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Social Media LandscapeOver the past few years social media has become a major influencer of public opinion. More people are using social media as a way to find news and information about topics that interest them. This increased use of social media tools has created a new way for politicians to reach their constituents and address important issues.

Many politicians have jumped on the band wagon of social media users after realizing the benefits.social networking Social media can help politicians better understand, respond to and attract attention of their target audience.

When politicians choose to start a social media campaign, they should be prepared to handle the frequent updates that will keep subscribers happy. Worse than not using social media would be creating a social media site but failing to update the site with current information.

When creating a social media campaign there are four major social media sites that should be targeted first.

Blogs

A blog is an online diary that includes articles, writings, photos and Web links. Blogs can be easily updated with current information and news. Blogs are a great campaign tool because they are easy to follow and give readers updates about campaign progress.

Twitter

Twitter is great for short messages, event updates, blog post pushes and breaking news.  It allows a campaign to instantly send a message to followers.

Facebook

Facebook is a social networking site that allows users to communicate with friends and coworkers. Users can post pictures, add videos, send mass messages and interact. Facebook can also be used as a  tool to calculate the number of people following a campaign.

Flickr

Flickr is an online photo management and sharing application. With over 30 million monthly visitors this is a great way to share photos of campaigns and events.

Social media sites allow politicians to connect with their followers and organize their campaign. For best results, once the four major social media sites are created they should be closely monitored and updated frequently. Some politicians have a staff member that monitors all social media sites along with updating and maintaining the politician’s sites.

social networking communitySocial media sites should complement each other when used as part of a campaign. The messages on each site should be consistent with all other sites used as part of the campaign.

Last year’s presidential election is an example of one of the most successful political campaigns that used social media techniques. Barack Obama used a completely integrated campaign of TV, radio, Web and social media. The reason why the campaign was successful is because these tools were used together. No one tool can create a successful campaign by itself.

Social media alone cannot win an election and the outcome ultimately comes down to the candidate’s appeal and the campaign’s resources.

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