The Art of Social Media and Politics


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I’ve been working hard and not communicating online. Not a good choice for a social media consultant, and certainly not the advice I give to my clients. The hard work has been with a candidate in a primary campaign in a small state. There are five candidates for the same position so the small pie is being cut into very thin slices, and just edging out the other opponents is all that is needed. There is no requirement for a real majority.

I have a candidate who is a natural for social media. He genuinely engages with people, listens to them and remembers what they say. Facebook, especially, has been a strong means of communications for him. The mobile upload of pictures from meet-and-greets in towns around the state and his personal comments keep him in touch with his Facebook friends, and keep his  supporters not only engaged with him, but also with other supporters. We’re on the final stretch of the campaign with Election Day coming up on June 1st.

Right now, it is all about a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) strategy, and – in addition to targeted mailings and phone calls – we’re using social media. Asking each Facebook friend to communicate online or offline with voters who are either undecided, or just plain not that informed, is being added to the GOTV plans. With the exception of high profile primaries like the Democratic primary in 2008 or some 2010 primaries that are getting attention based on ideologies or trends they represent, most primary elections fall into the “low information / low participation” category. This is why leveraging the connections nurtured on Facebook can make such a difference. If each Facebook friend can turn out a few extra votes, it could make a big difference

Recommendations from friends and family have been shown to be the deciding factor in product buys in study after study. While voting for a candidate is not literally a “product buy,” it is still a very similar process.  People weigh the benefits of various products and make a decision, and people weigh the positions and reputation of a candidate before casting a vote. However, there is as much – if not more – mistrust of political messages than product messages, so recommendations from a friend who knows the candidate should have a strong impact. At least, that is my working theory. I’ll let you know is 9 days if my assumptions pay off.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Catherine Sherwood
Catherine Sherwood is a consultant specializing in social media, strategic marketing and common-sense search engine optimization. Her insights and expertise are backed by 20+ years of business experience at the senior executive level.


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