As a former Digital Campaign Manager on a successful election campaign in 2016, I’ve created the following recommendations for politicians and campaign managers to help them effectively and practically leverage digital channels.
by Rob Lovegrove on July 21, 2016
Strategy and planning
Collate relevant electronic databases of supporters to capture mobile numbers, emails and social media accounts. Segment your audiences to tailor content for them.
Define milestone goal based on your name recognition, political currency/incumbency, etc. Your goals should be based on party politics and whether you hold the seat or you're an opposition candidate.
Define what each of your digital channels will do for your campaign – such as recruiting or mobilising supporters, announcing commitments, fundraising, denouncing opponent comments, and aligning with journalists or political commentators.
Listen and monitor
Monitor your opponent to understand their stance on policies. Be prepared to capture any moment of indiscretion by your opponent.
Understand your local community and their online groups – which groups support your opponent?
Monitor journalist channels such as Twitter and keep monitoring multiple channels for references to you and your campaign.
Monitor your audience trends – are they accessing your content via mobile or desktop? Are they interacting more with video posts or written posts? What time of day are they engaging with you?
Channels and tools
Different channels provide different benefits.
Broadly they can be broken down to three main structures:
Central hub such as a website to host policy commitments, biography and wayfinding for your other content and channels.
Tools to directly engage supporters. Usually closed channels such as login pages from your website, email, SMS or closed groups and hangouts on social media.
Outreach tools such as public-facing social media pages to cater for supporters and swing voters, recognising that detractors and your opponents will be monitoring this content.
Understand each channel and define which are for ’selling‘ and which are for collaboration and sharing.
Don't be afraid to show the real you. The electorate often vote for someone they can relate to. Elaborate on a policy announcement by telling a personal story.
Different channels lend themselves to different content. Interpret your story to suit the channel and its specific audiences.
(it doesn't have to be a Hollywood production) and consider subtle elements like shooting vertical video for mobile-centric Snapchat and Instagram.
Interact with supporters on their pages. Not all content and engagement needs to take place on your channels.
Ask and incentivise supporters to share your digital content, thank them and take the time to support their causes.
Don't stray too far from your traditional key messages and campaign strategy – be genuine with your content.
If you wouldn't want to see it on the front page of the paper, don't post it.
The size of your electorate will dictate your need and scope of digital advertising required.
Don't use social media advertising and boosted posts to attract ghost followers. You want to encourage genuine engagement.
Remarketing techniques allow you to reach back out to people once they've left your channel. Serving up content via banner ads should be specific to the information they were interested in.