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Who thinks these presidential political campaigns are absolutely crushing it on social media? I will tell you the campaign that is, as soon as I find one.
When it comes to data, campaigns get it. Campaigns can use the data available and figure out who their voters should be, target them with their message via direct mail and turn them out to vote on election day. They know how to market. So why is it that they fail on the social side?
Data geeks! In general, data geeks run the campaign universe today. I am not saying that is a bad thing, but what campaigns are missing is the personal side of the story. There is still a lot of value in being able to use data to identify who the target audience is, send them the correct direct mail piece, and turn them out to the polls. What is missing is the ability to connect with those swing voters on a personal level and convert them from a swing voter to a raving fan who likes the person because they feel they have developed a relationship with him or her.
Over the last 20 years, I have been involved in two primary careers, politics and real estate. There is a lot that the a political campaign can learn from a successful real estate agent who develops a relationship over time with their clients. That relationship starts out as professional but develops into a personal relationship. Once that happens, the real value of that customer (voter) kicks in.
Can we all agree that social media is huge right now? Can we all agree that the iPhone has replaced the TV set as the primary source of news and information these days? When you wake up, what do you do? Most people, 8-in-10 adults in fact, say that they grab their phone and check Facebook. Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, or whatever their social platform of choice is. Why do we do this? Because we want to know what is going on. If this is true for 8-in-10 adults, can you imagine what that number is for those who are politically engaged?
According to surveys, the number is even larger on the other end. Nine-in-10 American adults fall asleep with their phones. We so consumed, some would say addicted, to our phones because we learn in seconds if there has been any breaking news since we last put down our phone six hours earlier and fell asleep 45 seconds after that.
If we look at today’s political landscape we will see that campaigns are really good at sending out Tweets about their talking points. They do that very well. What they fail to do is tell stories and have real interaction with those swing voters who will vote for the person they know, like, and trust. When campaigns think about social media, all they really hear is media. I’m not sure if the failure here is from the campaign structure management team, which wants to strictly control every single word that goes out, or if the social team fails to recognize opportunities. Either way, this is a disconnect that campaigns can easily rectify.
Anyone can post to the social platform of their choice. I follow the campaigns every day online. Some post often to Twitter. Others Facebook. Some Snapchat or Instagram. My five-year-old can post to all those platforms. But there is a huge difference between posting to a platform and actually engaging your audience on that platform.
Over the next four weeks, I’m going to take a look at how the Presidential campaigns are using Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I’ll let you know where they are hitting it out of the park and where they are just standing at home base watching the ball go right down the middle of the plate.
Read the second post in my social media series here.