This post is part of our Elected Leader FAQ guidance for newly elected leaders.
Social media is an important tool that allows elected officials to have more direct interaction with their constituents and stakeholders. However, there are so many different social media platforms that it can be challenging to know the best practices for each one. In this post, we will provide the best practices for five of the major social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok—as well as provide links to other tools that can help with establishing your social media presence. Keep in mind that you do not need to have all of these platforms, but if you do then you should follow the best practices.
Facebook is a comprehensive platform that allows you to post pictures, add videos, send detailed mass messages, publicly interact on Walls, and more. People can “like” you to follow your newsfeed content, share it with their friends, and see who else “likes” you. Facebook allows longer content in each post—even though shorter is still better. There is also an app called Facebook Mentions that allows you to track what people are saying about you on the platform. Some basic best practices are:
- Create a professional page for yourself - it should be separate from your personal page
- Update the page at least once a day
- Keep the updates brief and use visuals
- Comment and like other posts
- Link to articles where you are referenced and inform your thinking
Twitter excels in short message bursts, event updates, blog post pushes, and linking to informative articles. The platform allows you to instantly send a succinct message to thousands of followers (and reporters) while simultaneously interacting with other people in a more personalized manner. You can also join in on a conversation with people who are not following you by including a hashtagged word, phrase or acronym (like #SOTU for State of the Union speech) within your tweet. Of note, be cautious about making up hashtags because it could link to something inappropriate, which creates a mess. Some best practices are:
- Follow current conversations and what’s trending
- Understand and utilize hashtags
- Use photos and thumbnails to draw attention to your posts
- Repost and retweet often
- Be consistent with your posts
- Thank people for following you
- Use polls to get feedback from your constituents
LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social media platforms and—even though it’s mainly seen as a professional network—it offers some interesting tools that the other platforms lack. For example, discussion groups, blog posts, and portfolio creation are a lot more developed than the others. Some best practices are:
- Create a comprehensive LinkedIn page and fill out every section where possible
- Personalize your connection requests
- Don’t spam people with connection requests
- Post articles and photos that align with your work and the work of targeted influencers
- Join and then utilize “Groups” that are relevant to the work you’re doing
Instagram is one of the most popular mobile photo and video sharing platforms. It’s an easy, beautiful, fast, and fun way to share videos about what you’re working on or photos with your constituents. For example, some politicians have utilized the live streaming component on Instagram to connect on a more personal level—rather than talk at voters, live videos encourage conversation. Some best practices are:
- Maintain a consistent feed of high-quality visuals
- Pay attention to what your audience wants
- Perfect your time by looking at Instagram algorithms
- Tell visual stories
- Make data-driven decisions by tracking comments and measuring audience engagement
- Use hashtags to boost content delivery
With over 2 billion downloads, TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms. TikTok is a solely video-based platform that provides users with unique editing features, including filters, music, transitions, special animations, graphics, and more. TikTok was once thought to be something only used by Gen-Z, but it’s grown to include users of all ages and types. Newspapers (like the Washington Post) have started to use TikTok to get news stories to younger viewers and political candidates and elected officials have started to use TikTok to get their message out to younger voters. Some best practices are:
- Your account should feel like you’re talking to your peers, and not like you’re talking to followers. TikTok is about honest storytelling
- Keep the viewers’ experience top of mind when creating content
- Amplify your video by using relevant hashtags
- TikTok is built for sound, so always think “sound on” when creating content
Social Media Management Utilities
There are a series of tools that can help you with creating a calendar for posts, automate posts, measure the success of posts, identify the best time to post, and analyze the reach and engagement of posts.
- Look at your social media strategy and see if you’re utilizing the best practices. Make changes as needed.
- Make a list of the top social media leaders to follow, so that you can make changes to your social media strategy as trends evolve.
Explore how to set yourself up for success as an elected leader.
- Best Practices: Utilizing Social Media to Increase Your Impact and Further Your Theory of Change
- 10 Best Practices to Make Sure You’re Getting the Most Out of Your Social Media
- 10 Instagram Best Practices to Build Your Audience
- Communicating in Politically-Charged Times
- TikTok Best Practices
Join an Upcoming Event
LEE members are fighting around the country for systemic change. Join a local event or workshop, or get involved with your local LEE organizing alliance. Log in to your member profile to view upcoming programs.