Twitter and Hootsuite help the Boston Election Department reach voters

For many election officials, social media have become an important part of their voter outreach efforts. Using social networks to provide civic information can help to integrate elections into people’s busy lives.

That’s why the Boston Election Department uses Twitter.

Kyron Owens, who is the Democratic Member of the Board of Election Commissioners, says that his office turns to Twitter for the full gamut of community outreach.

“We use our social media to engage with the public, make them aware of upcoming election dates, election-related deadlines (like the voter registration deadline), any events we are hosting or collaborating on, polling location hours of operation, and we use it to advertise our initiatives and support other initiatives that are related to elections,” he explains.

Like any form of communications outreach, however, social media campaigns require a time and energy commitment. That’s especially true if you use more than one platform. The Boston election staff uses both Twitter and Facebook, for instance. “Managing these platforms independently is a problem,” Kyron acknowledges, “because it is quite time consuming, so we were looking for a way to centralize that aspect.”

A Tweet from the Boston Election Department asks readers to vote for early voting locations

Tweet from the Boston Election Department includes a survey about early voting locations

To help make using social media more manageable, the Boston Election Department recently turned to Hootsuite, a web-based social network management tool, to streamline their work.

The Twitter Guide for Election Officials includes instructions for using Twitter as well as Hootsuite.

Hootsuite acts as a central control panel for your social networks, meaning that you can monitor your social media activity and view things like mentions, new followers, likes, and Retweets all from a single dashboard.

“It made it easier to manage our various platforms,” explains Kyron, “because everything is located in one central location.”

Even more convenient is the way that Hootsuite allows you to post messages. From a single “compose” box, you can draft a message that will be sent from all of your social media accounts at the same time. “You can post to both platforms with one click!” says Kyron.

Using Twitter with Hootsuite makes for a powerful combination. With the help of a Hootsuite, you can post more frequently, and combining your social networks helps you to achieve reliability and consistency in your outreach. All these refinements can improve engagement.

“We decided it was a success,” Kyron recalls, “based on the number of interactions we have had since we started using the technology. We had an increase in questions and conversations being held on social media. It was exciting to see people take an interest.”

Have you been wanting to get started with Twitter in your election office? Or maybe improve your Twitter outreach with some new tips? Or maybe you’re ready to try Hootsuite. If so, check out our Twitter Guide for Election Officials tool.