Though is still early summer, November elections will be here before you know it! As a political candidate, what are you doing right now to make the most of social media and get voters to support you in the voting booth?
If you are going to do any online social networking, here are the three networks you should definitely use – and why.
With over 700 + million users, there’s a good chance some of your voters are on Facebook. Establishing a presence there is simple, and it’s easy to branch out and it connects well with other social networks.
Build a campaign Facebook Page to help spread the word. Once you do that, you can also:
- Post campaign updates, news, pictures and video to your Page.
- Create custom tabs for your page, including a custom landing page for non-Facebook users.
- Post Events and invite others.
- Use Facebook Plugins add additional page functionality.
- Add Facebook ‘Like’ Buttons to your web content so others can share and help spread the word on their walls and in their own news feeds.
- Use Facebook Ads to reach other users by age, location and other demographic information.
How the 2012 Presidential Candidates’ websites are using Facebook Connect to collect data like never before
Who would have thought that online relationships could be developed within a 140-character limit?Twitter is more than just a micro-blogging tool. It is a way to connect and interact with others.
A few ways to interact, as opposed to just posting status updates, include:
- Asking questions about issues or news events.
- Re-tweeting other people’s tweets. Support other pols and have them support you!
- Using the #hashtag to get involved in conversations.
Tweets to promote your campaign are fine, but pure plugs should make up only a tiny fraction of yourTwitter activity. Active engagement will get you more followers and more exposure.
With over 100 million professionals in the network, candidates cannot ignore LinkedIn. Create a professional profile to reach out to others and build your credibility.
LinkedIn is NOT a place to promote your campaign. That will constitute spam and will turn others off. It is a professional network, and you might want to get a feel for how it works before you jump right in.
LinkedIn allows you to:
- Create a personal profile.
- Attach your resume and describe your professional skills.
- Upload materials, such as SlideShare presentations and PDFs.
- Post reviews from others of your work.
- Highlight what others are saying or doing.
LinkedIn Groups provides a place for professionally-minded people with social influence to exchange ideas. Find a few groups on topics that you are passionate about and join the conversation.
LinkedIn Answers allows you opportunity to display your expertise to others. Good answers can earn you stars and enhance your overall status.
Politicians have already latched onto Twitter and Facebook, but this election cycle, YouTube could be the campaign tool of choice. Google has launched a service on the popular video site that is helping candidates target voters online like never before -- one that could eventually rival cash cow political ads on TV.
Using Google's in-stream ads, those brief commercials you see before before YouTube clips, campaigns can now go after potential voters with geo-location technology and content interest-targeting. For example, if Levi Johnston's rumored campaign spends some ad dollars, residents of Wasilla might see the ex-Palin camper pitch his mayoral campaign before viewing YouTube videos. Or, if Levi pollsters see a weakness in, say, public reception of his family values, the campaign could target only Alaskan viewers of YouTube's Parenting category.
"In stream ads are probably the hottest thing in political advertising right now," says Andrew Roos, Google's account executive for the election and issue ads team. "This was a product that wasn't available in the 2008 presidential campaign, and now we're seeing dozens of candidates using it in over 15 battleground states."
Google has seen adoption rates of online advertising for gubernatorial and senatorial races increase by 800% this election cycle. Mid-term candidates including senate hopefuls Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Dino Rossi (Wash.) are taking advantage of the service by simply re-purposing television ads to run on YouTube--a cheap and effective way of broadening the TV spots' reach.
Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett, for instance, has reached nearly 500,000 potential Badger state-voters using YouTube's service. "The more we can harness these online tools, the more we can communicate with voters," says Phil Walzak, communications director for the Barrett campaign. Bottom line: it has a real impact, Walzak says. "It unlocks a lot of doors."
