News of “Bronco Dave’s decision to not run in the next round of civic elections”:http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/After+nine+years+helm+Mayor+Dave+Bronconnier+decides+again/2605297/story.html has sent a bit of a political shockwave through the circles of political pundits and social media networks in our fair city.
While this buzz grows, plans will be formed and serious candidates will start to come out of the woodwork. So as they do, they will inevitably turn to the growing local Social Media communities to get their voice heard. So in anticipation of that, your friendly friends at Armadillo have some *free advice on how to best get your message heard and better yet, not have it backfire*.
Join Twitter And Learn The Vocabulary
First and foremost, join “Twitter”:http://www.twitter.com and set-up a clear and interactive “Facebook page”:http://www.facebook.com. We have an “intro on Twitter for the Calgary Market”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/twitter-for-the-calgary-market that has some nice advice.
Second, covet and understand the hashtags of Twitter. The “yyc hash tag”:http://twitter.com/#search?q=yyc has grown into an unstoppable beast that many Calgarians use for a variety of information. While this aspect of the Twitter lexicon is invaluable be sure you don’t abuse it, as it can quickly turn on you. Using the _yyc tag_ is a great way to reach many Calgairans, but if you start overloading the stream of information, it may tarnish your image. *So don’t SPAM! Be engaging in the community*.
Even better start using the “yyccc hash tag”:http://twitter.com/#search?q=yyccc (yyc City Council). Many users who follow city council have adopted it and it would be best to broadcast your message through that channel rather than through _yyc_. People who are interested and invested in City Council spend much of their time following this hash tag. *They are the people you want to reach*.
Casual voters also follow it too, so seeing an involved presence in that area of the Calgary Twitter community will be a good first step.
Interact, Don’t Broadcast
It might seem simple, but you need to interact with the online communities in the City. *Don’t just broadcast your message, as it may quickly comeback to haunt you*.
Facebook and Twitter are engaging tools; in the months leading up to October people will have many questions and concerns. They will be looking for your ideas. You will need to be able to answer them through these networks. Social networks, especially Twitter, have levelled the communications playing field for everyone. Citizens are now able to directly and publicly connect with your campaign. There could be a discussion brewing about your platform that you might not even know about, so it’s best to get involved and get involved early.
Know Your Audience
Nobody likes to admit this, but there is a unwritten hierarchy within these social media circles that you may not get a chance to learn about before you dive in. Treat all responders with respect and try not to air your dirty grievances in public. You may involuntarily aggravate a local political maven, who has more clout and influence within the local community than you think. So be careful in how you engage on these sites. *Treat everyone with respect and dignity*.
Don’t Use Foursquare
Although, it would be incredibly cheeky and witty, declaring yourself Mayor of City hall on “Foursquare”:http://www.foursquare.com before November rolls around, is probably going to look bad on you.
Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to scare you off of using these Networks. In all honestly, this is an exciting time for municipal politics and these growing social media networks have the power to make these elections the most interactive and exciting elections we’ve seen in a long time. We just want to give you some free advice, as we’ve seen “companies miss opportunities”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/a-tale-of-two-bars before and we’d hate to see a great candidate get sandbagged by a small slip up.
So to all those would be city councilors and mayors, best of luck in October 2010.