10 Social Media Guidelines for Campaign Staff by Todd Defren

By at October 18, 2011 | 4:48 pm | Print

10 Social Media Guidelines for Campaign Staff by Todd Defren

These guidelines apply to a candidate’s campaign staff who create or contribute to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of Social Media. Whether you log into Twitter, Yelp, Wikipedia, MySpace or Facebook pages, or comment on online media stories — these guidelines are for you.

While all members of the campaign staff are welcome to participate in Social Media, we expect everyone who participates in online commentary to understand and to follow these simple but important guidelines. These rules might sound strict and contain a bit of legal-sounding jargon but please keep in mind that our overall goal is simple: to participate online in a respectful, relevant way that protects the candidate’s reputation and of course follows the letter and spirit of the law.

1. Be transparent and state that you support the candidate. Your honesty will be noted in the Social Media environment. If you are writing about issue or an opponent, use your real name, identify that your support for and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in what you are discussing, be the first to say so.

2. Never represent yourself or the candidate in a false or misleading way. All statements must be true and not misleading; all claims must be substantiated.

3. Post meaningful, respectful comments — in other words, please, no spam and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive.

4. Use common sense and common courtesy.

5. Stick to your area of expertise and do feel free to provide unique, individual perspectives on behalf of the candidate.

6. When disagreeing with others’ opinions, keep it appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it’s becoming antagonistic, do not get overly defensive and do not disengage from the conversation abruptly: feel free to ask the Campaign Manager/Media Director for advice and/or to disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner that reflects well on the candidate.

7. If you want to write about the opponent, make sure you behave diplomatically, have the facts straight and sourced.

 8. Please never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties that the candidate may be in litigation with.

9. Never participate in Social Media when the topic being discussed may be considered a crisis situation. Even anonymous comments may be traced back to your or (COMPANY)’s IP address. Refer all Social Media activity around crisis topics to Campaign Manager/Media Director.

 10. Be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and the candidate’s confidential information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully. Google has a long memory.

 NOTE: Mainstream media inquiries must be referred to the Campaign Manager and/or Media Director.

This article has been modified for political campaigns.

Todd Defren Defren is a principal at SHIFT Communications, a hybrid PR firm named “New Media Agency of the Year” in 2008 and “Agency of the Year” in 2007. Todd is recognized globally as a Social Media & Public Relations innovator, thinker & lecturer.  His blog, PR-Squared, is routinely among the top 20 blogs on AdAge’s Power150.



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