Roos points out that campaigns have traditionally spent a significant amount of time and resources producing television ads. Now, YouTube's service lets candidates re-use those same ads for online audiences. "Our favorite phrase is: Our ads are click-able but not skip-able," says Roos. "A lot of people fast-forward now with DVR on television--on YouTube, you know you have a very engaged audience because you can't skip through the ad."
So why is Google getting involved with political campaigns? As Roos relates, Massachusetts senator Scott Brown spent 10% of his ad-dollars online in the special election against Martha Coakley this year. Google's idea, he says, is to go after a similar 10%-in-2010 digital campaign-spending goal. In total, both the Brown and Coakley campaigns spent $23 million during the special election--10% of that would come to $2.3 million.
"We've been up front with this," he says. "It's a great business opportunity."
Google + and Your Cause: You Can't Afford to Ignore it Any Longer
With countless social networking sites appearing on the internet and limited time until Election Day, it can be hard for campaign managers to decide which sites are actually worth their time to pursue. With the choice to spread the message out over Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Blogspot, the decisions can be endless and the last thing you want to hear about is yet another social site to consider. When you read about Google Plus, you may groan, wondering if it would be possible for you to leave it out of your campaign.
Of course, you can leave Google Plus out of your internet marketing plan; the question is, can you afford to ignore it any longer? The answer is a definite no! It is now official: if you wish to have the most successful online campaign possible, it’s vital that you start a Google Plus brand page to get the results you’re looking for. Keep reading to find out how Google Plus and Google Plus search results will help your candidate rise to the top online and at the polls.
Google Plus Search Results
Since Google is one of the world’s leading search engines, it only makes sense that they would continue to focus on helping people search the World Wide Web. With Google Plus search results, users can now search both the web and their favorite social networking site, Google Plus, all from one easy place. While private information stays private, viewers can search through the web while also receiving results from public Google Plus posts.
What Does Google Plus Search Mean for You?
Why are the new Google plus search results something that should interest you and your political campaign? If you use a Google Plus page to support your politicians, then your posts and status updates will end up before the eyes of more than just your followers. For instance, if someone is searching for a certain issue using Google search, your Google Plus post on the same topic will show up in their results, giving them the opportunity to see how you stand on the issue and likely gaining you a new supporter.
Not Just for Politicians
While Google Plus is a great way for candidates to be discovered by their constituents, it’s not just for politicians; many non-profit organizations are also using the social site to grow interest in their cause and gain new supporters.
Using Google Plus Search for Your Advantage
If you want to get the best results for your page when people search Google, it’s important that your profile contain information people are searching for. Do some research to find out what people are looking for on the web; if any of the searches are applicable to your campaign, strategically insert searched-for phrases into your posts. Not only does Google Plus search give internet users results from Google Plus posts, but also photos and videos. To make sure that your campaign information shows up in as many results as possible, always name your photos and videos with a fitting title. While a photo named “January 5th” may not make it very far, a title such as “GOP Presidential Candidate” will go a lot farther on the web.
Best Place for Organic Traffic
To provide a good internet marketing campaign, many political hopefuls are handing over thousands of dollars to put toward online advertising. By using sites like Google Plus to promote your candidate, you can grow your support base without having to hand over any money. No matter how large or small your campaign, be it a run for senate or if your candidate is hoping for a spot on the town council, Google Plus provides an easy and low-cost opportunity for anyone who wants to succeed in the election polls.
The media is reporting that the upcoming 2012 fight at the polls will be a Facebook election. Although the benefits of Facebook are numerous and impossible to ignore in your campaign, those who are willing to step out and engage themselves in Google Plus will have a far greater reach when it comes to attracting new support and keeping current followers in the loo
If you are going to go down the social network route, don’t wait! Building a successful network takes time and effort. (Months, really. We’re seeing some campaigns starting social networking efforts a year or more ahead of the elections.)
Who is going to influence the social media-savvy voter? The lonely candidate with 12 Facebook Fans and 3 Twitter followers, or the more popular candidate with hundreds of followers who is effectively engaging others online?