July | August 2017




Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

By Krista Rinehart, CSG National Leadership Center Coordinator
The numbers tell the story:
Using social media and Web-based interaction tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is no longer a choice for public officials who want to remain relevant. But taking the Internet plunge can be daunting, to say the least. Much has been made of ever-changing privacy policies and everyone has heard at least one nightmare story of a Facebook post or Tweet gone awry.
Brian Selander, a 2011 Toll Fellow and chief strategy officer to Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, believes the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to social media.
During the webinar, “How to Secure Your Online Identity,” hosted by CSG’s National Leadership Center, Selander built his case for social media’s value with the story of a single Tweet that turned into a USA Today story highlighting Markell’s work. He then shared countless do’s and don’ts for effectively using social media.
For example, contrary to natural instinct, Facebook posts and Tweets should not be “all about you,” Selander said.
“Post about a colleague or a friend when they achieve something,” said Selander. “Constantly posting about yourself is predictable and people will stop tuning in. Plus, it gives your friends some attention and hopefully they’ll return the favor someday.”
He suggests praising other people’s work, highlighting interesting stories or news and sharing the occasional personal tidbit as necessary ways of increasing your profile traffic and humanizing your online persona.
CSG policy analyst Nathan Dickerson shared technical advice on optimizing control over your online presence through effective use of privacy settings and other online monitoring tools.
“One thing everyone should be aware of is that many Facebook apps require you to give permission for those apps to post as you,” said Dickerson. “For example, if I read an article on The Washington Post Social Reader app, it posts that article with a link on my profile recommending it to all of my friends. If you’re a public official, allowing that kind of information to be automatically posted on your profile could lead to some sticky situations.”
Dickerson explained how to ensure Facebook apps don’t post as you and suggested ways to use Google Alerts and other tools to track when your name pops up on the Web.
CSG’s National Leadership Center provides a frequently updated resource library that includes social media primers and other informational materials to help officials effectively use social media and the Web to communicate with constituents.

CSG Resources


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