FAQ: Digital Marketing for Political Campaigns

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You may not reach every voter in person. However, you can communicate with a much larger audience with social media and digital outreach.

The digital world has to have a part in your campaign plan — there’s no other way to reach voters as quickly and efficiently as a digital strategy allows.

Let’s look at some of your most frequently asked questions regarding digital tactics for political campaigns.

What is digital marketing for political campaigns?

The word digital is thrown around a lot, but what does it mean?

It’s your website. Your social media. It can even be your email.

Digital should work in conjunction with every aspect of your campaign. It is most effective working in combination with your field, fundraising, communications, and other programs to meet the goals you need to win.

digital marketing for social media

It’s one of the easiest, lowest cost ways to get folks engaged and continue to communicate with them about how to interact with your campaign.

You can’t only contact voters using digital media, but it can be a great way to boost your name recognition, share information, and recruit supporters to engage.

What can digital do for me?

Every campaign has limited time, money, and people.

The same is true of digital marketing for political campaigns. You need to figure out who is going to manage it, how much time you have to devote to your digital presence, and if there is any budget that can be dedicated for it.

But, it needs to be intertwined with your overall plan. Just like your field plan and your finance plan, your digital plan should be a team effort and make sense within your larger campaign strategy.

Click HERE to take our Digital 101 course!

With digital marketing for political campaigns, you can raise money, drive action and amplify what you’re doing offline. Digital allows you to engage voters no matter where they are.

Why do I need a website?

Your campaign website is essential in supporting your overall campaign goal of earning more votes. It is a primary way people learn about you. It does that in a few ways:

  1. First of all, you own it. You control it. You make the rules, you make the content. It’s your show to run. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can change the rules of the game whenever they want and disrupt your content on their site. Your website is yours to own and control how you see fit.
  2. It tells the story of you as a candidate. It’s a chance for you to lay out your message in the way that you want to. It allows you to show voters what you stand for and what issues are most important to you.
  3. It gives people a vehicle through which to give you money. Think about it. If you want to donate to a campaign, where do you go? Every campaign website should include a way for supporters to donate.
  4. It tells supporters how they can volunteer. Just like the donate button, your website should show supporters how they can get more involved in your campaign.
  5. You can use your website as a way to collect support’s, potential supporter’s, and voter’s information so they can follow along with your campaign. By collecting their email and other information, you can update supporters (with a newsletter!) on your campaign.

Why do I need to use social media?

The 2016 election showed us that social media can have a huge effect on campaigns. It’s probably not going to win or lose your local campaign, but many folks do get their political information from social media.

digital marketing for political campaigns

Seven out of every 10 American adults are on social media. Regardless of who your audience is, there’s a pretty good chance they’re talking online.

If that’s not enough to convince you that your campaign should be on social media, think about it like an investment. If you’re elected, there are a lot of ways that a strong social media following can help you do your job better.

Doing a good job in the campaign, will pay dividends, not only in helping you get elected, but helping you be good at being an elected official and for your next campaign.

If I don’t like social media, what do I do?

Social media isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.

But, remember, you are NOT your voters. Even if you don’t like social media, your voters most certainly do. While we aren’t saying that you need to make a personal account that you’re not comfortable with, we do strongly suggest that you create at least some form of social media for your campaign.

digital marketing for political campaigns

Social media offers you an unparalleled opportunity to interact with voters on a mass scale — that’s something that your campaign can’t afford to miss out on.

Okay, fine. I’ll do ONE social media channel. What do I use?

Facebook. Facebook. Facebook.

Yes, the President loves his tweets, but most Americans still love Facebook.

Seven out of every 10 adults are on Facebook and most people use it daily. It’s by far the widest reaching social network in the United States and therefore should be the one your campaign is spending the majority or all of it’s social media time and attention on.

Above all else, if you only have time for one social media platform, it should be Facebook.

How often do I post?

The early stages of your campaign are a good time to be on the higher end, as high engagement will help you expand your audience. Once a day will keep you in folks feeds and should be manageable for you.

digital marketing for political campaigns

But, all bets are off when you get into Get Out the Vote mode. Post as much as you can the last week before the election to remind people to volunteer and vote.

However, you should never sacrifice quality for quantity. While posting more frequently as you get closer to the election is important, none of it will matter if you stop making quality posts in favor of a higher quantity of posts. If you post very frequently but they aren’t thoughtful and effective posts, you are more likely to annoy voters than to persuade them.

What content do I use on digital?

Figuring out what to post can be tricky. One major guiding principle: make it clear how your audience’s actions make a difference.

In your posts or emails, you should tell people how they’re going to make a difference. They have a busy life with lots of things going on too.

digital marketing for political campaigns

Why should they take the time to take this action you’re asking of them? They need to know their participation really does matter.

For example, you might say: Our campaign needs 10 volunteers on Saturday to make phone calls to voters in your area to remind them to vote on November 6th. Volunteers like you are the only way we’ll be able to talk to enough voters to get us to the finish line and win this race. Here’s where you sign up: (and then include a sign up link!)

Improving Your Digital Game

All things considered, as the digital world advances and changes, so will your digital game. Facebook, Twitter, and all social media sites are constantly changing algorithms and platforms.

By staying up to date and utilizing digital strategies, your campaign has the ability to reach voters in a fast and efficient way that can significantly impact your election.

Want to learn more about improving your digital strategy?

Click HERE to take our Digital 101 course!

Click HERE to register for NDTC's trainings!

What questions do you have about the Get Out The Vote phase of your campaign? Email [email protected] and your question could be answered in next month’s FAQ!

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Jacob is a Communications Associate for NDTC. Jacob was initially an intern for NDTC in 2016 before moving on to work for both a Chicago Alderman and an Illinois State Representative. After working in Parliament in the Republic of Ireland, Jacob joined NDTC in April of 2018. Jacob is a graduate of DePaul University with a degree in Political Science. Outside of politics, Jacob tries to forget the Chicago Cub's century of losing while enjoying their recent success.