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In this series, started just over a month ago, we saw how campaigns can be more social on social media, whether it’s Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram. Now let’s talk about Facebook, the king of social media for several years now and most likely will remain so for the next few.
Every candidate and campaign should drive each of their supporters to “Like” their page. This means promoting your Facebook page everywhere, including print media with the URL (i.e., Facebook.com/RossForAZ).
Every business class or seminar says that the first thing you need is a Facebook page. When I was teaching real estate agents to use social media I would tell them not to bother with a page, since they’re a waste for those people. Yet here I am telling candidates to have one.
Facebook might be the most misunderstood of all the social media platforms. Most people think that when a supporter likes their page, that supporter will see their message whenever the campaign posts. It makes perfect sense, but it is entirely wrong.
Pages by themselves are a horrible platform. According to Facebook, when you post on your page, 16 percent of those who click like will see the post you are putting out there. According to independent research in 2012, the actual number was 12 percent. In 2015, that number was down to 7 percent. So, if a campaign has 1,000 people who like their page, they have a good chance of 70 of them seeing your post. That isn’t too different from the open rate of an email — nothing to get too excited about.
Then why should campaigns drive people to like their Facebook page? Because of the power of “dark posts.” These are “unpublished” posts that you can ensure will be seen by those who like your page. It’s a form of advertising that doesn’t appear as advertising to the voter. Dark posts are powerful because when it comes time to ask for money or manpower, you can reach your fans and greatly increase the chance that they see your message.
Their power comes from the segmentation you can achieve through the user’s previous Facebook behaviors. If you know that some of your fans like your page and like the local Right to Life group’s page, you can easily target your message to them. If they like your page and the NRA’s page, you can use a different message. You can also easily A/B test different calls to action to see which get the best response.
So in theory, you could set up 10 different posts based on your targeting. You could then send out those posts to see which works best, all without overposting on your page and spamming supporters.
Facebook should also be used for its powerful segmentation tools to attract new likes. Campaigns think their “Big Data” provides a lot of information about a potential voter, but much of that info and more is already in Facebook’s databases waiting to be tapped into.
Does this mean you shouldn’t waste any time posting to your timeline? No, you should still have daily Facebook updates. Your message will only be seen by a small percentage of those who like your page, but the goal is to get those who do see it to engage with the content. The more people engage, the more likely they will see your updates in the future.
But what about the haters? Every campaign will get haters who like your page just to post negative comments to your updates. The conventional wisdom is to read the negative comments, find one to respond to, and respond in a respectful way. For the most part, I would recommend the candidate him or herself stay away from a Facebook page since it can get pretty negative at times. Still, the power of targeting supporters with a message designed for them later in the campaign more than makes up for the bad stuff.
You should also make your Facebook content shareable and visual. This advice works for any social platform, but it’s something that campaigns often miss on Facebook. The main power of a post isn’t getting supporters to like or leave a positive comment; it’s getting your supporters to share that content. Your reach expands exponentially by getting your supporters’ friends to see your post. You want people to share as much of your content as possible; Images and visual content will encourage them to do so.
Also, at least once a week, use Insights to monitor your page. Insights contains a lot of valuable information about who likes your page, how they interact with your content, and when they interact. Once you know more information about your followers, you can more effectively work on a content strategy.