Top 4 Digital Marketing Tips for Political Campaigns

Top 4 Digital Marketing Tips for Political Campaigns

While it may seem like we just got out of one election cycle, the next one is already ramping up. One of the first places you may notice this is on social media. While you might think of political advertising only as television and radio ads, social media is also filled with political ads. And, it’s not only national or state-wide campaigns on social media. Local candidates running for mayor, city council, prosecutor, school boards and other positions also turn to social media to get their campaigns up and running. However, there’s a lot more to digital marketing for political campaigns than just posting a picture with a quote. If a candidate isn’t careful, he or she could get shut down entirely for not following the rules.

At Asher, politics is in our DNA. Our founder, Tim Borne, started Asher as a political agency and helped dozens of campaigns. Eventually the focus shifted to advertising and marketing in general, with politics continuing to be a factor. In fact, 30 years later, Asher is still involved with many political campaigns, including individuals running for office at the local and state level, as well as finding support for particular policies or initiatives. Asher also works with several government agencies throughout the U.S.

Rules to Political Campaign Marketing

Now that we’ve explained our experience and expertise, we do have a few tips for digital marketing for political campaigns. To compile this list, we talked to Grant Crawford, a digital analyst and media buyer at Asher and one of our resident political experts. In his role as a digital analyst, he knows the ins and outs of digital advertising, including everything social media. Grant also has an insider’s view of politics. He served as campaign chairman for his father, John Crawford, who was a long-time city councilman in Fort Wayne and mayoral candidate in Fort Wayne.

Here are Grant Crawford’s top four digital marketing tips for political campaigns. Follow these and you can avoid some of the pitfalls of social media campaigns.

  1. Know the CURRENT rules. The most important thing to remember about the rules for social media posts and digital ads is that they are always changing. Just because something was true last month, doesn’t mean that it’s true today. Staying on top of the many rules and regulations tied to political campaigns and social issues on Facebook and other platforms is a complex juggling act that can be difficult to navigate on your own.
  2. Keep your facts straight. Yes, candidates have been known to stretch the truth a bit. Actually, that may be an understatement. But, in today’s world of instant fact-checking, you’re much better off to stick to provable facts. Of course, you want a candidate to have opinions, but make sure they are stated as that – an opinion, not facts. Plus, if a candidate gets caught spreading lies it can blow up in their face, take over the narrative and even get them banned from a platform. So, remember what your grandparents taught you: Honesty is the best policy.
  3. Stay positive. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but Grant has found that the best way to reach voters is with positive messages rather than negative ones. As he says, “It’s better to keep the focus on your own candidate by sharing their ideas and solutions instead of putting the focus on your rival’s supposed shortcomings.”
    Staying positive in postings not only puts your candidate on higher ground in the eyes of many voters, but it also lowers the chances of getting shut down on social media.
  4. Engage with readers. A successful social media post is one that excites the audience and gets them to engage. It’s important for candidates to do the same. Grant points out that being responsive on social media is such a simple thing that is often overlooked. He goes to on explain, “Someone could easily make a comment on a post or an ad and then forget the message the candidate was trying to express. But, when dialogue is happening, it is going to be more memorable for voters.” He goes on to say this is true even if the initial response from a reader is negative. The impression of responsiveness is a positive for anyone running for office. Responding to negative comments also allows you to reshape the narrative back to the original thought instead of a smart post getting derailed by commenters.

Much like politics itself, the social media and digital components of a political campaign can be tricky business. Don’t leave it to chance. Bring an expert, or a whole agency of them, onto your team to make sure you always put your best foot forward.

To discover what’s new and what’s next, reach out to Asher today.