Oct 25, 2018

Digital content in the final stretch

Here are six recommendations for making your digital program run seamlessly in the final stretch.

Han Nguyen

Now is the time when campaigns accelerate toward the finish line, which often means long days and nights subsisting on coffee and/or energy drinks. Organizers, staff, and volunteers are working overtime to call voters and knock on doors.

And a lot of that voter contact work happens on the internet, too. More than ever, voters are turning to technology and social media for a new type of political engagement. With midterms around the corner, digital advocacy campaigns have become inextricably integrated with Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts. A recent survey by Pew Research Center shows that a plurality of Americans use social media more than ever in 2018.

With Election Day fast approaching, what are the things you should be doing on social media to enhance and promote your on-the-ground GOTV efforts? Here are six recommendations for making your digital program run seamlessly in the final stretch.

Use all media for volunteer recruitment.

A big part of the job is mobilization—after months and months of engaging volunteers, the time is ripe to make the big ask and snatch up volunteer shifts for Election Day. Plan to recruit your volunteers with email, social media, and texts.

Be strategic about where you post “Get Out The Vote” content.

We know from the plethora of studies conducted by groups like the Analyst Institute that there are tactics that work and others that don’t for GOTV. For example, we know that email doesn’t generally work for turning voters out to vote on Election Day. However, when we ask people when, where, and how they’ll vote, our tactics become more effective. Unsurprisingly, we’ve seen these learnings applied to several campaign outreach tactics like texting using tools like Relay, Groundbase, or Hustle — and I recommend that you should too. Today, it is very common to use these tools to remind people to vote, make a plan, and more.

Use search ads.

Search ads are often overlooked by campaigns. Voters are humans. And humans often procrastinate. So in the final weeks and days leading up to an election, we can reliably predict that there will be much higher search traffic on your candidate. The best way to capitalize on that is to set up some good ol’ Google search ads so that you make it as easy as possible for voters to find the information about your candidate.

If you have additional budget, it is worth having a conversation around expanding GOTV ads to places like Facebook and Instagram. Target your audience using databases like the voter file so that you ensure only the voters you want to mobilize see your messages.

Ads are quick to set up, and in most cases a very affordable weapon in the arsenal that you should not go without.

Plan in advance.

In the days leading up to Election Day, it is highly probable that you will be operating on very little sleep and too much caffeine—increasing the likelihood of mistakes. So, in addition to writing all the content you need in advance, be sure you have additional eyes to proofread and make sure you won’t be creating problems if you, for example, announce the wrong dates and times for a polling place. Trust me, handling the inevitable fires that will pop up AND dealing with day-to-day content writing is not fun. The biggest favors you can do yourself are to create content in advance and to have an approval/proofreading systems locked down.

The biggest favors you can do yourself are to create content in advance and to have an approval/proofreading systems locked down.

Set up your livestream.

Are you planning on livestreaming Election Night? You’ll have some prep before that can happen. Speak with the venue to make sure you have a stable internet connection and talk with your advance person to ensure you have the best spot to capture video.

Prepare for winning—or losing.

An essential part of planning for Election Day is being prepared for win or lose situations. I highly recommend handling the victory and concession emails and social posts days before. Regardless of the outcome, you will likely be an emotional wreck.It will be nearly impossible to write a long email. Your supporters on social and email deserve to know in a timely manner what is happening—and, if necessary, what is next.

The big takeaways here are to plan—because planning will set you up for success and less stress—and to keep things simple, such as avoiding introducing shiny new tools and tactics. It’s better to have the basic things done well and planned in advance.

Let’s win this thing, one click at a time.

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