This past election season I saw something that I had not seen in previous campaigns. On both National and Local elections I noticed that several candidates used Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to try to get their message out. Most of the candidates reached out to friends and family to help them Share the messages their campaign put out.
There were, however, some candidates that took a stab at a new option that will most definitely be an option in the Next election cycle. Targeted Online Advertising.
As Gary Vaynerchuk often states, “Social media is just a slang term for the current state of the internet – the websites and apps that people consume on their mobile device. The mobile device is the most important platform in the world: the phone is becoming the television and television is becoming the radio.”
For those of you that like to skip through articles I am going to do you a solid and put an idea here that I am going to discuss further down below. This is a very simple idea that could help the next Politician (or person hoping to run as a candidate) win their election before even running it.
“Use Facebook Ads to get in front of your targeted audience on a regular basis WHILE you are in office or during the time leading UP TO an election. Get a little bit of their mental real estate for your Name, Your Brand, Your Message”
The engine of the Trump campaign was its digital operations division. Headquartered in San Antonio, the Trump digital team consisted of 100 staffers, including a mix of programmers, web developers, network engineers, data scientists, graphic artists, ad copywriters, and media buyers. The chief executive of Trump’s digital operation was Brad Parscale (@on Twitter) , a successful entrepreneur and founder of the marketing agency Giles-Parscale Inc.
Parscaleworked closely with President-Elect Trump and was one of select few members of Trump’s inner-circle entrusted to tweet from his personal Twitter account, @ realDonaldTrump. Parscale’s lack of prior campaign experience was actually one of his greatest assets.
“I always wonder why people in politics act like this stuff is so mystical,” Parscale says. “It’s the same shit we use in commercial, just has fancier names.” On the strength of Parscale’s ability to generate campaign donations using Facebook and e-mail, the digital operations division was the Trump campaign’s largest source of cash.
In the Bloomberg BusinessWeek piece, “Inside the Trump Bunker, With Days to Go”, reporters Sasha Issenberg and Joshua Green detail how deeply President-Elect Trump was interested in his campaign’s digital strategy and fund raising operations. “Trump himself was an avid pupil. Parscale would sit with him on the plane to share the latest data on his mushrooming audience and the $230 million they’ve funneled into his campaign coffers.”
100,000 Trump Campaign Websites
(Photo Credit Slate.com)
In the early days of Trump’s campaign, Parscale was given a small budget and the goal of expanding Trump’s base of supporters. Parscale made a calculated decision to invest all the money on Facebook advertising. Using his laptop to buy $2 million dollars in Facebook ads, Parscale unceremoniously launched Trump’s first digital ad campaign.
To start, Parscale uploaded the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of known Trump supporters into the Facebook advertising platform. Next, Parscale used Facebook’s “Custom Audiences from Customer Lists” to match these real people with their virtual Facebook profiles. With Facebook’s “Audience Targeting Options” feature, ads can be targeted to people based on their Facebook activity, ethic affinity, or “location and demographics like age, gender and interests. You can even target your ad to people based on what they do off of Facebook.”
Parscale then expanded Trump’s pool of targeted Facebook users using “Lookalike Audiences”, a powerful data tool that automatically found other people on Facebook with “common qualities” that “look like” known Trump supporters. Finally, Parscale used Facebook’s “Brand Lift” survey capabilities to measure the success of the ads.
“one day in August, his campaign sprayed ads at Facebook users that led to 100,000 different webpages, each micro-targeted at a different segment of voters.”
In total, Trump’s digital team built or generated more than 100,000 distinct pieces of creative content.
(Public Domain from pixabay)
But is there danger in using Social Media to maintain your political position or to win the next election? There was a recent case that has politicians concerned and somewhat confused on how to use Social media. In a recent article that was written about a case coming out of my state of Washington;
Ethics board fines Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, $5,000 over Facebook posts
(Photo from Wikimedia.org)
The state’s Legislative Ethics Board has ruled against state Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, who chose to fight allegations that she violated state ethics rules by posting legislative videos and photos to Facebook.
