Category: Social Media


How Facebook plans to become one of the most powerful tools in politics – The Washington Post

Political campaigns are obsessed with two things: Telling every possible voter exactly what they want to hear in order to get them to the polls and cast the “right” vote, and telling them that message for as close to zero dollars as possible.

It’s not a surprise, then, that Facebook has focused its social-Sauron eye on the world of politics. Already a focal point of political activity (of varying quality), the site has shifted its toolset to let campaigns target extremely specific audiences with very specific messages, for prices somewhat north of zero dollars. The end goal for the company seems clear: Replace, as much as possible, expensive, blanketed television advertising with much more immediate, much more specific ads appearing in users’ feeds — and then cash a whole lot of checks.

The site has a proven ability to leverage social networks to political action. In our story about Facebook and politics earlier this month, we noted experiments in 2010 and 2012 in which Facebook explored how it could influence turnout. Four years ago, it introduced “Megaphone,” which let users tell their friends when they’d voted — and hundreds of thousands more people actually voted as a result. (This is the sort of thing that it seems like campaigns would be eager to add to their tool set — Eboch said he’d “definitely” be interested in it as a service — but a Facebook spokesman confirmed that it would not be a paid product.)

Facebook ads are “still more expensive,” Eboch says — costing $3 or $4 to show an ad to a very tailored universe of voters. That’s still cheaper than paying more to show it to a larger, more approximated group on cable television, especially since there’s no way to tell if the ad was seen, unlike on Facebook. It’s also pricier than targeting through YouTube, but it’s also more specific. “Facebook makes a powerful case” for video advertising because of that specificity, he said, but campaigns themselves are still wary. “We’re still a ways from the mentality that it’s about getting the right eyeballs and not just the eyeballs you can afford. I think Facebook can do it.” Facebook’s strong push into video indicates that it agrees. Video grew 50 percent on the network from May through July of this year.

via How Facebook plans to become one of the most powerful tools in politics – The Washington Post.


More voters follow politics on social media | #AlwaysOn |

Twenty-eight percent of registered voters use cell phones to track political news and campaign coverage, according to a Pew Research Center report released today. That’s up from 13 percent in 2010.

Voters are also more likely to follow candidates and political figures on social media (Facebook and Twitter) than they were four years ago. Sixteen percent do so now, compared with just 6 percent in 2010. And the uptick in political cell phone usage isn’t just a young adult trend.

Pew found that voters age 30 to 49 jumped into mobile politics in a big way, nearly matching the 20-somethings’ smartphone and social media usage for political news.

Voters from both parties said a “major reason” for using social media was the ability to form deeper connections with candidates.

As for other “major reasons” for following politics on social media, among Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents, 50 percent cited getting news quickly and 33 percent said the news on social media was more reliable than what they they get form traditional news outlets. Among Democrats, 35 percent cited the need to know quickly and 20 percent said social media news was more reliable than what they could get through traditional outlets.

via More voters follow politics on social media | #AlwaysOn |


Brands Are Wasting Money on Facebook and Twitter, Forrester Says – CMO Today – WSJ

Marketers are increasingly turning to social networks Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to start “conversations” and “relationships” with consumers. According to research firm Forrester, they might be wasting their time and money doing so.

“You don’t really have a social relationship with your customers,” analyst Nate Elliott wrote in a new report titled “Social relationship Strategies That Work.”

According to Mr. Elliott, top brands’ Facebook and Twitter posts only reach around 2% of their fans and followers, and less than 0.1% of fans and followers actually interact with each post on average. What’s more, Facebook announced last week that another tweak to its news feed algorithm will soon make it even less likely brands’ unpaid posts will actually be seen by users.

Based on Forrester’s research, Mr. Elliott urged marketers to think carefully about the ways they’re spending their money on social efforts, and to recognize that Facebook and Twitter are not what they used to be from a brand perspective.”While they’ll continue to collect billions in display ad revenues, they’re just not the most important sites for social marketers anymore,” he wrote.

via Brands Are Wasting Money on Facebook and Twitter, Forrester Says – CMO Today – WSJ.


GOP Has (Almost) Caught Up With Democrats In Voter Outreach, Targeting, and Mobilization – Matt Vespa

The 2014 midterms brought an end to the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, but also ended the tech monopoly liberals had in elections.

After being pummeled by Democrats in this field in 2008 and 2012, Republicans decided it was time to stop letting the Democrats kick the stuffing out of them in voter outreach, targeting, and mobilization.

While still behind in some areas, Republicans are virtually caught up–and it showed.

Back in October, CNN reported on how Republicans were going to night school to learn the basics–and importance–of digital technology in modern elections, amongst other things:

Night after night, Republicans are going back to school in an effort to build a new army of communications operatives for the Twitter age.
The courses at “Comms College” — the GOP’s secret training ground for social media-savvy communications staffers — are taught in a sterile conference room on Capitol Hill. Students are instructed that the modern news cycle, fueled by the disruptive power of the web and constantly-filing reporters, has no patience for old political playbooks.

There’s a session on opposition research and tracking, Facebook algorithms and Google metrics. There are also tips on dressing for television (no pocket squares, seersucker or dangly jewelry), and lessons on social media and partisan news sites that give campaigns the power to peddle their messages without the filter of “mainstream” reporters. Lockwood even has reading recommendations, including “Collision 2012,” “The Victory Lab” and “Double Down.”

Rob Lockwood, a veteran of the North Carolina Republican Party, spearheads the digital revamp of the RNC’s operations; folks call him “the dean.”

