Which Social Media Platform Does Your Campaign Need? by Beth Becker & Neal Rauhauser

By at June 2, 2011 | 5:31 pm | Print

Which Social Media Platform Does Your Campaign Need? by Beth Becker & Neal Rauhauser

There has been a tremendous flood of interest in blogging and social media due to the 2006 and 2008 election cycles. Every campaign needs to have a strategy, even if that strategy was inspecting the value of such an effort and determining it was either unaffordable or unnecessary for the election in question.

We have a short checklist we visit for each campaign we talk to that helps them determine in what order they ought to approach social media.

The very first thing every campaign needs, from Senate down to state house, is a read on the blogosphere. There may very well be a diligent, partisan citizen journalist out there who’d love to write about your campaign. If you can locate this person take the time to get into DIRECT contact. It can not be stated strongly enough; in this age of click activism sending an email, asking for a phone number, and dispatching your communications person to speak with a citizen journalist will raise eyebrows … and their interest.

You won’t do it for every time, but if the blogger you select is tuned in to a certain issue you should provide exclusive access on the topic, making them the first release point. This is particularly important if your campaign draws national rather than local or regional interest.

Do you need Facebook? Twitter? Both? What about MySpace?

Nobody needs MySpace – it’s played out. Not only that, but demographic of MySpace doesn’t include a heck of a lot of actual voters so don’t waste your time and energy. Wasn’t that easy? And picking which of Facebook or Twitter to do first is nearly as simple as that.

Are you running a local or regional race? Facebook supporters for your political fan page will be 80% district residents and the rest will likely have some tie to the area. A Facebook ad campaign runs a few hundred dollars monthly for a federal House race. You’ll need one or two of your own pieces of news weekly. It’s not a bad move to provide a link to a local newspaper article that will drive policy discussion on the days you’re not making news of your own.

Are you running a state wide race? Or is there some controversy in your regional race that makes it a state wide or national issue? If you answer yes to either you need to consider Twitter. This emerging market lacks the simple structured, targeted ad program that Facebook provides. My company, Progressive PST, does provide such services specifically for political races, and many are making due with commercial aka network marketing tools. This open, rapidly evolving discussion space does have best practices, but we’re updating our recommendations on a monthly basis.

Beth Becker and Neal Rauhauser are the principals of Progressive PST, a social media consulting company that specializes in working with Gubernatorial, House and Senate campaigns.  They are also the co-founders of the Blog Workers Industrial Union.

www.progressivepst.com       progressivepst@gmail.com    212 642 2675  


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