There was another in the long series of Republican debates this week. And like all other debates, regardless of the party, I do my best to watch and also follow along on Twitter. What was the most valuable lesson we learned this week? No, it’s not that there’s a candidate that believes the golden rule should be our foreign affair approach. And no, it wasn’t that the topics the public is most concerned about are still not being address. It was this: the candidates (and their consultants) clearly do NOT “get” Twitter (or other social media, truly.)
As you all know, you can follow along with a conversation by simply pulling up a search of a hashtag being used. This week it was #SCDebate. This is a GREAT way to participate in conferences, events, and other interesting discussions without actually being there in person. The first thing that happened on my little iPhone’s screen when I pulled up the search: two SPONSORED tweets from candidates.
Now some would say that this is in effect a great use of social media. It is not. It’s advertising. And advertising is NOT SOCIAL. They may have succeeded in a good advertising campaign/approach, but it’s really, really lame as a way to check off your social media box.
Now, look at the candidates. All of them. Look at the ratio of followers to following. NONE of them, in either party, in any office, do a good job of actually ENGAGING. They all talk AT you. They all clearly don’t really care; as proven through their lack of following you back so that you can actually engage with them in a two-way conversation. It’s sad, really. And it’s quite annoying at this juncture. Look at their messages. They are all quips from their press agents and campaign managers. Again, it’s not social. At all.
How could they effectively better use Twitter? Do what I did and more…
- Go back after the debates and actually interact with those that were following along – do that crafty search for the hashtag and you’ve got a wealth of information about what people are saying, what they really care about, and also a great deal of information about their demographics
- Furthering that point – why not actually use some of the awesome tools that are out there to help really dig into who your followers are? You’d be surprised how few of them fit into the nice little buckets that your ads are purchased on.
- On a daily basis, someone should be manning your Twitter (and other accounts) and actually INTERACTING WITH, read: not talking AT, your constituents AND naysayers. You’d be amazed at the quips and realities that people are truly facing and interested in that go beyond what the media reports on.
- And in general, you should at least have the marketing acumen to follow your followers back to at least PRETEND you care.