Building a website and creating social media accounts is not a “Digital Campaign”. In fact, these efforts can be counterproductive if you don’t recognize that they are part of a much bigger initiative. Simply put, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms should be viewed as a means to an end. They are online tools designed to help you implement your overall campaign strategy. The questions you really have to ask include: “How do I turn a site visitor into a supporter, a tweet into a door knocker or a Facebook update into a phone caller? Most importantly for a political campaign “How do I leverage all of my online calls to action to win votes on election day?”
It’s actually a bit misleading, and outdated, to refer to Digital Strategy as anyway separate from overall campaign strategy. Campaigns need to learn about and utilize available tools and digital teams need to work closely and cooperatively with the rest of the campaign team.
Here are some key questions to ask about your digital campaign strategy.
- Is it fun and easy for your existing supporters to recruit their friends to become volunteers, donors and campaign ambassadors?
- Are they recognized and rewarded for doing so?
- Is your campaign able to measure the level of engagement of your online supporters?
- Is your campaign able to match its email list to your online supporters?
- Is your campaign able to monitor what supporters are talking about online?
- Does your campaign have an online “rapid response” team?
- Does your campaign A/B test its online presence and message?
- Can information collected from voter interactions be added to your voter database in real time?
- Has your campaign purchased consumer data and added it to your voter database for the purpose of improving your modeling and micro-targeting?
- Regardless of what digital campaign tools your campaign possesses, is there a culture of commitment to use them daily to advance the campaign’s goals through Election Day?
An effective Digital Strategy will enhance communication, coordination and conversion. When we say “communication” we mean both internal and external. Time is perhaps the most precious commodity to a campaign, so wasting it by wading through endless email streams or working on documents that are two versions out of date can be fatal. Press releases, email, social media, blogs, online advertising and all other forms of campaign communication need to be focused, branded and monitored for effectiveness.
A political campaign is a collection of hundreds of moving parts traveling over ever-changing terrain in an often hostile environment. Coordination is key to successfully navigating your way to victory. You need to ensure that your campaign staff and volunteers are on the same page...even if they’re not in the same state.
Ultimately a campaign is about conversion; converting undecideds to supporters,. converting supporters to donors, volunteers and “brand ambassadors” and converting potential voters into actual votes on Election Day. Doing this successfully requires research, planning, execution, meticulous monitoring and the ability to adjust strategies as conditions change.