In our recent episode of RootsCast, our weekly video podcast, a POLITICO article on a recent social media panel at the 2014 CPAC conference was discussed. Specifically, what advice both Facebook and Twitter were giving to GOP candidates and campaigns in order to increase engagement and (hopefully) voter support.
One of the examples given by the panel was Virginia representative Rob Wittman, who uses Facebook to interact with his supporters and constituents. Every Friday, Wittman goes onto his Facebook Page to offer the opportunity for anyone to ask him questions. Wittman then answers the questions in the thread:
Wittman gets dozens of questions from constituents, from local concerns to national issues in the media. Admittedly, some of the questions are overly partisan in nature. As an example, his February 28th edition includes multiple individuals asking when President Barack Obama will be impeached. However, just as many questions tackle legitimate inquires from voters:
Unfortunately, the official “questions” functionality can now only be utilized by verified Facebook pages, of which Congressman Wittman is one. However, even if not officially a “question”, any page can publish a post asking for questions. The “thread” format within each post allows administrators (or the candidate or campaign reps) to answer questions posed within the thread.
Sadly, this is not something I see on a regular basis. Rather, I see broadcast posts from politicians who are repeating a news item or an announcement – with no follow up or engagement beyond initially posting the content.
This is a simple exercise that strongly boosts engagement with a Page’s Facebook community. It is also a great way to increase reach, as the questions posed by Facebook users show up in the newsfeed, which allows their friends and connections to see the interaction as well.