“Sticks and stones will break my bones – but words will NEVER hurt me!!”
We all chanted that as kids in the schoolyard, and it’s a good premise to follow as you grow up. But if you grow up to be a politician, this little rhyme no longer applies. Political campaigns can be down and dirty, and what’s said in a radio ad, written in the press, published on a website or in literature, displayed in a video or television message, or verbalized during a debate or newscast sound bite can cross the line.
Some of the stuff said might actually be true – the incumbent candidate may never even shown up on voting day in the state senate. Often, however, the facts are stretched and distorted like expanding rubber bands of cleverly worded ‘mistruths’ that will sting the candidate on the receiving end when they’re shot out into the media.
Social Media Counteraction for the 2016 Election Year
“All’s fair in love & war (& politics)!”
The keyword above is ‘ALL’ – and when putting EVERYTHING into the mix, the perfect communication component to broadcast a definitive, neutralizing countermessage to an opponent’s smear campaign during the next election cycle is SOCIAL MEDIA!
Social media has instant connectivity to the contingents of both your allies and opponents, with the ability to change the news cycle before the next morning paper hits the stands, or the evening MSNBC or FOX programming hits the airwaves.
Does your campaign team have the social media expertise to win this game?
If you currently are (or desire to be) an elected official, what should you do on your social networks in the initial stages of your campaign, and during the crunch time leading up to November?
Start your Social Media Campaign Well in Advance of your Political Campaign
“You gotta start somewhere…”
- Social Network Optimization – Your social media audience will not appear immediately — your social networks need to magnetically attract them. As a professional digital marketer, I have very rarely seen new clients come to DragonSearch with their social networks already set up and optimized to the standards they need them to achieve. Just like having an IT specialist tweak your computers to perform at peak functionality, a social media expert can do the same for your social web presence. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and any ancillary social networks in your social media strategy all need to be set up correctly and tuned up like a race car — well before the starting gun.
- Images – Build up a portfolio of images under the direction of your social media team. The pictures you use in a campaign flyer, or the headshots on the posters, may not be the best images to use on social media. A creative social media marketer will collaborate with the campaign team so that the perfect imagery for social is compiled.
- Messaging – The social media audience receives, views, processes, and responds to messaging very differently than in other communication mediums. Your political campaign team most likely does not have their fingers on the most appropriate pulse for each and every social network. A digital marketer will intuitively edit the messaging into the style that experience has shown to best connect to their desired audience. They’ll also ensure that there’s consistency in the candidate ‘brand’ voice of all the social media copy writing. The fact that many social networks have a word or character count limitation makes the social copy writing even more intricate to create. It’s not unlike the challenges of a songwriter or poet to sculpt the perfect phrase and establish the ideal cadence to express an abundance of passionate ideas, thoughts, and storytelling, all in a nutshell. Traditional campaign copywriters just haven’t yet developed this high-level skill.
- Build Your Contingency on Social – Create the social presence you need to make a difference. Some will find you, but for the most part, you’ll have to find them. A productive paid ‘Like’ campaign should be expedited on Facebook, and other such tactics specific to the other social networks should be enacted concurrently.
- Strategy – Did I mention strategy a little while ago? Yes, your campaign doesn’t just need a social media strategy – it needs an extremely AGILE & CREATIVE social media strategy! On social, things will be going out and coming in from all sides, and your social media strategist needs to be engaged like a Jedi – putting out your messaging, neutralizing any incoming negative smearing, and being the master puppeteer that’s creating the venue where your most passionate supporters can assist in both of these areas.
Social Media Advertising, Ads, Boosted Posts, Dark Posts, Like Campaigns… and more!
“Justice is truth in action.”
As you set up your political campaign, are you confident that you have an expert-grade level social media team who’s savvy, creative, and confident? Are they experienced in all the ins and outs and nuances of masterminding a social media advertising campaign of the magnitude necessary to be successful? In addition to having the potential to be a real difference maker in the upcoming elections, social media ads are the perfect way to counter the smear campaign that’s destined to be heading your way. You better be ready.
A digital marketing specialist with experience in political advertising knows how to hypertarget the precise, surgical messaging that neutralizes the smears before they create too slippery a surface to navigate within. A variety of different ads can be targeted to those on voter lists of both parties, including demographics and past voter participation, gender, income brackets, interests, group memberships, and any microcomponent in the audience segmentations that are tracked and profiled by individual social networks. A creative social advertising specialist will create images that entice, compel and elicit clicks to a unique stealth website page — one that delivers an enhancement of the desired information that best connects directly with the contingent targeted. A social ad expert goes way beyond pairing a typical campaign image with a slogan. Advertising is designed to draw the attention of the passionate followers: those that are somewhat easy to convert, the ones that will take more convincing, AND even those who may cross party lines to ride on your candidate’s bandwagon. The negative can turn into a strong positive, reinforced by your supporter’s interaction.
Smear tactics are intended to freeze a candidate’s campaign in its tracks, put them on the immediate defensive, make them backpedal, and render the campaign unable to deliver positive messages on their own terms within the storm of nasty, derogatory weather. It takes a professional that’s well-seasoned in all things digital to manage this hazardous causeway.
Our digital marketing team will know how to quickly generate social media heat that will melt the ice and insulate your candidate from the potential longevity of a negative smear campaign that has to potential to linger like a permanent cloud, stretching all the way to election day.
You ONLY Get One Shot!
“All’s well that ends well!”
It’s not likely that a political candidate will get a do-over. It’s often a one-shot deal: The one career appearance at the Super Bowl or the World Cup. The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win.
You get to choose YOUR team. Like picking players back in the old school yard, the best one gets chosen first.
So in advance of being smeared – it would be wise to choose DragonSearch to be the star franchise quarterback of your political candidate social media focus – BEFORE someone else picks us to be on THEIR side!