It was present in Georgia, where the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe documentedthe RNC outreach operations in the Peach State that proved successful; Democrat Michelle Nunn lost the senate race:

Republicans here and across the country are now emulating the tech-driven, national-style ground game long dominated by Democrats. Party officials want to use the new methods to draw out voters to support congressional and gubernatorial candidates this year and then prepare to help the party’s presidential nominee during the 2016 election.

In Georgia and other key states, the RNC partnered with state party operations to deploy paid staffers and millions of dollars in new databases, apps, Web sites and phone systems.

While they cannot coordinate with the GOP, the Post also noted that conservative organization, like Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, was also engaging in revamping their micro-targeting and voter turnout operations of their own. So far, Faith and Freedom has a database of 33 million social conservatives from 21 million households.

via GOP Has (Almost) Caught Up With Democrats In Voter Outreach, Targeting, and Mobilization – Matt Vespa.


The (increasingly) complicated relationship between Facebook and politics – The Washington Post

There is at least one study that suggests that Facebook advertising may have helped influence an election. Journalist Simon Owens pointed to a 2011 Facebook post that outlined an evaluation of ads in a Florida ballot measure in 2010. The group Vote NO on 8 bought Facebook ads in Dade and Broward Counties to argue against the proposition, which then failed. Not only was there a big difference in the vote in the two counties where ads ran (19 percent more opposition), but people who were exposed to more online advertising voted 17 points against the proposition than those who saw fewer spots. Owens notes the results from a poll taken after the fact: “heavy web users who were on Facebook were 10 points more likely to vote no on 8 than Democrats (who may or may not have seen the ads) were.”

We already knew that Facebook could drive people to the polls. In 2010, its experiment with an “I Voted!” button increased turnout by 340,000 during that year’s midterms. In 2012, a different experiment ensured a select group of users saw more hard news as Election Day approached. The group that saw more hard news apparently turned out 3 percentage points more heavily.

via The (increasingly) complicated relationship between Facebook and politics – The Washington Post.


Politics News: 3 Ways Ed Gillespie’s Campaign Harnessed the Power of Digital | InTheCapital

Here’s a look at three unique areas in which Gillespie’s digital strategy made a major impact, as first reported by Darren Samuelsohn of POLITICO.

1. Facebook targeting of Buffalo Wild Wings Republicans.

Gillespie’s campaign used the digital consulting firm Engage to create an internal Facebook app, building an algorithm to find potential supporter that haven’t necessarily “liked” a political page, by mining other business and people users may have “liked.”

For example, Gillespie’s camp found out that the restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings was the second most common shared “like” among conservative leaning independents in Virginia. So Gillespie made an appearance at Wild Wings, and posted a photo of himself sitting in the establishment to Facebook. His campaign then spent $100 for a targeted Facebook promotion, ensuring it showed up at the top of the newsfeed for 25,000 Virginians who were fans of the restaurant.

2. Having Twitter surrogates tweet out the campaign’s message.

Gillespie’s campaign made a point to pre-craft tweets to respond to any number of things Warner could criticize the Republican on. This way, whenever Warner or his campaign said anything, Gillespie’s campaign could immediately fire back on Twitter.

Popular Republicans in the state such as state Senator Mark Obenshain, Representative Bob Goodlatte and former Marriott CEO Fred Malek were also recruited to blast tweets from their own Twitter accounts praising Gillespie’s performance in the debates, which contributed to #VaSenDebate becoming the top trending hashtag in the Virginia and Washington markets.

Twitter was used constantly as a first line of defense for the campaign, and even on election day Gillespie was able to make a splash in encouraging voters to turn out, by highlighting how close the race was expected to be according to the exit polls.

3. Developing a mobile app for targeted canvassing.

Gillespie’s campaign built out a mobile app called Advantage, which drew on the RNC’s massive database of Republican leaning and undecided voters. Built by the Arlington-based firm Advantage Inc., Republicans paid $3,000 a month to use the app in order to more efficiently reach out to potential voters, skipping Democratic households and focusing on building report with independent voters.

via Politics News: 3 Ways Ed Gillespie’s Campaign Harnessed the Power of Digital | InTheCapital.


They Like Me, They Really Like Me – Darren Samuelsohn – POLITICO Magazine

As he campaigned with frenzied energy along the Virginia coast on the Sunday before Election Day, with a growing sense that an historic upset was in reach, Ed Gillespie made a curious stop — at a Virginia Beach branch of Buffalo Wild Wings, the sports-bar chain.

The Republican Senate candidate wasn’t there to cheer on the Washington Redskins. He was there, amid the framed jerseys of NFL greats and giant-screen TVs, for the sake of Buffalo Wild Wings itself. His digital adviser had crunched the numbers: Buffalo Wild Wings was the second most common Facebook “like” for conservative-leaning independents within his social network — the same kinds of people whom Gillespie desperately needed to get to the polls.

So Gillespie’s campaign posted a picture of him sitting among fans, gazing up at the football game, for his Facebook page. The campaign then paid $100 to ensure the image rose to the top of the Facebook newsfeeds of more than 25,000 carefully selected Virginians — a big-league bang for only a few bucks.

“It made perfect sense to me,” Gillespie said of the decision to spend precious last-minute time staging a Facebook posting in an exclusive post-election interview.

Just two years ago, Republican candidates, by all accounts, lagged behind Democrats in the use of social media and real-time data to reach undecided voters. For an uber-strategist and veteran of the George W. Bush and Mitt Romney campaigns like Gillespie, the lesson was clear: Get serious about data-driven campaigning.

via They Like Me, They Really Like Me – Darren Samuelsohn – POLITICO Magazine.