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Social Media Works for Political Campaigns

Social Media Makes Politics “Local”

Today, every political campaign needs a comprehensive strategy on how to reach voters through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media channels.

For example, President Obama has more than 39 million likes on Facebook, and this helped him deliver messages and raise money during his last campaign. This is not organic, and this is not “grass roots.” This was a calculated strategic plan. And it worked.

Former Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill famously said that “All politics is local” and social media is making that more true than ever before. It used to be that most of us couldn’t point out our local representative, councilman, alderman, or public advocate if we tripped over her, but that’s starting to change, thanks to social media.

Consider this…

  • 73% of American internet users visited social media pages to collect up-to-date political information during the 2010 elections.

  • Over 22% of American adults used Twitter for political information during the 2010 elections.

  • Political tweets that include photos see a 62% retweet boost over text only tweets.

  • The demographic using social media to learn about candidates often does not use or trust other information conduits for this type of information.

  • In 2008, over 1,800 videos were uploaded by Obama supporters to the campaign’s YouTube channel. These were watched for 14.5 million hours. That much broadcast TV time would have cost $47 million.

Tailoring Messages to Different Audiences and Platforms

Candidates at the local, state-level, and national level are using multiple social media channels as key elements of their overall communication strategy. Political campaigns’ should customize their messaging for different audiences on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn:

  • Facebook works to build a core community where Fans can share comments and learn more about the candidate.

  • Twitter is great for getting quick reactions to information coming out of the campaign.

  • YouTube works to both disseminate information in a more personal and conversational way than a press release and can respond to constituent questions in a way that benefits other viewers.

  • LinkedIn is a professional forum where specific campaign issues can be addressed via text or video.

In the past, often the only ways to find information about a local election were politician lawn signs, public access TV, and local newspapers. Now, if a candidate doesn’t have a social media presence, they are at a disadvantage. Additionally, a major advantage to politicians using social media is that it’s free for voters to use. Social media allows voters the opportunity to hear directly from elected officials and candidates that might not otherwise have been seen in newspapers or on television.

We can show you why…

  • Your campaign needs to be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

  • A candidate blog is valuable in multiple ways.

  • You need social media to reach new voters.

  • It is vital that your social media strategy seamlessly integrates with your existing communication plan.

Politicians Find Success on Social Media

For example, Alex Torpey, the Village President of South Orange, N.J.,  used social media during his 2011 campaign as an alternative to TV, radio, and print ads. His campaign realized significant voter contact and attention by communicating his message where they are, on social media. He continues to experiment with paid promotions on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other channels.

U.S. Senator Mike Lee of Utah, has built a dynamic social media presence that extends beyond his election campaigns, into an ongoing informational campaign that focuses on the core issues he has built his reputation upon. This is a form of issues marketing that keeps him in the conversation as an opinion leader on a range of topical issues.

Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader, Dominic Pileggi has also used social media in his recent campaigns, to positive effect. His campaign understood that politically active people are subscribing to the candidates on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. They also understood that less politically savvy people are not, yet they still see those messages when their politically active friends comment, “like” or retweet them. In many cases, the only way people without much interest in a campaign find out about a candidate is through their social media network. A candidate may have X subscribers, but will reach exponentially more people because of the viral effect of social media.

Social media as a campaign tool is now a reality for all political campaigns and is a key ingredient in communications strategies. Whether it is used to spread awareness about your campaign, coordinate events, or raise money, a thoughtful and well managed social media campaign will help you better communicate your message to the voters.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can leverage social media to meet your goals. Whether it’s a political campaign or a small business, Dream Local can help.

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