The Presidential Candidates seeking the 2016 Democratic Nomination have yet to debate and yet, we are all starting to #FeelTheBern.

In fact, every candidate running for political office, every labor union seeking new members and every committee around every referendum should see what they can learn from Bernie.

For example, social media engagement needs to be AUTHENTIC. Any post should come from you and symbolize who you are on-line and off. Posts should inspire rather than incite and you need to find the right balance that will reach and resonate with your target market.

Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for President found his voice and found thousands of people who are listening.

To connect in an authentic way you need to find your voice, develop the content and create the strategy on the proper social media channel.

First you need to figure out who you are trying to reach. If you want to reach younger voters or consumers, know they text more than email and for those 18-25 (as of this posting) they are on SnapChat or YouTube, rarely email and don’t even have a Facebook account or Twitter.

Then you need to figure out what you want to say. Whatever it is, it has to look, sound and feel like something you would write or say. Otherwise you will come across as pandering to a group that will soon ignore you. If it is not something you’d say to someone in person, don’t say it on Twitter or post a picture of it on Instagram.

Your success using social media will be based on authenticity and transparency. It is away to engage your audience directly in a conversation or help raise awareness for your cause, product or service.

That is why so many people are starting to #FeelTheBern. Through social media, Bernie Sanders is connecting with people in a meaningful way and they know they will encounter the very same person, in person.

In this election, social media has replaced door knocking. Retail politics, has shifted. While, “all politics remains local,” as former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil used to say, reaching the voters, just as reaching consumers has changed. Ignoring the leaflets found on our doorstep, we would much rather link to a video or share an inspiring quote.

Both business and labor still have a lot to learn in regards to how to harness the power of social and they should be watching this week’s debate, monitoring the candidates social media in addition to those of the issues groups with an interest in the campaign.

As reported in The Detroit Free Press, the UAW learned from their mistakes and leveraged social media to avert a strike and are continuing to use it to educate their members about the newly negotiated contract. 

However, CEOs still don't understand the power and influence of social media. I recently sat in a room recently, with small business leaders, people who own their own company, who can call themselves Presidents, CEOs, founders or director of whatever they want. At this meeting, they were talking about social media. “I need to be on Facebook and Twitter, but I hear about Snapchat and Persicope,” I heard them say. But “I just don’t understand it and I don’t have the time to learn about it.”

Business leaders, "You need to find the time." While you may have set up a Facebook Page years ago, signed up for Twitter, may be or watch your children slide through Snapchat or Instagram, you need to explore a little on your own.   This begins by listening, watching and reading what your competitors are doing on line, see who the influencers are and than look for that opportunity to connect in a meaningful way. 

They can start by watching Tuesday’s Democratic debate and watch how all the campaigns respond.

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