Senior Director of Digital Operations RJ Caster recently led a “Social Media Overview” discussion at an event hosted by the Leadership Institute. RJ joins our #StrategySession today to share the highlights of his presentation and our team’s top tips on the role of social media in a campaign.
Social media plays an important role in today’s campaigns.
Certainly, the primary role of social media is talking to voters. A well-run social media presence can help accomplish that at a time when traditional field work is hampered by COVID-19 regulations and social distancing.
But that’s not the only role of social media in a campaign.
Social media is also valuable for:
- Gathering data
- Gaining feedback
- Talking to the media
- Driving the narrative
If we’re being honest, it’s also a bit of a popularity contest that can help build steam for a campaign, give the candidate confidence, and help with public perception of a campaign’s strength and popularity among voters.
Where do you start building a social media presence?
Start with your audience.
Focus on the “who” – who are the people you want to speak to, move, or persuade? How many of those people do you need to speak to in order to move the needle?
Next is “what” – what are the issue these people care about? What motivates them?
Then “where” – where are these people within your district? Are they in a city or more rural area?
Now “when” – when are good times to try and organically reach these people?
Next is “why” – why are you talking to the people you are talking to at that moment, and what are you hoping to get out of it?
Last is “how” – how are you going to engage these voters? What platforms are you going to use?
Be sure to brand your social media presence.
That can be as simple and straightforward as coordinating the design of the profile and cover images across mediums. The more consistent you are, the better.
Get yourself politically verified and be prepared with an ad account and verified disclaimer to boost your posts.
The roles of a social media manager and a digital firm differ.
A lot of people on the campaign will have a say in social media because social media is highly visible and immediate.
A digital firm can offer weekly to monthly planning and can be great for creating engaging content and a schedule that aligns with your overarching campaign strategy. That includes content like timing posts to coordinate with debates or correspond with TV ads.
An organic digital team will focus on daily execution. Pictures and posts from the campaign trail, live streaming videos or recording videos for later, and interacting with voters online all give the candidate a human touch.
A social media manager will need to determine what days and times are best to post on each platform.
Create a cadence you can adhere to. Social media is a long run, not a short sprint. Include in your schedule regularly-branded content like #FollowFridays and #ThrowbackThursdays. Highlight vetted supporters and their reasons why. Use “Stories” to give a behind-the-scenes look at your candidate, like a backstage pass. Balance planned posts with organic posts.
Remember video is king. Many mobile videos are viewed without audio, though, so be sure to include text on-screen to deliver your message.
“It’s no surprise video has become the preferred method for candidates and campaigns to share their message with voters. By 2022, 82 percent of all online traffic will be video. That’s up from 75 percent in 2017, according to research by Cisco. The combination of sight, sound, and motion in video engage users at much higher rates than standard text or pictures alone.
“President Trump’s post of an edited clip of a CNN logo being body slammed in a wrestling ring generated over 39 million views, while video of Beto O’Rourke skateboarding helped put him in the national spotlight.
“As video content has grown, so too have opportunities to share them. Campaigns can share video on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, over-the-top TV, text, and in-app on mobile devices. The list goes on and on.”
– Reid Vineis, Vice President of Digital, Majority Strategies
All said and done, have fun with social media.
That’s what voters respond to, and a well-balanced mix of planned and organic material will help you accomplish that.
Don’t be afraid to try new things and test, test, test to see what works best with your audience.
Ready to get started? Reach out to our team of state and national strategists today.