Even though there is plenty of good information about politics and online marketing, a lot of bad ideas persist. Here are some truly bad assumptions about political campaigning. Some are misconceptions about online marketing, while other assumptions can hurt your election chances.
“The more social media followers I get, the more people can keep up with my campaign.”
Social media followers are great, but to get followers for the sake of getting followers is a fool’s errand. For one thing, not everyone uses social media, so you are broadcasting your message to a gated audience. Second, not everyone will see your messages. In Twitter, tweets flow in a constant stream. On Facebook, you can count on less than 10% of your followers actually seeing an update – unless you decide to pay to promote that post.
Social media isn’t ‘free’ anymore – not in time or money. If you want to keep interested people in the loop, focusing on building your email list and texting efforts.Social media isn't 'free' - not in time OR money. http://ow.ly/eAgv30gBkca Click To Tweet
Another problem with going too deep too soon in social media is that you can get stretched too thin. Try to keep up on too many platforms, and you can be in danger of burning out fast. It’s better to start with what you can handle and grow with your available resources.
“I’m going to wait to start campaigning online until I have the money.”
That’s the old ‘chicken and egg’ question in online campaigning. Once you have a campaign bank account, the ability to raise money online is simple. Many people today prefer to donate online. Starting a campaign website does not cost much money, and it’s an investment that can pay for itself with just a few donations.
Our advice for local campaigns is to start small, use your online platform to raise money, and use that money to build your online marketing efforts. Time is not on your side in an election. The sooner you get started, the better.Time is not on your side in an #election. The sooner you start preparing to run, the better. http://ow.ly/eAgv30gBkca Click To Tweet
“I need to my domain and website running right away because I have already started my campaign and have print materials ready to go out.”
This issue comes up sometimes, and while our turnaround on websites is very fast, there isn’t a thing we can do if a client wants a domain that already registered by someone else. Domain names can be registered long before a website for a candidate is built. It’s a good idea to secure your domain as early as possible, because you cannot assume that name will be available later.
It’s seems obvious, but under NO circumstances should you print campaign brochures and materials with a domain name on it unless you already have a website ready for traffic.
“I just want a big image on my splash page… By the way, my website isn’t showing for searches of my name.”
Oh, boy. This comes up a lot. While having a splash page or large image on the home page may look great for humans, it doesn’t do much for search engines. Search engines cannot read images very well. If you want to have any search rankings, then you need to give the the search engines enough copy to read so they know what your site is about. How you write your text is important, so make sure you mention the candidate’s name, location, and elected position within in your home page copy.
“I’m going to let the website and domain go. I’ll start back up in the next election cycle.”
A lot of candidates and campaigns decide to shut down their website after the election. If they’ve lost, maybe they are done with politics forever. If they’ve won, they often don’t see the need to keeping a website until the next election. Unfortunately, shutting down a site puts a big hole in your online presence. All those links and articles that point to your website will be broken. The rankings you have for your name will disappear. And if you let your domain name expire, someone else will be free to register and use it for different purposes.
Even if a client wants to shut everything down, our recommendation is to at least keep your domain name active – especially if the domain includes the candidate’s name. Keeping a domain name is a nominal expense, and it keeps open the possibility of restarting another site with the same name.
And the bad ideas don’t end there…
There are a lot of misconceptions to political online campaigning. That’s part of the reason why we created the blog on this site. A lot of new candidates don’t really know much about the online world – and that can hurt their chances of willing. A little education goes a long way.
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