The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media
This training reviews the main do’s and don’ts of using social media with congressional offices so you can become more effective at using social media to connect more directly with your lawmakers.
Social media’s influence is growing every year. Congressional offices say they are using Social Media more and more and appreciate how it lets them connect more directly with their constituents. However, there are some pitfalls to using social media. Review the do’s and don’ts to see how you can become more effective at using social media.
Do’s of Social Media
- Be Nice! The tendency towards nastiness online can be a real turnoff or lead people to think you are a crank. Always be respectful, even when you are being clear and firm with your opinions.
- Mention your location in your post or tweet – On Twitter, consider adding your congressional district into the tweet as a two letter state abbreviation and a district number (e.g., NY19). On Facebook, consider putting your district, city, etc. in your post (e.g., As a voter in TX23… or As a mother of two in Duluth…). Make it easy for them to see that you are a constituent.
- Identify with your group – That could mean identifying yourself as a CCL volunteer or as part of a civic organization, union, etc. or even as part of a certain demographic (e.g., as someone who works in the oil industry…).
- Comment on Facebook posts – Rather than posting on your Facebook page about an issue, comment on something your Member of Congress has posted on their Facebook page. To get notified of their Facebook Posts, go to their Page and Like the Page. Then hover over the Like button and a menu drops down, click the pencil next to Notifications and choose All Posts. You will now get notified for each post (change notification settings here)
- Respond to Tweets – On Twitter, respond to tweets that have come from your MOC’s official twitter feed. They monitor these responses more closely than just mentioning them in a tweet (which is also good).
- Respond quickly – MOCs use social media to gauge constituent reaction. Anything older than 24 hours can be old news to them.
- Post comments from multiple people – If you can get multiple people to comment or respond on an issue, that makes a difference. Even as few as 5-10 comments can be influential on some issues.
- Post appreciations – MOCs like being appreciated just like everyone else. If you post something that they want to share with their list, that is a big win!
- Promote an LTE or Op-ed – Use social media to bring it to their attention, tweeting a link to them or posting on their Facebook page with the link.
- Say you support or oppose a specific issue.
- Reference specific legislation, f applicable.
- Relate to yourself personally – It’s hard to tell a story on Twitter, but you can on Facebook.
- Educate with information –Share climate impacts that your state or district faces.
Don’ts of Social Media
- Don’t post too often to your member of Congress – One to five times a month is a reasonable amount.
- Don’t be nasty or crazy.
- Don’t repeat yourself or send the same content in multiple channels. If you sent them an email, you can mention that on Twitter but do not repeat it.