Marketing the Citizen Legislator

Pyramid at the NCSL 2015 Legislative Summit

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Posted: Aug 7, 2015

Earlier this week, we were proud to present at the National Conference of State Legislators’ 2015 Legislative Summit, hosted in Seattle. Bringing together more than 5,000 state legislators, legislative staffers, federal officials, and others, the annual conference covers everything from policy decisions to issue forums to professional development.

Our session—Marketing the Citizen Legislator—tackled the dynamic world of marketing and public relations and how legislators can use emerging media tools to better connect with their constituents. 

The session was broken into two parts. First, I shared an overview of trends in marketing and communications, best practices, and thoughts on how to understand success and get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Afterwards, our director of government relations, Barbara Cairns, sat down with two legislators, Senator Aaron Ford of Nevada and Representative Matt Hudson of Florida, for a conversation full of practical, real-life examples about how they’re using tools like social media to keep in touch with their constituents.

The audience asked great questions, and the conversation was lively,. Here are just a few of the highlights:  

  • Pay attention to your stats! If people aren’t reading your content, you’re wasting your time.
  • Be real! Understand what you’re comfortable sharing with your followers, but don’t ever be afraid to be you. 
  • Plan, plan, plan. Legislators are busy. It can be challenging to find windows to stay in touch with constituents as they shift between their professional, political, and personal lives. That’s where having a plan and scheduling content in advance can save you time and help you stay in touch with your constituents on a regular basis.
  • Don’t fight fire with fire. As public officials, having thick skin is a part of the job. If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of some critical words, always avoid being defensive. Better to explain your side and agree to disagree, than find yourself in a verbal showdown.
  • If you haven’t already done so, start an official Facebook Page. Facebook’s friend cap of 5,000 on a profile has caused quite a few headaches.

We want to thank the National Conference of State Legislators for having us! If you have questions about what we shared, or would like to know more, feel free to get in touch with either myself or Barbara Cairns.

Twitter: @kimervin
Kim Ervin is Pyramid’s Senior Social Media Strategist. She develops social media strategies and campaigns which aim to deepen connections between organizations and their communities. When not sharing the ins and outs of social media, Kim is likely reading and researching ways to change the world on multiple screens. You can connect with her on Twitter @KimErvin.