LinkedIn for Politicans?

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I had dinner last night with a publicly elected official from a large American city.  I was impressed with his understanding of Social Media, and he had already created and implemented a strategy to utilize Facebook for political purposes.  But what about LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is still seen as being a boring, static medium when compared, as it often is, to Twitter and Facebook.  This is because LinkedIn is pretty much a closed world, with only a few LinkedIn applications available that you can use to make your profile more interactive.  What a lot of people are missing is the interactivity that goes on between users in Groups, Answers, and through connecting and communicating with your connections.

So what about LinkedIn for politicians?  Should every politician be on LinkedIn?  Absolutely!  And I am not talking about the profiles thrown up by President Obama and the other presidential candidates.  If you are running on a platform, if you believe in certain principles strongly, if you want to have certain values associated with you…these are all exercises in branding on LinkedIn, the same as for a small business owner or an executive in transition.

What is my specific advice for politicians, then?

  1. Brand your profile. No, this should not be a boring old biography of you.  It should stand what you stand for and should advertise your platform, assuming you have one.  Why beat around the bush when you can directly communicate with almost 40 million professionals?
  2. Join Groups that you want to be aligned with. If, for instance, there is a solar energy group and that is what you are campaigning for, why not join this type of group and contribute? In fact, you can have your political staff trolling the Discussion Boards and News Articles looking for new ideas and generating opinions that may help further enhance your political views. And if the Group that you want to join doesn’t exist, even the better!  Start your own!  And in doing so you could very well be starting an international movement!
  3. Connect and make allies with industry, educational, and political leaders that you want to be associated with. As in real life, networking is important in politics.  If you are in a particular position in government, isn’t there a natural affinity to be connected and exchange best practices with similar public officers throughout the country if not the world?  Furthermore, there is always necessary collaboration between the public office and businesses and education, so why not utilize LinkedIn to create a virtual network of potential people that could be major allies in your future?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but just some ideas for public officials to be thinking of how they can better utilize social media for their unique means.  Looking foward to hearing your opinions on the above.

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer


Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness & @socialtoolssmmt | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker
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Neal Schaffer


  1. says


    I’m married to an elected official of our small town of Wilmington, Ohio.

    I agree with a lot of what you have to say.  It’s great to see an elected official with some awareness and enthusiasm toward social media.  So often, they are afraid of it, or jump blindly without any good research or strategy.

    To your suggestions I would add:

    * SlideShare – Connect the application to create an “untraditional resume” of sorts, or outline bullet-points of political platform.  Attractive visuals are always intriguing to an audience!

    * Groups – It may be difficult to start and maintain a group for someone trying to get elected, or if an incumbent is facing tough competition.  There are so many other things to do.  If a group should be started, I suggest partnering with an organization of like mind to kick-off, start and maintain.  This is do-able in delegating smaller tasks.  It also brings the power of numbers into play.

    * Twitter – Especially during campaign season, political candidates should connect their Twitter to their LinkedIn so that connections can follow their activities.  If there is a lot of conversation there, settings can be adjusted to utilize the #in tag function.

    Just my 2 cents.  Hope that offers some help and insight.


    • says

      Keri – Awesome advice -thank you! That post was written with just LinkedIn, but now there are so many things that political officials can be using for – and let’s not forget Facebook and YouTube!

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