initiatives, your votes, key issues of concern in your district or in the state. Ask constituents to share their concerns, ideas, opinions and values then RESPOND; this is a discussion platform. Share personal (carefully!), business or political content or news and values. Conduct polls and rally supporters around particular causes. Announce appearances, specific legislative activities, town hall meetings or other events. Post podcasts, photos and videos (but don‟t forget to give them captions or descriptions and tag people). © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  18. 18. Facebook (cont‟d) Share internal content created by your organization and external content created by outside sources. Don‟t just post content about yourself; post or allow posting of constituent or supporter content. Ask and answer questions (including hard ones that may get answers you don‟t like), start discussions, respond to posts, deal with detractors. Give constituents and supporters ways to connect with you (invite to events, the State Capitol, call times, etc.). Let them know you‟re available to hear their concerns. Be authentic and transparent. Be natural. Be approachable. Be relevant. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  19. 19. Twitter It‟s a microblogging site that‟s not much different to use than texting. In fact, you can tweet from your smart phone. You share information about yourself, your agenda with your constituents and information from them with followers in under 140 characters. Share links to valuable content. Find and follow constituents and supporters; share their tweets by “retweeting”. Retweeting encourages people to follow you and “retweet” your content. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  20. 20. Twitter (cont‟d) Find and follow members of the media and tweet press releases; develop relationships with news organizations and journalists. (Useful for publicity.) Share photos of your events and activities, videos you made about what you‟re doing or of press interviews you got; audio recordings, including podcasts. Do tweetup events, live tweeting of town halls or tweet meets town halls to connect with constituents and supporters. Remember that twitter is about conversations, not just pushing your own content, initiatives, ideas or opinions. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  21. 21. YouTube Share pre-recorded videos and conduct live events. Create and upload messages in response to other legislators‟, state officials‟ or the governor‟s speeches or announcements. Share segments of sessions where you‟ve introduced legislation, have presented (or have been presented), commendations, awards, proclamations, made important announcements, etc. Share content made by or for supporting or opposing legislators and respond to detractors, media reports. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  22. 22. YouTube (cont‟d) Share constituent and supporter videos of outside events created by them, media or your staff. Make use of the “Favorites” and “Playlist” features to collect and share other users‟ videos on your channel. Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your YouTube Channel to share content across platforms. Share video content directly from YouTube in emails and on your website. Keep adding fresh content to your YouTube Channel; add new content at least several times a month. New content doesn‟t always mean your own but it should be yours most of the time. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  23. 23. LinkedIn LinkedIn is primarily for business networking and many small business owners and nonprofits use it. Perceived by some as more „professional‟ than Facebook so more comfortable for these constituents and supporters to use. Most of you are entrepreneurs who understand their issues so connect with those constituents and supporters here. Join groups that your constituents and supporters are members of to monitor their interests, concerns, opinions and values. Do research by using “Answers” or posting questions to groups to ask specific questions about small business and nonprofit issues, social concerns, political issues, etc . © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  24. 24. LinkedIn (cont‟d) Post your own blog articles (if you blog for business) and other content created by you. Use for your business activities not just legislative affairs as a way for constituents and supporters to learn about you, professionally. Create a profile with a full work/business history, start a Company page, follow other professionals, experts, strategists and legislators. Build your credibility by learning and leveraging the platform‟s features. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  25. 25. A Word or Three on Websites You need a basic website to facilitate your social media (and overall messaging) strategy. It‟s often the first place where many go to find out about you and where you are on social media. You can put content from social media on your website to drive people to your social media accounts. Use it to build lists for email campaigns. You can put more content on your website than you can on most social media platforms. Keep it up-to-date with recent content; know search engine content rules because they change. Make sure you link to it from your social media accounts. Make sure your websites are keyword optimized. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  26. 26. Getting started on social media and keeping the engagement going. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  27. 27. Prepare & Integrate Make sure you do your demographic research. It‟s best to integrate social media strategy into your overall messaging and media plan. You need to know what social media platforms your constituents and supporters use most frequently and commit resources there. Know how you‟ll integrate social media into your overall messaging strategy; it should, for example, overlap with your email marketing and be part of your publicity strategy. Combine social media with offline networking (like tweetups and Facebook and LinkedIn events) to build relationships that make your other media, messaging and advertising initiatives easier. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  28. 28. Cover All Social Media Bases Are there other social media platforms you need to be on like Pinterest, Viddy, Flickr, Foursquare, Instagram or Blog Talk Radio? Are your constituents on ethnic, lifestyle, values or gender specific platforms, too? Are they on forums or listservs? Only robust research into your messaging needs will tell you that. © 2012. Audience, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  29. 