Social media is a powerful tool for elected officials, staffers, activists and organizations during the legislative session. And while platforms are easy and accessible to everyone, success is best achieved when you have a realistic goal and follow steps to achieve it.
So, before you get posting, ask yourself a few questions:
Who is your audience?
Who is it you are trying to reach with this post: Constituents? Elected Officials? Journalists? In answering this, you can target your language and the information that needs to be shared.
Say your organization supports a bill that is stuck in committee. Before you act on social media, you should identify if Tweeting directly at the Chair will actually help change their mind or if it is more effective to mobilize like-minded groups to call for action.
What is your goal?
Pinpoint the “why” behind the post: Are you trying to organize a rally? Educate others on the merits of a bill? Build brand awareness for your organization? Maintain a positive public image?
The purpose of posting can help dictate your tone and expectations. For example, if the post is to build name recognition for your association tagging members, companies and fellow non-profits increases exposure and should be a priority.
Can you keep it real?
When it comes to legislative content, authentic videos and “behind the scenes,” photos steal the show. These types of posts engage followers and win favor for transparency and accessibility. Not everything needs to be staged and scripted.
Are you prepared for the worst?
Social media is a powerful tool for influencing others, so using it to educate and incite change during the legislative process is a great use of social platforms. That being said, it’s politics — your opposition is watching and may snatch the opportunity to call you out or respond publicly. You should have a plan in place for responding to or ignoring negative comments, removing hateful or inappropriate content and outweighing a group that commandeers your message. Don’t wait until you’re faced with conflict. It’s best to organize your response strategy with a clear head.
Posting often and with purpose will see you and your organization steadily increase views, mentions and followers in the remaining weeks of session!