You may be aware of the upcoming municipal election in Ottawa and you may have seen some of the posts I’ve already published evaluating the candidates for mayor and city council candidates who are online. To make things more manageable, and to avoid making these posts too long, I’ve divided up the municipal wards into different sectors. This time, it’s the wards in the southern part of the city: Gloucester – Southgate (ward 10), River (ward 16), Alta Vista (ward 18), and Gloucester – South Nepean (ward 22).
In the posts I’ve published so far, I’ve talked about the importance of having contact information on your website and inactive social media profiles, as well as how to best use Facebook. If you want more on that, you can read those posts, but for more on Twitter you don’t have to go anywhere.
Through my research so far, I’ve gotten the impression that candidates understand how to use Twitter better than Facebook. Just because they understand it better, though, it doesn’t mean that Twitter is being used in the most effective ways. Here are a few pointers for the future.
1. Make sure your profile is complete. This includes having a complete biography, a link to your website, and a current picture. When people go to your Twitter profile, they might want to know about more than just what you’re tweeting. Having a complete biography will give people a better idea of who you are, and if you’re running for public office, your biography should tell them as much. If visitors want more than what’s on your profile, they will probably look for a link to your website. Conveniently, a link to a website is something Twitter allows you to add to your profile, even encouraging you to do so. And having a picture will help people put a face to the person who is talking to them. There’s also nothing that makes me doubt the legitimacy of a Twitter profile like seeing the famous Twitter egg instead of an actual profile picture.
2. Twitter is more than just a tool that lets you broadcast your message. So yes, use Twitter to spread your message and let your followers know about events you’ll be attending. But don’t just talk at them, engage with them. If they ask questions, answer them. Actually engaging with your followers will make you seem more genuine and will allow them to get to know you better. And as for retweeting, do so in moderation. Only seeing retweets in your Twitter stream doesn’t really allow me to understand who you are or what message you are trying to convey to your followers. Your Twitter stream should feature a good mix of regular tweets and interactions with others, as well as the occasional retweet.
Only the candidates who had an online presence were evaluated. Using the criteria below, here is how I graded each of them.
- Is complete information available?
- Are links to social media profiles available and working?
- Is information easy to find?
- Is the candidate’s Twitter biography complete (including photo) and is there a link to the campaign website?
- Do they tweet regularly and engage with potential voters?
- Do they have a Facebook fan page or a profile?
- If they only have a personal profile, are their security settings such that any visitor can see the posts without being a Facebook friend of the candidate?
- Does the candidate post a variety of content?
- Ward 10: Gloucester – Southgate
- Ward 16: River
- Ward 18: Alta Vista
- Ward 22: Gloucester – South Nepean
|Meladul Haq Ahmadzai||10||A-||—||—||A-||—|
Featured photo: Ottawa Canada September 2010 — Ottawa City Hall/ Hôtel de Ville d’Ottawa 10 uploaded to Flickr by Douglas Sprott