That’s right, I was referred to as an “industry great.” Me, the Social Media Ambassador of All the Things (and wearing none of the pants)! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
All joking aside, it’s actually pretty cool. The NY Meeting is either the new Monday Meeting or an offshoot of the Monday Meeting, which is a longstanding invite-only meeting of New York conservatives that is starting to incorporate social media more, and I was honored to get both the referral (thanks, Bethany) and the invite.
It also provides me with a good segue because now that the social media hustle is becoming less hobby and more job for me, and since “the GOP sucks at social media” posts are all the rage these days, I figured I’d throw in my two cents.
(Especially in light of Stu Stevens recent OpEd mentioning how social media wasn’t really the problem in 2012. All I’m going to say is that I’m generally a big tent type of cat – I don’t hate Jon Huntsman and believe in a party that has room for both SE Cupp and Rush Limbaugh – but on my short list of people whom I have no use for, the guy who ran Romney’s campaign is on there with Meghan McCain and David Frum)
Let me start off by saying that social media is not the magic bullet that will fix our problems. There is no magic bullet, and if there were, there wouldn’t be enough of them to hit all the targets we need to hit. We’ve done a lot of things wrong, and all of us, cable news pundits and talk show hosts, RINOs and truuuuue conservatives, grassroots and Establishment included, are to blame. There’s a lot to fix, and social media is just one of the things we do poorly that we should consider changing.
That said, there are basically three mistakes I see being made regularly when people develop their digital game.
The intern who is really good with computers: Because a lot of the tools and services we use (the basic ones) are free, people seem to think that if they get their intern or niece/nephew who is on Facebook all the time to set up a page that will automatically post to Twitter for them, their social media work is done until you give them a press release to post. What about using an image to get more people to share that graphic? Breaking it down to a few choice 140 character bits, which more people will read?
What about setting up feeds so you are constantly keep track of your opponents, the local news, and/or what your average constituents are talking about so you can jump on issues before anyone else does?
What about the hundreds of other tools not named Facebook and Twitter that can be just as important to your social media operation, knowing which ones work best for you and how to best use them?
Waiting until the last minute: I call this “build now, play later.” Are you an elected official who says he’s not thinking of running for higher office? Guess what, you’re a rotten liar too. You know, even if it’s in the back of your head, you’re thinking about it. So build your network that expands out of your district now, and decide later on when or if you’re going to play with it. That way when you’re ready to run – say in a ridiculously expensive state like New York – your base has already been expanded while your opponents are just building theirs. Is that something you can rely on your intern who is good with computers for? If you answer yes, you’re probably also telling people you aren’t thinking of running for higher office.
Too much media, not enough social: If you have a pulse, you most likely have interests outside of the office you either hold or are running for. Guess what, so do the people voting for you, and they can go to the NYTimesWaPoBuzzfeedNationalReview.com to read what your thoughts on the sequester are. Lighten up a little. Give your Oscar predictions. Live-tweet your favorite TV show. Share that Grumpy Cat picture you’re still LOLing about. If it seems frivolous, it is, and a lot of us Romney supporters criticized the Obama campaign for doing similar things instead of serious interviews. You’ll notice you aren’t reading “Not Another the Democrats are Bad at Social Media Blog” on ThinkProgress.com. Voters relate to things like that.
Most importantly, instead of lamenting on how the GOP sucks at this stuff and sharing another article you read about how the GOP sucks at this stuff, we just need to start changing the things that aren’t working and start doing the things that do work.
And paying me to do them for you.
Here’s your song of the week, dedicated to a friend of mine who, as you read this, is in the middle of kicking the state bar exam’s ass.