A manifesto on what it takes to be a ‘digital first’ politician in today’s wired world.
Reading time: 3 minutes
In public relations, political communication is ‘public affairs.’
And as with every dimension of business and society, your local politicians must adapt to a ‘digital first’ world, too. The internet is where most of our opinions are being molded and spread throughout the population.
However, the question is:
Are your local politicians keeping up with the times?
Let’s take a closer look:
Characteristics of a Digital Politician
A digital politician is brave enough to speak up online.
Most politicians are comfortable with speaking at stages, seminars, and in meetings. But most politicians are scared of just putting up their smartphone in a taxi and speak their hearts out via Facebook Live.
A digital politician conveys her message with authentic passion.
Most politicians are comfortable with turning up the heat when facing an opponent in a debate. But most politicians find it difficult to authenticly convey that same passion in a Youtube- or Snapchat video.
A digital politician has an email list of her own.
Most politicians strive to appear in contexts where they can reach relevant audiences. But most politicians are neglecting the sheer power of building a personal Mailchimp list of core believers.
A digital politician is always battling a ‘stupid majority.’
Most politicians are looking for ways to engage the public by speaking to issues defined by the mass media. But most politicians fail to realize that online engagement stems from ‘smart minorities’ taking on ‘stupid majorities.’
A digital politician respects the value of her unique voice.
Most politicians are using social media as a broadcast medium for generic political content. But most politicians have yet to realize that online followers, whether on Instagram or Twitter, are actively seeking unique voices and tonalities.
A digital politician is always plugged into the backchannel.
Most politicians take to online communication to raise awareness and seek support for their agenda. But most politicians would be far more successful if they first discussed and ensured support for their messages in smaller forums and backchannels.
A digital politician engages in two-way communication.
Most politicians don’t want the hassle of speaking directly with insignificant people in social media. But most politicians don’t fully understand the online equivalent of connecting with ‘regular folks’ in the streets, listening to their stories, and shaking their hands.
A digital politician is mindful of putting out great content.
Most politicians are leveraging online communication to cross-promote their existing messages. But most politicians don’t seem to care that putting out mediocre online content is disrespectful and a waste of attention.
A digital politician nurtures a multi-platform brand.
Most politicians think that the choice of channel is their prerogative. But most politicians should embrace the fact that the audience flows freely across online channels — and so should they.
A digital politician promotes a multimedia experience.
Most politicians treat online communication as a traditional medium like any other. But most politicians should leverage the internet to convey the sound of their laughter, the tone of their empathy, and the idiosyncracies of how their bodies move.
A digital politician always puts her own tribe first.
Most politicians think the internet is a great way to reach new audiences. But most politicians would get better results if they focused almost entirely on communicating efficiently with their already existing tribe.
A digital politician takes pride in zigging when others are zagging.
Most politicians are looking at what other politicians are doing online when developing their own strategies. But most politicians would do far better online if they instead focused on doing whatever other aren’t doing.
A digital politician is thankful for every reason to speak.
Most politicians are afraid of internet trolls, internet hate, and being heavily criticized in general. But most politicians should be thankful and use any ‘stupid majority feedback’ as reasons to speak on their issues.
A digital politician is all about the ‘call-to-action.’
Most politicians are happy if their messages are reaching the right audiences in the right place at the right time. But most politicians should instead focus on providing their online following with relevant ‘call-to-actions’ aimed at those who care enough to take action.
Do you agree that today’s politicians must ‘live and breathe’ digital? Please share and discuss in the comments.
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