Three handy tips for political use of social media from The Atlantic

TNW has a really interesting interview with The Atlantic‘s social media editor, which is packed full of good sense applicable to anyone trying to reach an audience online.

Three elements are particularly relevant to those of us using social media for politics:

Go easy on the hashtags

I’ve noticed that most news organizations, including yours, only use hashtags sparingly. Is that a conscious decision?

I think there are two parts to this. One is aesthetics, or, put another way, snobbery. The tweets that use hashtags often look like marketing or like someone who doesn’t know how to use Twitter very well. And the people running these accounts usually want to look like they’re working for a sophisticated publication or brand.

The other part of it is that hashtags just don’t drive that much more attention to you unless you’re hitting upon one that has consistent interest in them.

Repeat, repeat and repeat. (P.S. Repeat)

We’ve heard that we’re supposed to tweet out the same piece of content several times a day because only a small percentage of your followers will see any given tweet. What’s your rule of thumb for how many times you should tweet out an article?

In my experience, unlike Facebook where people will start to complain if you repost a piece of content too much, with Twitter, just because of the pace of things getting quickly buried under more tweets, you can post a piece of content many, many times.

We’ve definitely run things five, six, seven times.

In a single day?

Not in a single day. Sometimes something we’ve posted in the beginning of the day we’ll post again in the evening, but this is over a course of two or three weeks where we rerun something through a significant number of times.

Use Twitter to reach influencers but Facebook to reach a large audience

If you look at it purely from a metrics standpoint, there’s absolutely no question that Twitter is not a huge traffic driver in the way Facebook is or even a small link on a middling blog, both of which send more traffic than a link from a very well-known Twitter presence…

[But] I do think there is something to the idea that [on Twitter] you’re able to get in front of influencers or people who control a lot of attention…

The reason we do stay on Twitter is because for a lot of the people we want to get in front of, it’s the way they consume information. And it’s a way for us to immediately be a part of the conversation in a way that can’t be done on Facebook.


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