Social media is supposed to have a social element to it. With all the different ways to communicate with followers via social media, it can become very tempting to automate your posts through various social media tools such as Hootsuite and SocialOomph. While these tools can help save time and streamline your updates, this automation can sometimes work against you.
For example, say you have a carefully crafted press release that announces a large campaign event. A lot of time was spent writing the release so it would catch both the attention of supporters and the news media. Then you then configure your blog or update tool to automatically post the press release update to your followers when it goes live. In doing so, your auto-tweet and Facebook post may end up being little more than a link and a partial sentence without any additional personality or flair.
If you automate the bulk of your social media posts, then you are limiting your engagement with others and potentially making your campaign appear lazy. Simply putting out links and statements without taking the time to craft them carefully will eventually work against you. For example, talking about an issue on Twitter without bothering to use a hashtag could mean that people who are following the conversation will never even know about your post.
A hands-on approach is the best way to handle social media updates. Every social network is different, so don’t post the same exact title or headline across the board. For example, Twitter displays content like news headlines. In addition, you only have 140 characters to get someone’s attention. By manually tweeting, you can add additional #hashtags and @replies that would not work if you were automatically cross-posting your content.
Facebook allows much more flexibility in your updates. Not only can you can post status messages, but you can also include images or even embed video. Take the time to tweak your link description or add a comment, question or statement about the post.
By customizing your messages to each specific medium, and you will get better exposure and a better audience response.
If you are going to start using social networks, don’t wait! Building a successful network takes time and effort. Some campaigns today are now starting social networking efforts a year or more ahead of the elections.
As a final tip, one thing you SHOULD automate is your social media monitoring. If you do nothing else, set up Google alerts for you name, your opponents and phrases related to your campaign.