US election 2016 was observed as a classic example of how online media can have impact on the elections. From that time onwards, every election across the globe sees the scope of online media campaign in a much wider canvas and started using online media more effectively.
The 2016 presidential campaign in US started from June 2016 onwards, from the start itself the country was waiting for Hillary Clinton to be the next US president, every exits pol and to all the three presidential debates, she only scored and on every phase of election campaign Donald Trump was way behind Hillary Clinton.
But to the surprise of whole world, as the results came in on election night, November 8, 2016, Trump won in multiple states that had been predicted to go to Clinton. In the early morning hours of November 9, media sources declared Trump the winner of the presidency, crediting him with 279 electoral college votes where 270 were needed to win. Clinton then phoned Trump to concede and to congratulate him on his victory, whereupon Trump gave a victory speech. His victory was widely described as a “stunning upset”, since most pre-election polling had predicted a Clinton win.
One of the reasons for this “stunning upset” was the effective use of online media for his success. The whole Trump campaign got deep rooted impact on the voters by propagating the various stands he projected thru online campaigns like his opposition to illegal immigrations, patriotism projection and various trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, earned him support especially among voters who were male, white, blue-collar, working class, and those without college degrees. His success was based on how effectively he can convert unbiased voters to his side by making use of the immense potential of online media.
How to create a Successful Social Media Political Campaign
It’s widely accepted now that social media and online campaigns are playing vital role in election campaigns and in that line to build a successful strategy for political social media plan, few of the best and effective tips to think from before the announcement of someone going to run to his eventual election are listed below.
Be ready with your Social Media Political Campaign
Election announcement and candidate announcement will happen on time, but before that itself you have to be ready with your plan of branding and that will become the foundation for your online campaign during the election to address your voters.
- » Assigning a professional social media team to handle your online campaign can be the first step. Having a social media team with inclination towards your political background will be the best choice, who can help to manage your social media accounts, create content according to your ideas, design positive posts, respond to comments and support to grow your social media following.
- » Have a detailed discussion with that social media team to convey your vision and to create a political social media strategy, which includes social media calendar, engagement goals with your potential voters and even to plan your budget for paid campaigns.
- » Optimize all of your social media accounts and make it a platform to provide authentic information about you and your visions for the future.
- » Target PERSONA identification and development of strategy accordingly. Target PERSONA is the specific crowd in your society, who can vote for you, these are the people you’re trying to reach to win your election so you need to have a firm understanding of their needs, behaviours, what social networks they’re on, and what is most important to them.
- » Your personal social media accounts should not be used for online election campaign, advising to have separate political campaigns with separate accounts exclusively for that purpose. Utmost importance should be given to avoid blunders being posted and secondly even putting strange suggestions are fine, unless you yourself have a perfect answer for that suggestion raised.
Use social media tracking tools like Social Walls and Social Media Monitoring tools to keep up with:
- ➼ People engaging with your political campaign accounts
- ➼ Trends on current topics important to your political campaign
- ➼ Your key political competitors
- ➼ Addressing the thought process of the unbiased voters
- ➼ Engagement of new voters and their feedbacks
- » All the social media platforms should be effectively used to reach every segment of the society. LinkedIn mostly used by high level professionals, FB for all level of peoples including families, INSTAGRAM by youth and even celebrities, Twitter a totally different category, so you should have a good understanding of where the target audience is for your political campaigns so make sure you’re engaging with them on the right social networks.
- » Your vision and plans should be clearly tailor-made for every segment of the society and to your target PERSONA. Make sure that those personal messages and designed posts got resonates with them and that impact should determine the success of your election campaign.
- » Your messages and posts should be different for each social media platform, this is not only to avoid content canonical issue, but every other social media is having a different style that people follow and we need to understand and accordingly plan our posts and strategy.
- » Maximum try to use your own photos and videos for getting more engagement and that way becoming closer to your target PERSONA. Video posts gets maximum reach and that reason its always advisable to have video posts also and to have a YouTube channel for the campaign.
- » Make use of all online communities to the best, as these communities are platforms to initiate discussions and to get correct feedback from cream layer community, particularly about your political campaign or topics that are important to the campaign we are planning.
- » Try to create statements or plan which can become viral, not everything will become viral, but if you are successful in creating something in the process, that will give popularity and brand image will definitely have a positive impact.
- » Online media is a two-way communication path and from that you can get feedback immediately. We need to get maximum feedback on the political campaign, positive or negative. It’s a quick way to get a sense of what’s important to the supporters and critics of political campaigns. It also shows your followers that you care about their needs and desires.
- » To your political campaign website and email signature need to add all your social media accounts and thus reach and branding can be enhanced.
- » Online social media contest on serious social issues is one another way to get followers engaged and to to share the contest’s social posts on their social profiles getting more views with each share.
Every other person who is having plan to run his election, already knows the importance of social media and digital marketing/branding and only challenge is to find the right online digital marketing service provider and how to do things in the right way.
The simple steps to develop your election campaign strategy are;
- ➼ Develop your online brand
- ➼ Develop a clear online strategy for your election campaign
- ➼ Identify your target PERSONA and leverage targeted Ads
- ➼ Tell your story effectively thru all online platforms
- ➼ Make use of all social media platforms
- ➼ Make use of website for data collection
- ➼ Have news letters and email campaigns for maximum engagement
- ➼ Frequently measure your results
- ➼ Always be ready to change your strategy
According to the recent Wall Street Journal report “spending on political advertisement is projected to hit a new high in 2021, surging $ 3.6 billion above the previous spent.”
It’s imperative that, you need to go beyond the tradition election campaigns and need to embrace the new trends and join the power of online marketing for your success.
"Think beyond limits and enjoy success by embracing the change to new media marketing."
Dr Girish Krishnan.
Business Consultant and a Digital Marketing Evangelist.