Tech Campaigning: What Businesses Can Learn From Election Season

Guest Post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor at ChamberofCommerce.com.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is an election today. If you have managed to escape the inundation of television ads, you have probably seen a heated argument or two on one of your social networking profiles. While people were certainly on sites like Facebook during the last Presidential election, the number of people using these platforms has exploded in the past term.

To put it in perspective, Facebook hit the 100 million user mark in August of 2008. Just last month, it was announced that Facebook passed the 1 billion regular monthly user mark. Twitter had around 100 million Tweets per quarter in 2008; today over 340 million Tweets are sent out in just one day. If the management at either social network was asked, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” the answer would be “yes.” Add in the widespread use of smartphones for instant access to email and text messaging, and it is clear that smart campaigning through technology will drive voter action.

Campaign managers have taken note of these communication changes. From local city council races to the battle for Executive in Chief, campaigns are addressing voters where it counts.  “We’re seeing a significant increase in politically oriented clients approaching our members for campaign management and development in the areas of email marketing, mobile marketing and other areas of online marketing,” said David Bayer, CEO of ChamberofCommerce.com.  “Although not surprising, in Q2 of this year alone we’ve seen more online spending by political groups than all of the last three years combined.”

It remains to be seen how effective these methods are in overall fundraising and voter turnout, but it stands to reason that people that are aggressively targeted through technology are more likely to make their voice heard on election day.

There are some things that every business owner can learn from these technology-driven campaign strategies in order to reach clientele more easily through email, social media and mobile devices. Here are three technology takeaways from this election season:

  • Say the same thing in several different ways. Customize your message based on the format. If your company is rolling out a new product or service, run a related contest that is specific to Facebook, and another that is for Twitter users. Add one more way to enter through an email-specific link. For routine company promotion, switch up the content based on the platform. Stacey Acevero gives tips here on how to extend the content life of a blog post, where she mentions getting creative with Tweets. She reasons that the same information can be shared more than once with modifications to the social media message. The same is true for any message that your business wants to share with customers and potential clients.
  • Personalize content. Both Presidential candidates are doing a good job bringing emotion into play. Aside from television ads with “real” people telling stories of how each candidate helped or hurt them, each campaign sends out emails from people other than the candidate. Social media sites feature the same approach. The thought is that if voters can relate to the struggles and triumphs of these everyday people, they will be more likely to take action. This is an impactful lesson for businesses to maximize. Do not simply tell consumers about your awesome product or service; show them how real customers have benefited through reviews or testimonials.
  • Include a call to action. Campaigns make it easy for those in the voter base to donate any amount of money with just one click in an email or by replying to a text message. There are also a number of items that ask for electronic signatures, showing support for a variety of causes that each candidate finds valuable. Businesses should always be sure to include a call to action in their own messages, whether they are through email, mobile devices or social media postings. Do not just tell potential customers to “visit the website;” make it easy for them to take immediate action.

 

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com and covers small business products and services as well as business news.  ChamberofCommerce.com is the most trusted online business directory for small businesses and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Image: acaben (Creative Commons)

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