Checklist – social media for election candidates

This guidance can be used in conjunction with:

  • Our video ‘Social Media for Election Candidates’. It includes actions and advice that you can go through to help you make a strong start with your social media presence as an election candidate.
  • If you haven’t used social media before, please read the ‘Guide to getting started on social media first, and then you can come back to this checklist when you are ready to create an account on your chosen social media platform.

 

Guide to getting started on social media

Audit your digital presence:

  • Search for yourself using different search engines. Go to commonly-used search engines like GoogleYahoo, and Bing and check what results you get when you type in your name and your location into the search bar.
  • Check for any old, out of date social media profiles that you might not use any more, for example on older platforms like MySpace or Bebo.
  • Forgotten your login details? It is usually possible to reset old accounts or passwords. Look for a ‘help’ section on the website, or contact the platform’s customer service or help team to ask for assistance if you get stuck.
  • Decide what you want to keep or delete a social media profile. Bear in mind it might be easier to delete an old account and start over if you want to use a platform you have used in the past for promoting your 2022 political campaign.
  • Review the content of each social media account that you want to keep for public use. Only keep the content that you feel is relevant and appropriate to be shared, and delete anything that is out of date or does not fit your campaign message. Repeat this process with each social media account that you will keep using.
  • Get a friend to check your account – ask someone who is a contact or follower to look at your profile and tell you what they see. This will help you understand how your social media looks to others, and the impression that it gives.
  • Test how it looks for those who do not follow you. Temporarily remove a friend from your contact or follower list and ask them to show you what they are able to view. After testing this, you might want to adjust the privacy settings on your account to give you greater control over who can see what.
  • Privacy settings differ depending on the platform you choose to use. Take a look at the website and spend some time reviewing the options available to you. Test different options with a trusted friend for a clear understanding of what ‘private’ means.
  • Check any other subscription-only or membership sites or apps that you use. Think about the content you post and how you interact with the users of those online communities. Remember that it is possible for those you are connected with to take screenshots of content you have shared with them, even if done so privately.
  • Review your network, ‘friends’ or follower list, and think about the following questions:
    • How well do you know these people?
    • Are you comfortable with the level of information they have access to?
    • Do you trust them not to share your personal information and imagery?
    • Do you consider these people your ‘friends’?
    • Are you happy to be associated with them online if other people viewed your connections? Think about this in the context of the kind of content and images that they post.
  • Review your membership of any groups on each platform and bear in mind:
    • Does the group align with your political views?
    • How might others see your connection or support for those groups?

Digital Channels

  • Which social media platforms will you use to communicate your manifesto and campaign messages?  Click here to check our brief summary of the popular platforms in our beginners’ guide to social media if you aren’t sure where to begin.
  • Think about which sort of audiences you want to see your content, and the type of content you want to post.
  • What sort of content are you going to share? Words, photos, videos?
  • Make sure your social media posts are authentic to you and your campaign – use your own natural tone and style and be consistent.
  • Be aware of the following social media ‘turn-offs’:
    • Oversharing
    • Using too many hashtags
    • Posting the same message on all your channels
    • Not responding to comments
    • Jumping on trends when they are not relevant
  • Before posting content with hashtags that use more than one word, have a second look at them to check that they do not spell out something with unintended meaning!
  • Think about how you present yourself in videos and photos. Does the image give the impression of a credible political candidate? Bear in mind how quickly and easily images can be shared on social media!

Negativity and trolls:

If you receive a negative comment or response to a post or photo:

  • Decide whether it is genuine or not, and whether it needs a reply
  • Bear in mind that it could be in your interest to clear up any misunderstanding to avoid further confusion or negativity
  • If you decide to respond, do so with a quick and clear reply, using facts and information. Try to leave out any emotion where possible
  • It can sometimes be helpful to suggest that the person contacts you directly rather than continue the conversation publicly
  • If friends and family are joining the conversation to defend or protect you, thank them for their support

If you are being trolled:

  • Stop engaging with the account that is trolling you – sometimes it is enough to simply stop responding
  • Remember that you are in control of who is in your online network. You can block and report other users and actively step away from interacting with them again
  • If a conversation becomes abusive, threatening or intimidatory you should take a screenshot so that you have a record of it and then report it:
    • Social media platforms have policies for acceptable behaviour. If someone has behaved unacceptably you should report the incident to the social media platform
    • Report abusive, discriminatory, or threatening messages to the police

Each social media platform has its own information about acceptable behaviour and content. Familiarise yourself with the policies and any advice given by that platform when you are starting to build your profile so that you can be prepared and informed.

Click here for more information and advice from the States of Jersey Police on what to do about online abuse and harassment.

Your inner circle – your family and close friends:

  • Talk to your close friends and family about your political aspirations when you are ready to do so.
  • These people are your ‘inner circle’ and they can support you by helping you spread your campaign message.
  • Where possible, it is good to have your inner circle check their social media profiles – remember they might have posted photos or content relating to you, and it’s good to make sure that you’re being presented in a positive way.
  • Talk to your inner circle about how you want to handle online negativity. If they take the same approach as you, it will help in clearing up confusion and preventing misunderstandings turning into arguments.

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