A political candidate has three jobs:
1. Raise money.
2. Meet voters.
3. Secure support.
Everything else should be delegated, including social media.
I could explain why so many candidates ignore this 101-level advice, but I’ll save that for another time. For the purposes of this post, I’ll address the headline directly.
Reason 1: It sends the wrong message.
With a few notable exceptions, candidates who manage their own social media accounts are unwittingly screaming to the world that they are not viable. After all, it’s not very expensive to hire a competent social media vendor these days. Candidates who refuse to delegate this task are generally either broke, narcissistic, or a combination thereof. Those who don’t fit into these categories are receiving and following bad advice.
Reason 2: Time is limited.
Candidates who spend all day on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest, are wasting precious time that could be allocated far more effectively and efficiently. Three hours of fundraising calls, for example, might end up covering the costs associated with a full time social media vendor. Three additional hours might pay for a digital strategist who knows how to get that vendor’s posts and tweets seen by the right people.
Reason 3: Do you know what you don’t know?
Effective social media is a combination of art, science, and experience. I’ve never met a “social media expert” or “digital strategist” who has decided to run for office, so it’s unlikely that most political candidates have the slightest clue about what they’re doing online. Anyone can post or tweet “stuff.” That part may be time-consuming, but it’s certainly not difficult. There are many “tricks to the trade”, however...and I guarantee that hiring a professional to implement “best practices” will provide a handsome return on investment.
There are many other reasons why candidates should limit their time online. I can’t even begin to tell you about the “epic fail” I have witnessed over the years, but I’ll be kind and not name names. Suffice it to say that it’s best to eliminate unforced errors and focus on the most critical candidate-related tasks.
John LaRosa is Co-Founder/Partner at FourTier Strategies, LLC and an Aristotle Award winner for best GOP social media in the 2010 election cycle.