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Effective use of social media

September 22, 2010

While reflecting on my campaign yesterday during crate time, I happened to catch Ottawa morning on CBC Radio 1. Luckily for me, they were discussing the role of social media in this year’s election. Talk about a subject near and dear to this pug’s heart. Given the amount of crate time that I have, my ability to get out and shake paws and lick babies is somewhat limited. I try to make up for this by using social media tools. This morning’s blog will expand on some of the points made yesterday and offer some kibble for thought on using social media.

First up on today’s agenda, the decision to use social media tools or not.  This decision is a poker based decision. You are either all in or you should fold and walk away from the table. Don’t believe me? What is the first word in social media? SOCIAL! Creating an account and not using it is in poor form and sends a signal that this might be where all the cool cats hang out, but you aren’t interested in the conversation, and what other users have to say. Think of social media like a cocktail party – you can show up or not, but if you do show up, then you better be ready to schmooze with the other guests right?

Second point of failure – one way communication.  Big kudos to Ian Capstick for highlighting this yesterday! If you generate content through blogging, your website, a YouTube video, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc. and do not interact, follow-up and/or acknowledge the feedback, then you need to fold your hand and walk away from the table. The opportunity cost of one way communication using social media is twofold. On the one hand, the individual who is trying to communicate with you may now think that you are playing the douche card by not taking the time to answer him/her, when they took the time to approach you. On the other hand, not answering that person has a larger impact because that conversation is not isolated from other users. Anyone following the candidates and/or the hashtags for the municipal election can detect that you aren’t chatting it up. Would you knock on someone’s door and speak in sound bytes from your platform while ignoring any specific questions, concerns, or feedback?

The final bone of contention this pug has with mayoral candidates and their use of social media is the missed opportunities. Want to make up for your one sided, douchey bahaviour on Twitter? Have a Twitter FAQ session where any individual can ask a question. Given the recent reaction to local political debates, I would wager that the first candidate to genuinely commit to this would see a respectable return on the time invested.  Not ready for that level of commitment? Then start small. Search for the #iwantamayorwho hashtag on Twitter and save it. Now, read it and jump in on the conversation already. Direct replies to those who are participating in this discussion is a no brainer. Responding to the larger audience should have been done 5 minutes after the hashtag started.

Finally, a word of caution moreso than anything else, bring your A game to social media. Misleading math, inconsistent commentary and flip flopping will be picked off, cross referenced and communicated back to the group at speeds that individual candidates and their respective campaign teams cannot compete with. Keep it genuine, keep it clean and keep it up.

How do you feel about your mayor’s ability to Twitter and engage using social media? I am being beckoned to my crate for the day, but I have wifi access, so leave a comment, Tweet me, email me or stop me on my daily walks. This pug would love to chat!

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