Desktop version

Home arrow Communication

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Candidate Supporters Use of Social Media

Gaining supporters and voters is the goal of any electoral campaign. Supporters can use social media warfare tactics to help grow supporter bases by recruiting and indoctrinating friends, relatives, coworkers, or neighbors into supporting a candidate.

Most supporters use Facebook, and all campaigns are compelled to have some sort of Facebook presence. Facebook, as are other social media tools, is intended to be part of a larger integrated campaign communications strategy. Careful consideration should always be given to the nature of Facebook posts and activities. Posts that are likely to draw widespread or media attention or address a controversial topic should be cleared through media control processes of campaign management. Campaign social media warfare managers should establish best practices for using the Facebook page, among them

  • ? Keeping content short and simple with posts of 250 characters or less to allow the post to be viewed in its entirety in a news feed and include a link to the campaign website
  • ? Keeping length of comments 1000 characters or less
  • ? Setting a schedule and determining frequency of posts
  • ? Cross-promoting the Facebook page on other campaign social media channels and vice versa
  • ? Posting links to the Facebook page on the campaign website
  • ? Facebook can be used to engage supporters in two-way interaction and communication but that process must be managed and staffed
  • ? Asking supporters to do something within a post or content such as Share, Like, or Comment [4]

Evaluation is an integral component managing all social media activities, and social media warfare staff should review Facebook Insights for page-specific metrics. Staff should also monitor increases in traffic to the campaign website, as well as mentions outside of Facebook, on blogs, websites, or articles.

Supporters should have as much guidance in their use of social media warfare tactics as possible. There should be a stated social media philosophy published by the campaign and posted on the campaign’s website and social media pages. At a minimum, guidance should state that the campaign does not discriminate against any views, but does monitor social media content on all official social media sites and reserves the right to remove, without warning, any comments that contain abusive, vulgar, offensive, threatening, or harassing language, personal attacks of any kind, unsupported accusations, defamatory language, or offensive terms that target specific individuals or groups. In addition, a declaration should be made that campaign staff will remove spam and comments that are clearly off topic or contain gratuitous links to websites that are not relevant to discussions; and that campaign staff will ban from campaign social media platforms, users who repeatedly violate the comment or posting policies.

Supporters should be encouraged to use social media warfare tactics to aid the campaign but guidance will help to keep supporters focused and prevent any serious blunders in posting. One of the proprietary websites listed earlier provides very helpful information that can be used to guide supporters’ use of social media. Netiquette is a very popular website that provides the rules of good behavior online.

Supporters should be discouraged from posting personal attacks against individuals and abusive, profane, or vulgar language, including offensive language targeting specific ethnic or racial groups. In addition, supporters should also be encouraged to avoid sexual content, overly graphic, disturbing, obscene, or offensive material in their supporting posts.

Supporters should also be repeatedly cautioned about posting personally identifiable information (PII), which is information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, either alone or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual. PII may include, but is not limited to, an individual’s name, social security number, physical address, e-mail address, Internet protocol (IP) address, phone number, or birth date [5]. Supporters should also be warned that non-PII can become PII whenever additional information is made publicly available or when combined with other available information. This could be used to identify an individual and determine their location. This information potentially poses a security threat to the supporter posting the information as well as a threat to the reputation of the campaign.

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics