Running for local office? Congratulations! Do you have a website? A Facebook page? Thought about online display ads, or using video?
It’s not just statewide and national political campaigns that have to ask these questions.
With voters spending an increasing amount of time online getting their news, consuming information, and sharing it with their friends and family, political candidates who ignore their online presence do so at their own risk.
Traditional campaign strategies are still king. Shaking hands at the local diner, talking with parents at the soccer field, identifying key supporters, and actually getting out the vote on Election Day remain essential fundamentals for any candidate.
But whether running for dog catcher or president, a strong online presence can add credibility, amplify your voice, and expand your base, all without needing an additional fundraiser.
Here are some digital media components any campaign can use to boost their online profile:
This is your online campaign headquarters. It has all your essential information, including your biography, your platform, and contact information. But it can also help you recruit volunteers, accept donations, and is open to the public 24/7, unlike a physical headquarters. Fill your website with quality information and be sure to follow basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices to make your website easy for potential voters to find online.
Social media isn’t just for teenagers. A recent study found that 75% of all adults with access to the Internet use social media sites. In fact, 50+ year olds are Facebook’s fastest growing demographic – they’re also the audience most likely to vote.
There’s a reason why social media is called the new word-of-mouth. It’s how we share what’s important to us, including – and often – our views on politics.
Algorithm changes have made it harder to reach all of your Facebook followers through their news feeds, but Facebook ads are a great way to boost your reach and be seen on social media. With viral capabilities, social media remains an efficient and effective way to spread your message.
Historically, candidates run ads in the local paper. This is still a strong tactic as newspaper readers are generally also good voters. However, campaigns are spending an increasing amount of money on online display ads due to their unbeatable targeting capabilities, increased reporting transparency, and messaging flexibility.
Online display ads can reach 90% of all voters online, and be specifically targeted to thousands of audience segments such as gender, income, zip code, and interests. Imagine being able to present different messages to different groups of voters, and receiving daily performance reports!
Between the growth in smart phones and tablets, and the easy accessibility of Wi-Fi connections, people are watching more and more videos online. Not only do people prefer watching video over any other form of content, but viewers retain the information faster and better.
Informative, interesting videos can be shared through your campaign’s social media channels or even used as pre-roll that appears before YouTube videos and audience targeted much the same way as display ads.
These are just a few ways ALL candidates can use digital media tactics to complement traditional campaign techniques. You still need to knock on doors, practice your stump speech, and turn out your vote.
However, websites, social media, display ads, and video are all effective tools to supplement your efforts, expand your audience, and amplify your message – efficiently and effectively.