29. Develop a Social Media Strategy for Each Platform You Use They‟re all different and require a different but integrated strategy. This is where you decide whether you‟ll continue to do social media yourself or hire an expert or strategist. Don‟t use an inexperienced intern or volunteer. They won‟t know the professional social media strategies you need to use to be successful and may not understand constituent relations. How you use each platform should be determined by the social media strategy you developed as part of your overall messaging plan. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  30. 30. Develop a Social Media Strategy for Each Platform You Use But develop a social media plan for each social media platform that incorporates each social media network as seamlessly as possible into your overall strategy. Know the language and methods of use and sharing for each platform. You‟ll need to know how to build a fanbase and find friends on Facebook, get subscribers on YouTube, find followers on Twitter, make connections and join the right groups on LinkedIn. Again, make sure you integrate the social media platforms with one another and your social media into your overall messaging strategy. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  31. 31. After developing (or revising) your social media strategy You create your first or revamp your current social media accounts. You find appropriate friends, fans, connections, subscribers and followers among your constituents and supporters. Begin sharing content and engaging in discussions with them online. To show genuine interest in constituent and supporter engagement, on social media, ask, ask, ask people to connect with you on social. You do this via email, your website, ads, at events, during interviews and speeches and in all other messaging campaigns and vehicles both online and offline (print and broadcast media, for example). © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  32. 32. After developing (or revising) your social media strategy You conduct ongoing demographic and legislative research using social media tools like surveys, polls and discussions to find out what your constituents want, need or are thinking. You share appropriate personal and business information about yourself to humanize yourself. Let your constituents and supporters get to know you. You post constant requests for involvement—ask constituents and supporters to volunteer, join, help, participate, share and comment. Keep your website current, fresh and interactive so your constituents will keep going back and keep engaging with you online and on social media. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  33. 33. Get Started (or re-started) yesterday but do so strategically. Rushing into social media can do more harm than good. Once you start conducting social media activities, you must continue them regularly and do them right. Failing to do so can ruin your engagement strategy, lowering support. Not understanding with whom you‟re trying to engage and how to effectively engage them is a turn off to social media savvy constituents and supporters. We already know saying or doing the wrong thing on social media can ruin your reputation. What happens on social media stays on social media—forever. (Think Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).) But, be as aware of what others are saying about you as what you say on social media. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  34. 34. Get Started (or re-started) yesterday but do so strategically. We know damaging your reputation or having it damaged by someone else on social media is more costly than offline...except if you do it on television. Actually, it‟s close— really close. Learn what not to do on social media by researching “social media blunders” and try to avoid them. Make sure your media strategist is involved in your social media activities. If your media strategist isn‟t a social media expert, either hire one who is or hire a separate social media strategist. Commit the necessary time and resources to a strong social media strategy for social media success. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  35. 35. Monitor & Measure Effectiveness Set up Google Alerts to learn what people and the media are saying about you online. At a minimum, use Google analytics to track web traffic and tools like YouTube Insights, Hootsuite Analytics, Twitter Counter, Social Mention, LinkedIn statistics and Facebook Insights to monitor effectiveness on social media. (There are many others, too.) However, you need to understand those tools and how to use them in order to develop effective metrics and analyze data. The best measure of your success is the level of actual constituent engagement on your social media accounts and what your constituents and supporters (and the media) are saying online and off about you and your organization. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  36. 36. Monitor & Measure Effectiveness For example, shares and comments on Facebook (as well as ongoing discussions), retweets on Twitter and direct engagement and mentions anywhere on social media (positive, negative, neutral) are measurements you should care about. Monitoring allows you to shift, tweak or scrap strategies that are not working and increase activity that is. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  37. 37. A Final WordIn politics, social media can be used as: A marketing tool. A conversation with constituents and supporters. A gauge of your civic responsibility. Any or all of the above, depending on an organization or legislator‟s political strategy or requirements.• However, regardless of the social media tool used, the message (and its dissemination methods) remains the most critical part of any political messaging strategy. © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  38. 38. Web: www.myaudiencematters.com Blog: www.beaudiencedriven.comFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/AudienceMattersMedia Twitter: http://twitter.com/BAudienceDriven LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dahnamchandler Google+: http://gplus.am/AudienceMattersMediaSlideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/audiencemattersmedia ecademy: http://www.ecademy.com/user/dahna.m.chandler © 2012. Audience Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.