They’ll stay there for 4 months.
They’ll feel important, self-righteous, and like they’re making a difference.
None of that will prove true, aside from the 4 months part.
I mean, c’mon…these are legislators!
“When I was in the legislature we weren’t worth the $10 a day we were getting then and I don’t think legislators are worth that much now,” former Montana governor John Aronson told reporters in 1975, and his words hold true today.
Don’t get all starry-eyed about this session.
Instead, narrow your eyes and take a hard look at these people.
They get paid a ton of money to sit on their asses in fine chairs in a nice building, and most of them don’t do any work.
So hold them accountable. You know damn-well that our state news media won’t.
So now that we got that out of the way, let’s offer these legislators some tips.
Most are too proud to take them, and that’s fine – it’s why we have term limits.
For the few smart ones, however, perhaps they’ll learn something.
Let’s get started.
- You won’t do too well with the public.
- You won’t do too well with getting more name recognition.
- You won’t do too well when it comes time to get reelected, either.
So I encourage legislators to talk with reporters, either on the air with the TV stations, in the basement with the newspaper reporters, or in back hallways with those that can get your words out.
And don’t forget to write yourself.
Submit guest posts to blogs – I’m sure MT Cowturd will take ‘em for Democrats while Republican Uprising might be a good platform for some GOPers.
Hell, if some ambitious legislator wanted to get their message out on this site, I’d even consider a guest post.
I think we all know that won’t happen, however, as most legislators would probably consider seeing their name on my site to be a black mark against them.
The point is, you have to be seen and heard or you’re just one more name out of 150 that most people will never hear, or care about.
Having a Blog
I was impressed.
I was also saddened, as the blog just had the one post.
She had the right idea, but I feel she found out how hard blogging can be…especially if you do image-heavy posts.
That’s why I encourage legislators to do two things:
- Have simple blogs.
- Team-up to lessen your blogging workload.
I think the Democratic women could do really well with this. Maybe five of them could team-up and each could put up one post a week.
Follow Logicosity’s model – a simple design with text.
That’s all people want – words they can read, ideas they can toss around.
Maybe we’ll see some more legislators blogging this year.
Some might even do video blogging, or vlogging, as Amanda Curtis did back in the 2013 session.
It’s hard to do that each day, but for some, it might be easier than writing.
The point is, you want to get your ideas and your message out there.
Blogs – whether yours or one of the established ones in the state – are a great way to do that.
Just type that into Google, “#mtpol” – it’ll come up.
Some might want you to think that #mtleg or maybe even Facebook is where new happens, but that’s just not true.
Oh, and news isn’t happening in the Capitol.
New happens when the pubic hears about it.
Used to be they’d hear about it in the newspapers, then on the TV.
Who has time for scheduled programming at 5:00 or 10:30, though?
No one, that’s why they want their news now.
Twitter’s #mtpol gives it to them, and I’d encourage you to learn it’s in’s and out's and in-betweens.
Getting Results Online
What are you trying to do…what are you looking for?
When it comes to social media, you’re trying to get a message across.
One of the best ways to have a message is to have a platform.
You probably have one with Facebook, and that’s great – everyone in your little bubble will hear what you have to say.
What about everyone outside your bubble?
They’re not going to go to your Facebook page, but they might go to a more public forum.
That’s Twitter, and specifically, #mtpol.
So what results are you looking for…the inconsequential and short-term-oriented ‘likes’ or the longer-term and more-lasting click-throughs?
I feel the latter is the way to go.
When it comes to my Twitter usage, I’m looking at click-throughs, or how many people clicked on the link I provided.
You can see this on your Twitter screen.
Well, you can’t see it with other people’s profiles.
And don’t be fooled – just because the yahoos on #mtpol choose not to like a tweet doesn’t mean that those tweets are going unnoticed.
James Conner here, for instance, probably gets a lot of click-throughs to his site.
I know when he linked to one of my articles a week ago my site got more than 80 linkbacks from him.
When Last Best News did the same, I got perhaps 15.
So that tells you audience, that tells you power.
Don’t be fooled.
What you’re looking for is that ‘bar’ symbol. That’ll tell you the post’s analytics, or how many people interacted with it.
This is what that looks like:
Now, let’s get real.
You’re going to have those types like me that get no likes, no retweets, and no replies.
That doesn’t mean we’re not getting any action, which is the link clicks.
As far as I’m concerned, the link clicks are the gold standard when it comes to social media.
You’ve enticed the wider social media community enough with your post that they actually clicked on the link.
So where does that link take them?
To some site that has nothing to do with you…or to your own site and your own message and your own idea for the future?
My philosophy is that your own site is the way to go.
That’s where your message is, one that can’t be encapsulated in 140 characters.
So I encourage you to have something for people to click over to, something that’s about yourself and your message.
For those wanting more information on click-throughs, check out my 2015 post, Is #mtpol Effective?
And that’s all I have for you today.
These ideas aren’t new or earth-shattering, but they can be effective.
Effective for what?
Mainly, getting your name and your message out there.
You’re in politics already, and you’re an elected official now.
That’s great, but the vast majority of the people in the state won’t care.
Make them care – put yourself out there, get vocal, and get results.
Long-term, that’ll help you.
If’ you’d like to learn more then I’d encourage you to check out my 194-page book, Social Media Politics: Using the Internet to Get Elected.