Facebook Campaign Strategy for Political Candidates
How to Establish a Winning Facebook Campaign Strategy
When you’re getting ready to run, one of the first things to think about is establishing a Facebook campaign strategy. No matter what level of office you are running for, Facebook is one of the most powerful communications tools modern-day political campaigns have. This can be where you announce your candidacy online, and how you update and communicate with supporters throughout your campaign. And while the possibilities are endless, it is important to be thoughtful and strategic about how you post, what you post, and when you post.
We know it won’t be news to you that when you’re running for office, there’s never enough time in the day – especially the closer you get to Election Day. For this reason, it’s a best practice to create a social media calendar at the start of your campaign that outlines what you will be talking about generally on the campaign’s social media each week.
Once you’ve set up your calendar, you can use it to inform your Facebook campaign strategy. For example, how often will you plan on writing posts? Will you be writing mostly standard posts, or getting creative and using features such as Facebook live? As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to post on Facebook at least three times a week. Once you’ve decided on your general Facebook campaign strategy, you can start to write and schedule out your posts. Some posts you can create at the start of the campaign, such as volunteer appreciation posts or GOTV posts. You can schedule these out directly through Facebook’s platform by clicking on the arrow next to the “Publish” button, and then clicking “Schedule.” Other posts you can plan out on a weekly basis based on the current events of the campaign. However, it is important to make sure that whatever you post fits into your Facebook campaign strategy and your social media calendar that you set at the beginning of your campaign.
Writing Content: Posting with a Purpose
Part of your Facebook campaign strategy should be making sure that every action you take has a purpose. Therefore, when writing a Facebook post, it is important to define the goal of each post. Is your goal to obtain general visibility, or do you hope to drive sign ups or donations? Once you’ve identified your goal, you should choose a call to action accordingly. If your goal is to gain visibility, you may want to ask your followers to like or share your post to get it in front of more eyeballs. If your goal is instead to drive donations, your call to action might be to click on a link to donate to the campaign. And one last thing before you post! Always, always, always proofread before posting.
#Hashtags and @Tagging
At the start of your campaign, you and your team should brainstorm 1-3 campaign hashtags that you can use in most of your Facebook posts. If the opportunity exists, come up with a clever or unique hashtag. For example, for a candidate with the last name Flynn, a good hashtag may be #WinWithFLYNN.
In addition to including your campaign hashtags on your Facebook posts, you should also use additional topical hashtags and tag relevant organizations. For example, if you attend a Planned Parenthood rally, you may want to use a common hashtag such as #IStandWithPP and tag the local Planned Parenthood’s Facebook page. This makes sure that more people will see your post and increases the likelihood that your post is shared.
Keeping Your Supporters in the Loop
While it’s important to have a chunk of Facebook posts planned out in advance, your Facebook campaign strategy should also include room to share current news about your campaign on Facebook on a very regular basis. This helps donors see that you are working hard, and lets supporters feel engaged with your campaign. This might mean having Facebook lives that make your supporters feel like they are on the campaign trail with you, or it might mean publishing a pre-recorded clip from a speech at a recent event, a picture of you canvassing with volunteers, or a link to an op-ed in support your candidacy. You can also let your supporters know about future events you plan to host or attend by using the Facebook events tool.
Once you’ve posted, your work is far from done. It is important to track comments on your Facebook post. Although you cannot anticipate how people will react to every post you write, part of your Facebook campaign strategy should be ensuring that you stay engaged with your Facebook followers after you share anything on Facebook
If there are negative comments that are damaging or untruthful, be sure to hide them so that less people see or engage with the comments. On the other hand, if there are questions or positive comments on your post that prompt a response, always try to respond and engage. This gives supporters the feeling that you care about them and will be responsive once in office.
In the end, there is no one perfect Facebook campaign strategy or one way to run your Facebook page. Just like many social media tools, it is constantly evolving, and every cycle we see candidates come up with new ways to engage their audience and elevate their online presence. It’s important to follow these guidelines, it’s just as important to get creative, think outside the box, and just have fun with it!
Want more advice on how to create a winning Facebook campaign strategy? Reach out to The Campaign Workshop!