5 Tips on How to Easily and Inexpensively Running a Political Campaign Online
As major state level campaigns begin to heat up in the race to the November elections, we begin to see an overwhelming presence of politics ingrained into our social media lives.
A mere decade ago, the voter turnout rate amongst eligible American voters was as dismal as it ever was in our country’s young history.
After social media hit politics full speed in the 2008 Presidential Election we saw the biggest voter turnout in about four decades*. It became clear that in order to a win a political campaign you had to have an online presence; but what if you’re running for office and don’t have the luxury of a new media team?
Here are 5 tips to getting your campaign off the ground and getting you in office, while spending almost no money through new media:
Have a Website
The website is far and away the most important part of a political campaign now a days, regardless of what you’re running for. People don’t just expect you to have a website, they expect you to have a site loaded with quality content that will keep them wanting to learn more about you and what you stand for. There are a handful of companies out there that actually build political campaign websites, namely The Prosper Group who is actually very reasonably priced and offers a litany of other marketing services. A website now works as a candidate’s political ID card and should include your stances on all the prudent political topics at hand, as well as pictures or videos of any type events you’ve been to.
Setting Up Your Social Media Accounts
Your social media presence is equally important to a campaign, but for different reasons. I like to call your social media campaign an offensive attack. The main website is there for people to find while a Facebook or Twitter account allow you to reach out to people, which is obviously an extremely important factor in a political campaign. Want to reach out to conservatives? Join Conservative Facebook groups and post your thoughts. Have an event you want liberals to show up for? Spend a couple of dollars on an Ad that you can specifically target to democrats living in that approximate area. When you join these groups, be sure to actively participate in the conversations that are happening, if you appear passionate you have a better chance of winning people over. You should also be sure to tweet to other like-minded members on Twitter and build your following in the new digital version of a grass roots campaign. With Social Grow you can now take your database of signed up volunteers and supporters and seamlessly build your social media profiles within minutes, something of which is extremely valuable.
Linking is important because you never know where new people are coming from. Some may have heard about you through Twitter and want to see your homepage, while others may want to “like” you on Facebook after reading your political stances through your homepage. Everything needs to trickle back to your homepage, think of it as the mother ship to your whole online strategy. You need to be completely overloading your followers or potential followers with fresh and original content. One of the more under-the-radar tactics I’ve found success with is picture tagging. Facebook gives you the option of tagging yourself to pictures you may not have uploaded, what this does is introduce you to people viewing the pictures of other people they’re following who probably have the same ideas or qualities as you (or else why are you taking a picture with them).
Press Releases Are Essential
In political campaigns, any sort of positive press is considered a huge slam dunk no matter what level the campaign is on. What better press to have than through articles written about you…by you? Press releases allow you to control your fate in the media, a lot of newspapers receive press releases through the press wire and either just upload it verbatim or use it as a reference to build their articles. When I was in charge of writing press releases I made sure to always use PR Web because they have the cool feature of actually attaching a website of your choice below the release which encourages interaction and works as a direct link straight to your homepage and your subsequent social media sites, it’s extremely useful.
Update! Update! Update!
The importance of updating a homepage or social media site should go without saying, but I’ve unfortunately seen campaign sites that haven’t been updated for months. If you build up a steady stream of daily nuggets it will encourage people to keep coming back. The more you wait to add to your sites, the more people you lose along the way. Not only do you have a hard time retaining followers but it makes your campaign look sloppy and lazy which in turn reflects directly on you as a candidate. If you continue to add pictures of events you’ve went to, or videos of speeches you gave; you’ll find that not only will you keep people interested, it will help your SEO and in turn garner more followers interested in supporting you in funding and most importantly in the voting booth.
For any consulting inquiries please email Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org