By Erica Rupp, guest blogger
Political elections have been forever transformed by the power of social media. As you may have observed, the 2008 Presidential election marked a major shift in strategy of political candidates to leverage social media to connect to the public (and particularly young voters). As the book Socialnomics asserts, “Interactive conversations are much more effective than one-way projections when it comes to engaging the voting audience.” The reality of social media interaction being more effective than traditional advertising translated to 2008 seeing the highest youth participation vote in history (Socialnomics).
In 2010, I volunteered on a campaign that relied heavily on social media to connect to voters. Here are just a few of the strategies:
• Twitter: have “retweet” campaigns where if someone retweets, they are entered into a drawing for a product like T-shirts, hats, etc., or an event like a fundraiser ticket or lunch with the candidate.
• For Twitter, select particularly relevant followers and follow their followers to gain your own followers. Also search for relevant hash tags to find people to follow who may in turn follow you.
• Ask Facebook friends to suggest your page to their friends who are like-minded and why their friends would be interested. Tell them how to do it for those who are still new to social media.
• Invite Facebook friends for input on decisions when appropriate—new campaign slogan, video content, etc.
• Ask Facebook and Twitter audience for photo and video submissions and feedback from events, i.e., "In what creative ways did you use your campaign bumper sticker?"
• Feature a Facebook “fan” from time to time: who he or she is and why this person is connected to you.
• Announce contest or giveaway winners, at the same time encouraging others to stay tuned for upcoming contests/giveaways and what they have to do to participate
• Offer a “sneak peak” at something that is not yet available elsewhere or is an exclusive to your Facebook and Twitter audience. The same can apply to a discount offer for an event or product.
• “Train” your audience to expect announcements and important information to be made through social media first, as opposed to email or other channels
Of course, many of these strategies can be generalized for other uses other than campaigns. What about you…has interaction on social media caused you to participate more with political campaigns? I’ll continue this discussion next week to talk about how rapid changes and additions to the social media world are again playing a major role in elections….