5 Twitter Tips for Winning Political Candidates

No, acting like Donald Trump isn't one of them

As a candidate for elected office you probably already have your campaign’s Facebook Page up and running. But are you also on Twitter? And if so, are you using Twitter right?

Twitter for Political Campaigns

The last few years I’ve considered Facebook mandatory for candidates and Twitter optional.

My views on Twitter are changing and even I’m using it more.

Why?

First, Facebook’s recently announced changes are already wreaking havoc on reaching people through a Page.

Second, Twitter hasn’t faded as some (included me) expected. In fact Twitter just had it’s first profitable quarter as a publicly traded company.

Twitter clearly has staying power and Facebook is potentially becoming less effective for connecting with people.

That alone is reason enough for me to give Twitter a second look — and to encourage your campaign to be active on Twitter too.

But if you’re going to be active on Twitter, you also need to be effective on the platform.

Here’s three tips I have for you as political candidate to get the most impact from using Twitter

1. Re-Use Your Top Tweets

Tweets that worked well in the past will likely perform well in the future.

I’ve seen that with this site, as the top campaign advice articles I’ve shared do quite well on Twitter.

Now I’m not saying to simply re-tweet your previous well-performing tweets.

Yes you can do that, but I save retweeting for other people’s content.

You need to “re-use” your top tweets.

But how do you know which of your tweets are at the top?

All you have to do is go to  Twitter Analytics. You will probably have to turn this feature on.

Once you’ve got that running Twitter will provide you with a ton of information.

Here’s a look at the dashboard for The Campaign School’s Twitter account.

The tweets that generated the most engagement you should definitely share again as their own new tweets.

Here’s our top tweets from the winter months.

Not all top tweets as you can see would be good to re-use.

Our top tweet about the Las Vegas massacre was relevant at the time, but does not need to be shared every week.

Once was enough and appropriate.

Yet all of the other tweets were good for reusing, and they have shown up multiple times in our Twitter stream.

2. Tweet When People are on Twitter

This should sound like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said more than you’d think:

A tweet does not have a long existence in the Twitter stream.

If you’re on Twitter already, you know you miss most of what is tweeted by the accounts you follow.

That’s why you need to play the percentages and tweet when the greatest number of your Twitter followers tend to be on the platform.

How do you find this out?  Well, sadly it’s not in Twitter Analytics.

It is however available using a tool called FollowerWonk.

FollowerWonk is by Moz and you can use a free version to analyze your account.

You specifically want to analyze the people who are following your account.

Once you do that look as to when the majority are most active on Twitter.

Here’s what the results for when The Campaign School’s Twitter followers are active.

I’m glad I did this as I wrote this article, as I need to adjust my Twitter sharing schedule.

3. Retweet and Reply Other Users

Surprise, social media is actually supposed to be social.

Twitter shouldn’t be used as a megaphone. It should be used as a tool for conversation.

You should retweet tweets from others when you see something you like or agree with.

You can retweet or quote the tweet you’re sharing to your followers

Both types of retweets have their places.

Adding your two-cents in a quoted retweet is often a good idea, but not necessary.

You don’t want to come off as a know-it-all. Voters don’t like that.

You should also reply to the tweets of others and engage them.

This will increase your visibility and help you build your own Twitter following.

And your replies and retweets don’t always need to be about politics or your election.

It’s okay to talk sports, movies, life, what not.

I hereby grand you permission to be social on social media.

You might want to put in your profile that “retweets do not constitute and endorsement or an agreement.”

Most people know that, but in politics people love to take things out of context, so protect your reputation.

4. Reply to Mentions

When someone mentions your Twitter account name in a tweet, check it out.

They are doing it for a reason.

They could be asking you a question, sharing information with you, or attacking you.

If they have a question for you, you should reply to them as quickly as you can.

If they are sharing information, you should check it out and see what you think.

If it’s good and doesn’t harm your campaign, feel free to retweet it.

Also be sure to thank the Twitter user who mentioned you for sharing it with you.

Now if it’s an attack on you, figure out if you have to reply.

If you don’t then ignore them. That’s best for you and your campaign.

It will keep you on message and conserve your time for those who might vote for you.

Plus, when a critic is ignored it drives them crazy.

I’ve always enjoyed driving my haters crazy. You will too.

But if you do need to respond to an attack please do so in a mature and factual way.

Don’t go all Donald Trump on them.

Which brings us to the fifth point.

5. Don’t Be a Jerk on Twitter

There’s only one Donald Trump and he’s not you.

While Trump’s overall messaging techniques will probably help your campaign, you’re safer not repeating his Twitter rants.

How do I know? Easy.

I can’t name any other successful American politician who gets away with what he does on Twitter.

Remember, you are what you Tweet, so don’t be a jerk on social media.

Besides, he might attack you for trying to out Trump him.

Ask “Lil’ Marco Rubio” how that worked out in the Republican primaries.

Candidate Take-Aways

If you’re serious about getting the most out of Twitter for your campaign, follow these guidelines.

Re-use your most popular tweets. Tweet when most of your followers are active on the platform.

Retweet and reply to other Twitter users. Respond when someone mentions you in a Tweet.

And never ever ever tweet like you’re Donald Trump. It just won’t work for you.

Besides, he might attack you for trying to out Trump you.  Ask “Lil’ Marco Rubio” how that worked out for him.