Note: If you are an elected politician running for re-election, please check with officials in your jurisdiction to confirm how they expect you to use social media.
Mike Farwell, in a column in the Kitchener Post, gives municipal election candidates excellent advice.
Providing little glimpses into the “working life” of a politician and sharing personality traits can become a powerful connection to voters.
He’s also 100% right when we says:
Candidates and elected officials alike need to embrace social media as another way of making themselves accessible to constituents and potential voters.
Social media is an excellent way for voters to connect with candidates, get to know them and determine if they want to vote for them. Social media can help to engage more voters and could help increase voter turnout.
Warns multiple accounts can create distance with voters
Farwell is concerned though about a trend for candidate’s to have multiple accounts on a social media platform.
When I asked why I was being asked to follow a different Twitter feed or “like” a new Facebook page, I was told that the “election page” was much more focused on politics and the candidate didn’t want to inundate friends with political messaging.
This tells me that many people still simply don’t get it.
I disagreed since I see that decision being more nuanced and dependent on how those accounts are used.
Should a candidate have multiple Twitter accounts?
If a candidate is new to Twitter or has an account but is not frequently on Twitter, having a single account and using it actively is best. If a candidate is not going to be active on Twitter, don’t even get an account.
If a candidate has an account where they frequently connect with the vibrant online knitting community, they probably should get a second Twitter account. But only IF they will have a high level of activity, be social and share who they are as a person including their love of knitting.
If a candidate has an active account where they are talking about how to make their community better, they should keep using it rather than trying to develop a new presence and a new set of relationships.
At the same time, if the scope of the race is large enough to have a campaign team for example to become mayor. Having a separate campaign account is likely appropriate to recruit volunteers, promote events and other content that is beyond the candidate’s ability to share as they are out meeting voters at the door or in meetings.
This same advice applies to anyone who wonders if one Twitter account is enough?