Politicians have recently turned to social media as a new form of political communication. It gives them a space to connect with citizens, promote their political platforms, and update their supporters. However, not all social media is created equal, and Twitter seems to be the preferred of many a political beast. I take a look at why Twitter is the best social network for politicians below the jump.
Twitter Increases Politicians’ Exposure
Having an account on Twitter means you’ll be seen. Politicians can link their Twitter account to their official website and send it out with their communications, and they’ll quickly start to see their follower numbers grow.
Of course, politicians can advertise any of their social media presences, but I would argue that Twitter is the best for exposure. It doesn’t require any approval process to allow people to connect to the politicians they are interested in following, and it is a high-profile network that is well-known around the world. It also raises the profile of politicians with a Twitter account, simply because of its cache as a youthful, still trendy communication tool – an image that many politicians want to embrace.
Twitter Enables Engagement
The two-way engagement that is possible on Twitter is perfect for politicians. @mentions, retweets, replies and hashtags mean that political Twitter accounts can enter into two (or more)-way conversations with regular citizens on the network.
Although it takes work, politicians can stay on top of who’s talking about them, who’s talking to them and who’s sharing their thoughts on Twitter. They can respond to inquiries and concerns, showing the public that they really do care about what the electorate wants.
Twitter Can Be Used To Broadcast
On the other end of the spectrum, Twitter can also be used as a one-way broadcasting tool. While many extol the virtues of its two-way communication, Twitter does offer a means to simply update followers without really engaging with them. This is useful for politicians who want to use the service to post their speaking tour dates, release poll results, or send messages of thanks to their followers.
Ideally, politicians should use Twitter to both engage their audience and to broadcast important political milestones.
Politicians Can Listen on Twitter
Being on Twitter might gain exposure for a politician, but it can also give them insight into what people are talking about. Following hashtag conversations and trending topics is a great way to get the pulse of the nation when it comes to topics of interest.
Politicians can also search for their username or political terms, such as “election” or “health care” to see what the Twitter-verse is saying. And, if they have a social media-savvy team around them, they can do sentiment analysis and get statistical insight into the conversation.
Twitter Requires Only Short Messages
And finally, Twitter is the best social network for politicians because tweets are short. 140-characters doesn’t take that long to compose, which is a boon for a politician with a busy schedule.
This means they can gain exposure, engage with their followers, broadcast their activities, and listen in on conversations without having to take too much time out of their day to do it.