In a ruling released Friday, the board said Stambaugh misused state resources for campaigning when she posted the videos and photos produced by legislative staff to a page that also included campaign materials.
The ethics rule Stambaugh violated is intended to maintain access to public records while blocking the use of state resources in campaigns, according to the board.
Stambaugh was found to have committed 44 violations for posting 19 videos and 25 photos in 2015 and 2016.
While the maximum penalty for that number of violations would have been $220,000, the board instead fined Stambaugh $5,000, the maximum penalty for a single violation.
Reached Friday morning, Stambaugh said she plans to challenge the ethics board’s ruling.
She said the board’s decision serves to “inhibit direct communication between legislators and the public,” adding that the legislative materials in question were available for download on public-facing social media sites such as YouTube and Flickr.
“If any member of the public can use them, that also applies to legislators,” Stambaugh said. “This is about government information being shared with our constituents.”
Stambaugh’s case marked the first time a legislative ethics panel has held a hearing in Washington state in 22 years. During her December hearing, Stambaugh argued that board members were applying the state’s ethics law in a way that didn’t account for how people use modern technology.
Key to Stambaugh’s argument was the photos and videos in question were already posted on social media sites geared toward sharing those types of materials. She argued that restricting her use of the photos and videos violates her free speech rights and subverts the state’s Public Records Act.
The board rejected those arguments, saying Stambaugh’s logic would “allow legislators to direct the production of any number of taxpayer-funded videos and photos which could be used on campaign websites and social media platforms without restriction.”
“Such a misuse of public resources would be inconsistent with the broad policy reflected in the ethics act and would enhance the power of incumbency in legislative campaigns,” said the ruling released Friday, which was dated Feb. 14.
The board reiterated its previous stance that Stambaugh’s posting of legislative videos to Facebook would have been proper had she linked to the original legislative source website, rather than embedding them directly on Facebook.
The board has stated lawmakers can link to legislative materials from campaign sites, but they cannot post or embed those materials in a way that allows them to be viewed without leaving the campaign page.
The board faulted Stambaugh for not purchasing the state-produced photos that she posted on the site, as most lawmakers do when they want to use official photos in their campaigns.
Stambaugh has 10 days to ask the board to reconsider its ruling. She has 30 days to decide whether she wants to appeal the board’s final order in Superior Court.
She said Friday she is still weighing which approach she will take.
If she doesn’t challenge the decision, Stambaugh is expected to pay the $5,000 fine within 90 days.
Public Domain from pixabay
I think the problem with the case above was the Photos and Videos that were used which were produced by Taxpayer money, not the fact that Melanie Stambaugh used Facebook to help her with her campaign.
What would I do if I were a politician? What would i do if I were trying to win the next election and unseed the current office holder?
I would do four things:
1) Create an ongoing Facebook Ad showing your Name, Image, and where to find information about you
2) Have the Ads lead to a Landing Page that you have attached a Facebook Pixel to in order to track visitors
3) Offer a sign up to a Monthly Update Newsletter that shows either the things that you are doing in office, or if you aren’t in office point out the things you Would Have Done instead of what the current office holder did.
4) Make that Newsletter a Post on your Facebook and then Boost the post to your current audience that hasn’t signed up for the newsletter as well as those that have not gone to your landing page.
This is the other point you need to take home
A campaign using Targeted Advertising to Specific Audiences can be as inexpensive in Ad Cost as $1 a Day. Spent over the next 12/24/36 months, and with the Free Organic reach you will get when anyone “Likes” or “Shares” your post, you can have your campaign in full force before the election season EVEN STARTS.
You also have the ability to upload your Email list to Facebook and if people have their email attached to their Facebook account you can target them with your ads.
If you do the things Now that people will be talking about in a couple of years you will have the advantage.
“If you see a bandwagon, it’s too late.”
– James Goldsmith
Don’t be late……….