By Seema Chandwani
Of course, social media alone is not going win the election but it has a powerful impact if used correctly. It does not matter if you have 20 followers or 200,000 – you all have a part to play. Here are some tips:
• Don’t publicise negativity: It completely winds me up when there is a negative article or tweet and we quote-tweet it giving comment. By doing so we have just exposed the bad news to all of our followers too.
• Value your time: Arguing with someone on social media drains your time from convincing people who may genuinely vote for Labour. If you need to respond, then just send a few maths riddles – it will confuse them and some of them may even waste time trying to figure it out.
• Remember your audience: On Twitter you’re most likely to have Labour people, so your tweets and retweets help build motivation and create a buzz. But on Facebook you probably have work-mates, school friends and family, you need to speak to them through your posts.
Things you can do:
• Find articles: Spend a few minutes to search the internet for articles that demonstrate how bad the Tories and Con-Dem coalition have been. You have over 8 years worth of content to find. It can be a local issue like the closure of a hospital A&E to a huge national issue like cuts to police budgets. Never underestimate how much people have forgotten.
• Make it personal: Your story might inspire that one voter to decide they will vote this time. Think about what makes you want a Labour Government. For me, it’s the way ATOS treated my sister, it’s how long she has to wait to see her GP, it’s the queues at the Foodbank where I work, it’s the homeless people I see coming home.
Remember, not everyone is as political as us, even if you think you’re just an ordinary person – you are not if you’re reading this. You are politically engaged. Your story needs to be told to the hundreds of thousands who either do not see what you see or believe they are the only ones.
• Retweet and share: Follow every front-bencher, a range of local parties, Labour blogs. Retweet, repost, share all of the positive stuff about Labour and the negative stuff about the Tories and Lib Dems.
• Make videos: You don’t have to be a professional, just turn on your smart-phone to self mode and make that 2min video explaining why you’re voting Labour.
• Use your language skills: Speaking on social media in any language you speak could really help us encourage some of the most disenfranchised voters we have.
• Cross contaminate your social media: Seen something really good on Facebook? Share it on Twitter.
• Believe in the subliminal: That person you swayed to vote Labour may never thank you or acknowledge something you said made that happen. They may not even realise that you posted on your Facebook was what trigger that change. Your job is to constantly drip feed how bad the government is and/or why Labour would be better.
• Write articles: Your lived experience is really powerful, so just type away. You can set up a free blog or submit the piece to loads of Labour friendly websites. You need to tell people what the Tories and Lib Dems have done to you or someone you know.
• Use images: A tweet or facebook post with an image is more likely to be noticed in our ‘scrolling society’. Twitter states in their training (I know because I have been on it) that a Tweet with an image has 75% more interactions than one that does not.
• Forget the internal conflicts: Now is not the time – we need to get into government.
• Stay positive: Hope is our biggest weapon, and your positivity is infectious. We can win this, we have a great leader and fantastic policies. Keep your comrades motivated as it will be a rough ride – and let your non-political friends believe something big is happening and they will join in.
• Leave haters to talk to themselves: From Katie Hopkins to some drunk net-warrior – there are people that are going to provoke you into arguments. Ignore them, they are just trying to drain and distract you. Stay focused, on message and upbeat – nothing will annoy them more.
Remember: Social media activity is not a substitute to campaigning on the doorstep and in our communities, so if you’re able to do both – then please do so.