For most people social media is just something you pick up as you go. However for MPs and candidates and their parties, taking that approach can present a number of risks. The first risk is that nothing happens and no returns are generated. But the bigger risk is that a candidate does something stupid that generates controversy and results in large amounts of negative news coverage in the main stream media.
One solution to this issue is to give candidates and MPs training in how to best use social media, what the traps an pit falls are, what works and what doesn’t. Many organisations will try and keep this training under wraps. But Labour have let slip that their candidates had a full training session as part of the Congress on the weekend.
With the number of people involved in pushing a political party message, it is important that they are all on the same page. So holding workshops is a good option. I haven’t been able to establish if National did the same at their conference or not, but I will continue to try and find out.
If all those involved have an idea of what is expected and what is coming down the pipeline, it is easier for all involved to get the most out of social media. Now the question is, who has done this ground work the best and will provide the most support to their MPs and candidates? Only time will tell.