- Posted May 15, 2014 by
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Online media strategist John Deck on a significant change in social media that can make a big impact on the success of political campaigns.
The use of social media by Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns is widely recognized and documented for its major impact on the elections. As quoted in a 2012 CNN article leading up to the 2012 presidential election, Democratic strategist John Trippi said “I think this will literally make the difference”. The result is now history, Obama’s successful 2012 re-election. The impact of the Obama social media campaigns not only shook up politics but general marketing as well.
Social media (most notably Facebook) continues to grow and mature. A significant change in the last two years is Facebook restricting the “reach” of posts. Reach is simply how many individual Facebook news feeds a post is displayed in. It is reach and the “Liking” of posts that generates the viral spreading of messages. Online media strategist John Deck adds, “Reach was a key aspect of the success of Obama’s social media campaign to get their message out”.
Facebook is now a public company. It has reduced the “reach” of posts. This was done to explicitly drive companies and individuals to utilize Facebook advertising to get their messages out. That is the bad news; good news is social media advertising on Facebook has significantly matured. The result it is now an outstanding tool for brand building and promotion. Remember politics is still primarily about branding.
The key to successful Facebook advertising is demographics. This applies to ads running on the right side bar, or boosted post (posts whose reach is extended by advertising). Groups can be specifically targeted who will see the message. Different groups can see altogether different messages, even unique to the target audience. Here are just some of the demographics available to define a target audience:
2. Email address lists
5. Families with or without children
6. Facebook groups they have joined or not joined
7. What an individual has they liked or not liked
8. Zip code
Candidate can define and target specific groups with their message simply unavailable with mass media. Targeted messages can leverage events and other online and offline media content. Advertised messages can be quickly changed almost on the fly. Candidates can capitalize on changing events or news. Another key point is regular and advertised posts show on both desktop and mobile devises. Mobile support is of major importance with as many as 60% accessing Facebook from a mobile device.
Politics is won by developing support across a wide range of supporters and groups, addressing their often very special interests. As has been clearly demonstrated, mass messaging will not win the day. Facebook and other social media advertising gives local campaigns the ability to deliver their messages in a focused and powerful way that is not been available via mass media.
As summarized by John Deck, “Like with the Obama campaigns, it can literally make the difference in the success of a local or national campaign”.