As winter ends and spring approaches, now is a good time to do a review of your campaign social media accounts. Here are some tips to get your new or existing social media profiles in shape for election season.

These tips apply to both your campaign and personal accounts.

Update your profile information

cleanup social mediaWhen was the last time you updated your social media profile? Many times profiles and bios are filled in when an account is created and then forgotten. Is all the information up to date? Are all the relevant fields completely filled in, including a link to your campaign website?

You may be surprised at the amount of information that is incomplete or out-of-date.

Check your profile images

Others get their first impression of your through your profile (or avatar) image. Make sure that it is up to date and professional. If you are using a head shot for person profiles, make sure the image looks professional. Use proper lighting and positioning. (You don’t want it to look like a mug shot.) Don’t crop your picture from a group photo use a low-res image. Consider hiring a professional photographer.

For your campaign, your avatar should be consistent. It could be your head shot or your campaign logo.

Start using photos and video more

Pictures and video get attention. Adding photos to your Facebook and Twitter posts can help them get noticed and be seen by more people. You’re more likely to have a post shared if it includes an image. While it may take a little work to add images, it’s worth the effort.

Just make sure that you own or have properly licensed any images or video that you use!

Use a scheduling tool for your posts

While posting to social media manually provides the most control, consider adding a scheduling tool to help. Services such as Buffer and Hootsuite enable you to write one post and share it across multiple services. You can also schedule posts for specific times. This makes it convenient to post a series of event reminders and get out the vote notices ahead of time.

Ditch the dead weight

If you don’t plan to update a particular social media account, it’s better to never start it than to start one and let it become neglected. If you have an account that you have not updated in a while, now is the time to either get back in the game or shut the account down.

The problem with abandoned profiles is that people who come across abandoned accounts may just assume the campaign is over – or follow the account and never get follow-up posts.

If you decided to shut down any accounts, make sure you remove any links to the accounts from your website or other social media profiles.

Stay Positive!

You need a thick skin to be online. You are almost certain to encounter comments disparaging you and your campaign on posts, tweets and online articles.

The most natural instinct is to strike back. In the end, though, it’s better to take the high road and either ignore the negative or reply positively toward it. Other readers will judge you more on how you react, rather than what the instigator’s posts.

In the end, you have much more to lose than the trolls and haters who are just trying to goad you into a dialogue.

For more tips and ideas for political online campaigning, check out our ebook Running for Office as an Online Candidate.

Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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