Politics and Social Media Part 2: What Network? What Content?

By Rob  |  3 Apr 2014, 11:30am  |  Category: Social Media

So in my second post on the topic of Social Media and Politics I'm going to discuss how to pick the right social network and deliver the right content.

There are many, many social networks now. But the three big players remain Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn -- and these are the networks we shall focus on. The rules we discuss however apply to most networks -- and most marketing. Whether that be political or business.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of political marketing let's define our networks. So what do we know?

  • Facebook: Over 1bn users; They share over 2.5 billion pieces of content per day; Focuses on friends and family; Negatives can costs to market and promote.
  • Twitter: Over 200m users; Over 500 million tweets per day; No particular focus, open network, great news source; Negatives how to grow a following.
  • LinkedIn: 180m users; Focus business relationships and news; Negatives overly focused

What we can see is each of our networks are very different and have their strengths and weaknesses. Also things are not as simple as they seem. You may assume that if you wish to connect with the largest audience you should use Facebook. But Facebook doesn't make it easy to connect with your audience -- usually it costs. Also while Twitter is much more open than Facebook or Linkedin -- growing a legitimate and engaged following is difficult. It does not have the same initial connection points that LinkedIn and Facebook have.

Despite these issues there are two simple rules that you should always remember which will help you promote ideas on social networks...

  1. Always tailor your content to match the network it is published on. 
  2. Make sure your content adds value to your followers', friends' and connections' lives.

Let's discuss tailoring your content. Facebook is generally used for connecting with friends and family -- that's its primary aim. Sadly friends and family don't necessarily want to hear you talk politics. It may not add any value to their lives. But this does not mean you cannot discuss politics on your profile. You just have to consider who your friends are. Do they share your beliefs, are they interested in politics? If not don't be overly political or preach too much. Maybe share amusing, light-hearted content on political subjects on an ocassional basis.

You could of course set up a page, which would attract those with specific interests. But unless you're willing to spend some money it may be entirely pointless. And that's without discussing the topic of 'Like Legitimacy' and spam.

By contrast LinkedIn is a business focused network. So again people don't go on said network for politics. Instead it is a place to build business connections and learn about industry news. But this does not mean you cannot promote political ideas. And because it has a specific focus deploying the right contet can be a little easier. In most cases your LinkedIn connections are going to relate to the industry you work in. So if you work in IT and have lots of IT based connections publish political content that relates to IT or whichever industry you work in. Don't, for example, discuss the Common Agricultural Policy if you don't work in farming...

Now, it may seem like Twitter is open season... Post anything to anyone... But that simply isn't the case. You have to be consistent on Twitter and pick a niche. You should aim to be the go to source for certain information. So if your interest is gender politics publish political content that relates to that topic. Then people interested in that info will engage with you and you will have influence...

Once you have selected which networks to promote you ideas on you have to begin selecting and producing your content. There is one simple rule that you must follow when creating or sharing content -- it must add value.

Adding value means that the person who accesses your content will gain something by doing so. And when selecting or writing content you should ask yourself the three following questions...

  1. Does it inform?
  2. Does it educate?
  3. Does it amuse?

If the content does one of those three things it adds value, so share it. And if it does all three of those things share it a lot... Picking and producing good content will make you an expert, it will encourage people to engage with you and it will help you influence them.

So to review if you want to promote political ideas or any idea on social media tailor your content to your network and followers. And produce and share content that adds value.

If you follow those guidelines you will be successful. And you may just encourage a few new people engage with your political ideas.

Speak soon.

Image via SparkSheet

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