I am politically hungover.
I do love the political season....it is a good chance to get involved, pick up some new clients and make some money. This year, I struggled with my sanity a little bit more because in '10, social media was sort of new to us on a personal level, much less known on a business perspective. My business was just six month old and I picked up a US House of Rep client (he won, thank you!!!) and my new friend Cyndi and I figured out very quickly what belonged on social media and what belonged cluttering your mailbox, your ears or your eyes during the nightly news.
This election season was a little more intense and I learned a lot. Some things I removed off my candidates FB page would defy your belief in the human race. So sad....but using social media in a campaign gave me an opportunity to promote happy positive news and keep each candidate branded and top of mind.
This year I had six clients, only one didn't make the primary, but I thankfully picked up his opponent. I had a Sheriff, a Clerk, a County Council candidate. a Judge and another House Rep. (all W's!!)
Some takeaways for the next time I venture into doing social media for politics, although probably good tips for any Facebook campaign (pun intended!):
1. Set Up Google Alerts for the race your candidate is in, the area they are running in and their opponent (s). Feed it into Google Reader to keep it all in one place. This will give you an arsenal of Facebook posts and lets you be on top of articles that you may have missed. Also, make sure your custom url for Facebook is on all your marketing materials. You should be constantly sending people to your Facebook instead of your website and use FB to push material from your website. This way, once they like you...they are hooked and will constantly receive your updates. Its hard to get people to keep visiting your website at that frequency.
2 When you set up your Facebook page, use your Google Reader to get your Notifications. Unless you want to refresh every five minutes, this is a convenient way to respond to comments, observe chatter and monitor your presence. Get your RSS notifications here.
3. Warm and Fluffy Rules-Social Media is the place to make the candidate appear full of nothing but unicorns and rainbows. Do not attack your opponent, discuss anything negative or bash. Promote your candidate's good-doings, great news in their district, endorsements, volunteer help needed, events where you could use support, etc. Those negative ads? They belong in print, radio, direct mail...not social media!
4. Time and Frequency-Besides you, your team and your mom...no one cares about this campaign for as long as you do. You should post once a day every other business day until ten days before the election, you can then post once daily. Please keep the posts short and sweet, no more than two lines or you will lose them. Please post only during business hours. People do not want to see your rhetoric at 10p at night. Be the source for the election as a whole, posting general voting information. Your content should be not always about the campaign, mix it up a little. You can also talk and share any good news that organizations the candidate is involved in does.
5. Remove the Haters-Keep your eye on the notifications and ban the haters. Just be careful that you are not playing God when someone writes a fair balanced opinion. But definitely remove the yuck that talks ill about your candidate or supports the opponent. Stay on top of it, the notifications will help. Also, make sure you answer questions when people ask...the worst thing you can do is leave an unanswered Facebook message from someone looking to help support the campaign.
6. Hyperlink other businesses to bring them in. When you do an event, the next morning you should thank the business or organization that held it, if possible by tagging them. How to do that is here.
7. Hire a professional. Of course at some point I was going to mention this! It just makes a lot of sense because it really is work intensive to be a success on social media for your campaign. It helps that you have a member of your team paid or not to do solely just this. Staying on top of it and being consistent can be very hard to do when you have other campaign aspects to worry about. It is also helpful to have an impartial person that isn't emotionally connected to the campaign to post. That way it really can stay fair and balanced.
What did you like about this political season that you saw on social media?? Be sure to leave it in the comments!