With the 2020 presidential election looming ahead of us, everyone’s thoughts are turning towards the next campaign. How will potential candidates present themselves? How will they get their message across? And more importantly, what platforms will they use to do it? In 2016 President Trump proved to the world how effective digital marketing was – a method that had not been considered by politicians before.
Digital marketing for election campaigns was recently criticized due to the Facebook Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, used Facebook to steal the personal data of approximately 87 million people for political advertising. Facebook’s loose restrictions meant that Cambridge Analytica could unknowingly take enough information from someone to create a psychographic profile. This profile was then used to find out what advertisement would be most effective to persuade a potential voter to vote for their party. If you haven’t already, watch The Great Hack on Netflix.
The scandal has made both election candidates and voters wiser, and marketers have become more upfront of their digital strategies. So with this in mind, how can you use digital marketing to aid your own election campaign?
Used wisely, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be powerful tools in your election campaign. Trump used most of his digital advertising budget on Facebook, a tactic he later claimed helped him win. Social media can show voters how relatable and ‘real’ you are, and help you connect with voters on a more personal level. Potential voters can also interact with you instantly and from the comfort of their own home, opening up a dialogue for others to join in. This discussion can work tremendously in your favor – social media allows you to interact, carefully crafting your answers to create the ideal image of you and your campaign. You can then operate on your own ground, and on your own terms.
You may only have one goal or message in your campaign, but you will need to convey that in different ways to different people. For example, what works for a younger audience may not work for an older one. Digital marketing can help join these opposing audiences via various digital platforms to deliver your one message. It can also promote your campaign to people that may not see it otherwise. Trump used this tactic, known as micro-targeting, in the 2016 election. His marketers tested more than 50,000 ad variations on Facebook every day in a bid to micro-target potential voters. If you’re able to do this well, your message will be so ingrained in your audience that your message will eventually become their opinion, ensuring they will vote for you.
Lower Campaign Costs
Once upon a time, most campaigning used television or newspaper to communicate with the public. However, there was no guarantee that your target audience would see it, meaning that your marketing budget would be wasted. Marketing online is a different story. While scrolling the net, people leave behind huge amounts of information about themselves. Analysts can then use this information to predict a person’s behavior and demographics. This can be used to sway their vote. Digital marketing can be set to prime times when these potential voters will be watching, making the most effective use of your money. There are also digital tools that can track how well your advertising is going. This way, you can focus on which strategy to use, and not waste money on other ventures.
Research Other Candidates
If you and your campaign have a strong virtual presence, then it’s safe to say your competitors do too. So why not look them up? Not only is it an accurate way to monitor their success, but you may also learn from their campaigning mistakes. In this day and age, there’s no need to criticize or berate your rivals when their policies are online for all to see. Take time to read voters’ opinions on other candidates’ strategies. Do they agree? Or are they in conflict? This gives you an opportunity to take the policies of your opponents and improve on them. Undecided voters can be swayed towards you, and your image can be perfected.
Running for office? Need help with your digital campaign?
Southern Digital Consulting can create, implement and execute a full digital marketing strategy that will help you connect with the public. Contact us here to get started!