Knocking on doors is an age-old campaign ritual for election candidates. It offers great photo opportunities, but it might not be the best way to build grassroots support these days.
Even large gatherings covered by traditional media – television, radio, newspapers and magazines – may not be enough, especially when it comes to reaching young voters.
Instead of trying to win voters over one by one by going to their homes – or even a few thousand at a time at campaign rallies – I think political campaigns could use social media influencers to launch what I call a “popular digital campaign”. ” This involves using social media influencers to build support for a candidate. This approach could reach millions of people very quickly.
The ability of influencer marketing to affect consumer behavior quickly made it a worthwhile industry. up to $ 8 billion, and nothing suggests that this only works in the for-profit world. I am the co-founder and CEO of an international influencer marketing firm that uses this tactic successfully with nonprofits to reach millions of people on behalf of special causes.
Perhaps the best proof that influencer marketing can shape the political landscape comes from Germany, where earlier this year a 26-year-old music producer and YouTuber known as Rezo sent shockwaves through the country’s political landscape. On May 18, almost a week before the European Union parliamentary elections, Rezo posted an almost 60-minute video on YouTube accusing Germany’s most powerful political party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU ), to destroy “our lives and our future”. The video has gone viral (it has over 15 million views to date), and some political commentators have pointed out “the Rezo effect“when the CDU lost seven percentage points in the election. A newspaper editor wrote that” throughout Germany the video had the unusual effect of opening the doors of the rooms of many teenagers who had left their computers to make urgent recommendations to their parents. of the next European elections. ‘”I think this shows the power of influencers when it comes to reaching people – especially younger ones – and getting them to take action.
Before I explain what a digital local campaign looks like, let me explain why the influence of social media is so important.
Social media influence
According to Pew Research Center, Generation Y and Generation Z will together represent 37% of eligible voters in 2020. The challenge is to get many of these young voters to go to the polls. Only 46% 18-29 year olds voted in 2016, compared to almost 71% of voters aged 65 and over.
Social media is essential not only to reach these voters, but also encourage them to vote. As reported by Bench, social media is the most popular way for young adults to find out about themselves: “36% often get news there, leading news websites, TV (16%), radio (13%). %) and the written press (2%).
In addition to getting most of their news from social media, many of these young voters also come together in social media communities to debate hot topics, and they follow and trust the thought leaders they there. find because many of them consider these social media influencers to be reliable.
Building a digital campaign from the ground up
For many candidates, digital campaign strategies appear to be based on four basic approaches: candidate websites, candidate social channels, mailing list building, and social media ads. It all makes sense and can build a solid digital foundation, but it might not set you apart from the crowd.
With a digital local campaign, candidates can amplify their messages using influencers young voters already know and trust on specific issues. I’m not talking about celebrities, I’m talking about microinfluencers with an audience because of their expertise on issues like immigration, healthcare, or income inequality.
Companies have known the value of microinfluencers for years. I saw with my own eyes how businesses can use to increase their conversion rates – the number of people who actually buy their products.
Winning voters is no different. In elections, the conversion rate simply becomes getting voters to go to the polls for your candidate.
To launch a basic digital campaign, a campaign would first like to identify influencers who share the candidate’s point of view. Focus on people with a specific expertise or cause who have built a community of subscribers online.
There are great influencer discovery and outreach platforms that campaigns can use to identify influencers. When choosing influencers, it all comes down to knowing your target audience. First, create an audience figure, a semi-fictional archetype that represents the key traits of a large segment of your target audience. Based on this, you can start researching influencers. The best influencer for you is someone whose number of social media followers best matches the personality of your audience.
Once you’ve found your ideal influencers, consider inviting them to the campaign bus with traditional media and offering them opportunities to interview the candidate. This will allow them to share their unfiltered content with their communities. Remember: An influencer followers usually trust them, so a candidate’s approval does matter. It’s like getting a restaurant recommendation from a friend rather than reading a review from a stranger online.
Campaigns can also invite these influencers to their gatherings and let them cover their events, via Instagram Stories or Facebook Live, and let their communities vote on campaign goals to see what resonates and where to fit.
Regardless of party affiliation, mastering the influence of social media is important for any candidate. Grassroots digital campaigns have the power not only to raise awareness of the candidate and their position, but also to have a positive impact on voter turnout. Campaigns may want to adapt to the times and take a page out of the business world by harnessing the power of influencer marketing.