Last summer, this Albany marketing firm reported on how improper handling of social media sunk then New York State Congressman Anthony Weiner and ultimately lead to his shamed resignation. Â The recap can be read here. Â Could his social media crisisÂ have been avoided? With elections on the horizon, how are politicians handling social media now?
The answer: VERY CAREFULLY!
Take Mayoral candidates in New York City for example. Â 2013 is a big year for the NYC mayoral race as its the first incumbent-free mayoral election in 12 years (Bye Bye Bloomberg!). Â As a result, candidates are tapping social media in new and aggressive ways. Â No one wants to repeat the mistakes of Weiner, at the time a City Hall hopeful, as they campaign. Â ”Whatever you put out there is out there forever, even if you delete it, scrub itâ€”there’s no way to pull that back,” said Bryan Merica, a California political consultant who advises candidates on social media, to the Wall Street Journal.
The candidates already in public office have another hurdle to overcome: the concept of dual Twitter/Facebook account. Â Stringent campaign finance laws legally required those in public office to keep their political work separate from government; this means they can’t campaign on social media affiliated with their day jobs. Â This duality leaves a lot of room for potential disasters. Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer started a Twitter account for his campaign completely separate than then one he uses for his borough president duties; the handle @stringer2013, started four months ago, has only 110 followers and 147 tweets (compared to his borough president handle that has over 4,600 followers). Â Here are some social media stats on the possible Mayoral candidates:
Clever ideas to build social media precense are in the mix too. Â City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a big name in the upcoming race, is committed to building her online profile. Â She has the most followers on Twitter at over 10,000! The Wall Street Journal reported that Quinn plans to announce a contest to help her reach 15,000 Twitter followers in the coming days. Â The prize?- one of the new followers will be selected at random to tour City Hall with her. Â ”We’re still learning the best ways to use our Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube channels to engage and communicate with New Yorkers,” said her spokesman, Jamie McShane. “We’ll continue to use social media along with more traditional means of communications.”
As the Rebel CMC ladies have previously stated, we advocate that anyone in the public spotlight NOT be responsible for their own Tweets/Facebook posts and candidates seem to be following that line of thinking. Â It’s much better to have someone on the outside staying on top of your social media to stay on message and engage you following!
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