The world is full of terrible things that are disturbing and unsettling. If you are involved in politics, then more than a few things probably come to mind. Here are ten things that you might not know that can absolutely ruin your online campaign.

Your digital past can come back to haunt you

If you’ve ever had embarrassing photos, tweets, posts and other online information put online, there’s a good chance that it still exists in the digital realm. Even if you try to do an online cleanup, it’s hard to fully eliminate everything out there. Saved screen shots, old photos on a hard drive somewhere and even archived web pages can come back to get you!

Even if you are not online, others will talk about you

Just because you’ve sworn off online campaigning doesn’t mean that newspaper articles and other material does not exist about your online. When you become a political candidate, you become a public figure. If you are not putting information about yourself online, then someone else will.

Your domain name can be high-jacked pretty easily

Even if you are in the planning stages of running for office, you should reserve your domain name. If someone else registers the domain name, you may have a tough time getting it back. Often nothing is done with a high-jacked name, but making an announcement for a campaign website before you have registered the domain (or actually created the website) is just asking for trouble.

If you are in the planning stages of #runningforoffice, reserve your domain name. http://ow.ly/AAnu30gBkqm Click To Tweet

Your campaign branding can be high jacked, too

Political websites clearly designed to trick visitors into thinking they’re on a legitimate campaign website has been on the rise in the US. These spoof sites suggest the look and feel of legitimate sites. At first glance appear to be supporting the candidate, but in reality they are raising funds for the opposition. Donors beware!

pay yo playThere’s no guarantee that the web will pull in money

The web exists as a conduit to fundraise. Just because you slapped a donation button on your website and your social media profiles are all about the money does not guarantee that your campaign will raise a dime online. You need the right tools, messaging and real support to raise funds. Done properly, the effort put into online fundraising can pay off handsomely. If you do it poorly, well…

The web exists as a conduit to #fundraise, not a means unto itself. http://ow.ly/AAnu30gBkqm Click To Tweet

Social media accounts get hacked … regularly

Nearly three in 10 U.S. adults say one of their social-media accounts has been hacked, according to a 2013 survey.  With those kinds of numbers, you’ll want to keep an eye on your campaign’s social media profiles. If multiple people have access to your campaign accounts, the risk for unauthorized access is increased. Best practices include limiting the number of people with social media account access and to change account passwords frequently.

Social media accounts get mixed up … regularly

How many times have we heard about a politicians posting inappropriate material to their social media accounts? You may wonder why this happens so often. The reason is simple. In most cases, someone posted publicly what was to be a private message sent to an individual. In other cases, someone (usually a staffer) was logged into the campaign’s social media account instead of their own. Either way, this can lead to an embarrassing situation requiring deletions, apologies and negative media coverage.

Don't mix your political campaign and personal social media logins. Use different browsers for each. Click To Tweet

What you post is yours … until it isn’t

Your Facebook page and Twitter account is subject to the generosity of those services. Follow the rules of posting. Remember that these services can pretty much remove anything they want, at any time. If someone claims you are violating their Terms of Service, you could be in trouble. Losing a social media account late in the election cycle can be disastrous!

Just a few bad emails can cripple your email system

If a few people on your campaign email list don’t like your messages and report you as a spammer, it could ruin your chances for future messages to get through to anyone. Email service providers are quick to suspend accounts that are suspected of spamming. Best practices for email include using double-opt in for your email lists, watching your subject lines, removing dead addresses and limiting the number of links in your messages.

If recipients on your campaign email list report you as a spammer, it could ruin your future chances to reach anyone. Click To Tweet

Even when it’s over, it’s not over

If your campaign is over, consider hanging on to your website. If you let your domain name lapse, someone else can pick it up and you’ll probably have a tough time getting it back. You’ll also have no control over a new website that someone creates with your lapsed domain name.

Online Candidate is the trusted leader in website design and hosting for small and medium campaigns since 2004. Our system is easy to use and one flat fee. Clients also have access to OnlineCandidateResources.com, which has articles, tools and resources to help you avoid the nightmare scenarios of online campaigning!

By Shane Daley

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