Social media is undeniably the most efficient and powerful tool for political engagement and activism. In 2012, the Obama campaign used a powerful social media strategy to define itself. Today, the Obama administration utilizes social media as a policy campaign tool, a strategy to project White House news and events to the public, and a way to maintain a relationship with hundreds of thousands of supporters nationwide.
The important role played by social media in every aspect of political life is apparent from issues campaigns to elections, the public sector to the nonprofit sector. As you might expect, the role social media sites will play in professional success will also continue to grow: how can you take advantage of this to drive your own career success? Read on to learn how you can realize the awesome potential of social media as a tool for professional networking and career advancement.
The first step in leveraging social media to your advantage is to create a “follow”-worthy or “likeable” presence. Here are a few quick tips for social media savvy young pros:
Engage. Pose questions. Respond.
Live tweet. Talk about what’s going on at the press briefing, new media lunch or policy seminar you’re attending.
Include a relevant hashtag. Hashtags categorize your tweets, including you in the larger conversation and increasing your sphere of influence. Without a relevant hashtag, you might as well be tweeting at yourself!
Tweet often. In order to engage and be noticed you must be present!
Check your privacy settings. Twitter is a “social” medium and works best as a public one. If you make your tweets public and allow everyone to follow you, your influence will grow!
Retweet. ”RT” loyal followers and individuals you admire to make your voice heard and noticed. It’s even better to add a comment when you RT.
Build lists on Twitter. Lists allow you to organize your followers and those who you follow into categories. You can also subscribe to lists created by others. Lists help you keep track of who is saying what on a certain topic or at a specific organization. Use lists to engage efficiently and effectively.
Less is more. Don’t over complicate your posts by wading into the weeds on an issue. You’ll increase the likelihood friends and followers will actually read and respond to your posts if you simply initiate a conversation.
Interact. Twitter is about interaction. Retweet, “favorite,” and respond to attention-grabbing tweets. Your friends and followers will return the favor. And remember to leave 10-20 characters free for those who retweet to comment. In other words, create potential for others to weigh-in.
Link. Think a tweet is just 140 characters? Think again. Link to external content to share entire articles, videos, and photos. By doing so you add value to your tweets, and a lot more information! You can also use links to promote your own work or comment on articles you like or dislike.
Young professionals can, and should, leverage social media platforms to advance their careers and build relationships across the liberty movement. But proceed with caution: maintenance of a polished and smart social media presence is of utmost importance in a world where your wall posts are your reputation.
Greta Pisarczyk is the Development Assistant at the Cato Institute.
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