Here are some of our top dos and don’t for campaigning online in the 2014 election cycle. Being online isn’t an option for candidates anymore, no matter what size campaign you are running.
Do start early with your online campaign. There is a lot you can do online right now in preparation for your campaign. Begin or continue using social media, put material about yourself online and begin building your online reputation.
Don’t register the wrong domain name. Adding the year or position to the domain name can easily make the name irrelevant in the future. Using a non-specific name, like the candidate’s name or ‘vote’ and name, will last much longer and can be reused over multiple campaigns.
Don’t commit to a domain name before you own it. Even if you are waiting to start your campaign website, do not commit to using your chosen domain name before you have secured it. There’s nothing worse than ordering campaign supplies listing a website that is wrong or, worse, owned by someone else.
Do invest in a campaign website. The barriers to entry are low, and there is no reason why a candidate in any local race should fail to have a website. Some people have misconceptions about using the web for campaigns, but at Online Candidate, we work to make the process as simple and painless for the client as possible. (Domain name registration is included.)
Don’t ignore social media. If you still think social media is a fad, then you haven’t been paying attention to politics. 42% of online adults use multiple social media sites. Start early and get your feet wet long before the campaign kicks into high gear.
Don’t think that social media is a one-way medium. It’s a two-way street, and if you’re not willing to engage others online, then it really isn’t social. Listening provides insight and interaction drives engagement. It’s almost like building a real relationship, but online.
Do take online political donations. Integrating online donations is not very difficult. Third party payment processors provide a simple and inexpensive way to accept payments online, both through your campaign website and through other sources. Don’t forget to open your campaign bank account early!
Don’t let visitors leave without a strong call to action. Every page of your website should ask for something. It can be a donation, a share, a volunteer request or even simple reminder to vote for you.
Do give a reason for visitors to come back again and again. Provide regular news and updates to your site. Include interactive features to keep visitors interested and engaged.
Do know the difference between your primary and general election. While nothing is ever really ‘deleted’ on the web, you may want to consider tweaking or expanding your online message for the general electorate after you’ve won your primary. ‘Red meat’ may get you on the ballot, but a candidate usually has to attract more than just the base to win a general election.
When it is time, wind down your online campaign properly. Your supporters deserve it.
Online Candidate websites include an easy-to-use interface, great custom design, and built-in tools designed specifically for political candidates. Plus, we provide great support! Check out our campaign website packages.