Brief Social Media Strategy Suggestions For A Bulgarian Political Party

Being a political party who is willing to engage on social media with potential voters and supporters shouldn’t be difficult to take care of. At least not in the case when that party is being truthful.

The other day, I spotted a status update in my Twitter timeline of a party I follow notifying everyone they have uploaded 4 new photos on their Facebook page and urging us to check them out. Say what?!?!

The Twitter flock is a much different kind when you compare it to the Facebook one. Twitter is frank, straight and concise. Well, it will be rather difficult not to be when you have only 140 characters to express yourself, wouldn’t?

When seeing the status, I reacted immediately and suggested to the political party to change their strategy.  Not every tweep is a facebooker, either. I received a reply trying to explain that they don’t have the financial resources their biggest political rivals have… Fair enough! If this political party thinks they’d need more money to spend on social media then they are doing now (my presumption is a tiny social media team and no media buy), I will present a small strategy and present it to them their competition for free. The only catch is that they need to read English or know how to use Google Translate…

What’s our main goal?

In the next 3 weeks, before the parliamentary elections, voters attract as many as possible voters by answering questions, clarifying platform and promises, and introducing candidates.

Which platform should we use?

Campaign Engagement Center – your website. All your efforts should be based on getting more people to visit and spending quality time reading your content and being impressed with its quality. Your website should be able to and offer the ability to embed third-party content depositary types.

Content Depositary Platforms – video at YouTube, pictures on Flickr and documents on SlideShare. This is where you need to upload the different media formats and streamline your uploads automatically or share them manually on the engagement platforms.

Engagement Platforms – Twitter, Facebook and any other identified forum in Bulgaria that features voters that present interest to you. Make sure you respect the tone, limitations and established a culture of any of these networks. Also, don’t hook accounts! Especially not Facebook and Twitter and offering the same content on both platforms, or asking tweeps to go to FB to look at photos… As someone on Twitter pointed out correctly, this is kind of “I did number two on my Facebook wall, and now I am waiting to see if my tweeps will catch the smell as well” strategy.

Publishing, Monitoring & Conversation PlatformHootsuite, Tweetdeck or the likes. With these platforms (which are free by the way) one can easily monitor and engage in conversation with the potential voter.   They are easy to use, and it takes maximum 20-30 minutes to set up to the fullest.

Analytics – Google Analytics for your website, Hootsuite for Twitter and Facebook and Buffer. app. Monitor them every couple of hours.

Seven Simple Rules Of Engagement:

  1. Be truthful, sincere and real.
  2. Answer every single question. If you do not know the answer, call a candidate representing your political party and get it.
  3. Share only valuable information.
  4. Stay away from attempts to defame political rivals, especially when you don’t have a proof.
  5. Be consistent. Do not leave the impression that you don’t know what you are talking about or changing your opinion often. (This goes to point 1, too)
  6. Don’t feed the trolls! Meaning that there are haters that hate pretty much everything (including themselves). Don’t engage with them under any circumstances.
  7. Since Twitter has a 140 characters publishing limitation, have a ready platform pitch within that amount of characters.

My Two Cents:

  1. Get one professional to manage a team of volunteers. Or in the case when you can afford it, get all of them needed professionals.
  2. Assign one person to every channel and make sure that everyone is working within five paces from each other. Interaction is important here.
  3. Feed information from local candidate appearances, speeches and interviews.
  4. Get a good copywriter for the text content pieces.
  5. All of the above have to be either true and fabulous professionals or true believers. But moreover, they should have brain cells that work in the right direction.
  6. Don’t expect miracles. Remember that social media is a long run in most of the cases. Don’t think that you will get where you want to be in no time. Start early.

I can write probably 1000 more words on this topic, but I won’t. Also, for now, I can only add a presentation I did back in university on Obama’s first election online strategy:

And in case you need more, there is a Contact page on this blog. Use it!

Or should you be a reader that wants to add something, do that in the comment section? The blog post can always be updated and credit given to the minds with great ideas.

P.S. Feel free to translate in your local language and post it on your blog. I only ask for attribution and link back to my original post. 😉

Updates made are in red.

Copyright © 2013 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.

4 Comments

  1. MihailD April 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Agreed. Twitter is an open space to make relationships and Facebook has made many people lazy because they turn to: make post, get likes, enjoy, make next post. Twitter is much more about grabbing opportunities, seeking out people and communities and engaging with them on their terms. You cannot go to a #foodie community and say: ”Hey I’m super awesome, you should totally listen to how I talk about technology” and expect anything good to come out of that.

    1. Borislav Kiprin April 19, 2013 at 9:44 am

      @twitter-271908985:disqus your example with the foodie on technology is great and right on spot. 🙂
      To continue… I am not sure whether we should be talking only about Twitter and Facebook. There are many other social platform where political parties should focus on explaining their platforms, plans and actions. My post was triggered by the actions of a particular party and a discussion we had on Twitter with a couple friends.
      There is so much to social media strategy than the stated above, but given the timing and level of knowledge, it is a good start.

      1. MihailD April 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

        Parties should consider Social Media as a relationship platform rather than a campaign platform. Leaving the fact that many parties do their ”campaigns” by posting ugly MS Paint collages in Facebook (hurts my brain) it is apparent that many don’t understand that with is a channel for constant feedback and discussion. There are some politicians who now use Twitter as intended and other can learn from them if they were just to listen and survey their environment a bit.

        1. Borislav Kiprin April 19, 2013 at 9:58 am

          So very true. But sharing the platform and then engaging is a must. Especially given the current trend of mainly accusing other parties or bragging with meeting the public… 😉
          Hopefully, the politicians will stop playing catch with the voters and actually seek discussion on social media, feedback and possible solutions to real life problems.