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Making the Most of Your Online Communications During an Election


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Make sure your house is in order to participate in - or set the stage for - conversations that will arise during the election season.

With over a decade of experience working with social change organizations and businesses, including several candidates and political parties, Raised Eyebrow has plenty of wisdom to share about how to ensure your online communications plans are ready for election season.

You’ll learn:

* How to take make sure your organization has the right tools ready to communicate effectively online during election season.
* How to use an election period to build an effective list of longterm supporters for your organization.
* How to make the most of your resources and, where appropriate, partner with others to get out key messages during this critical time.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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Making the Most of Your Online Communications During an Election

  1. 1. Making the Most of Your Online Communications During an Election Emira Mears + Lauren BaconFriday, September 16, 2011
  2. 2. Q&A Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  3. 3. Q&A Type question here Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  4. 4. Your Hosts: Emira Mears Lauren Bacon Partner Partner Raised Eyebrow Web Studio Raised Eyebrow Web Studio Twitter: @emiramears Twitter: @laurenbacon Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  5. 5. Online Election Strategy: 1. Opportunities & risks of election season 2. Communications judo: making elections work for you 3. Tools assessment going into an election 4.Collaborating for greater impact 5.Viral campaigns: are they in your reach? Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  6. 6. Quick Poll Has Your Organization Run Election-Based Campaigns Before? • Yes • No Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  7. 7. Election Strategies. Opportunities & risks ahead Image credit: dvanvliet on Flickr. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  8. 8. Election Strategies: Opportunities Ahead • Stakes are high/urgency • Issues & policies are top of mind • Media will cover issues if there’s an election tie-in • Public events to engage in: townhalls, rallies, candidate debates, etc. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  9. 9. Election Strategies: What are the Risks? • Relevance: Any non-election related campaigns will tend to be overshadowed during the election period • Resource Drain: Short timelines and fast turnarounds are required to take advantage of any opportunities • Horse Race: Backing any one candidate or party platform can backfire • Donation Competition: Parties will be campaigning for dollars Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  10. 10. Election Strategies: Politics is Not Polite • Member alienation: Even if the choice seems very clear to align your issue with one party or candidate, remember that not all your members will agree. You risk alienating or upsetting members by playing politics. • Have a plan: Don’t let managing individual members’ concerns about political affiliations take up too much staff time/resources; have a plan for how you’ll respond to upset members. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  11. 11. Election Strategies. Communications Judo Image credit: MightyMe! on Flickr. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  12. 12. Election Strategies: Communications Judo • Work with the election, not against it • Try to get your issue on the agenda • Be ready to act quickly Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  13. 13. Election Strategies: Speak the Language of Votes • Familiarize yourself with the party platforms • Find candidates you can leverage • Know your numbers Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  14. 14. Election Strategies: Mobilize Your Members • Make sure you have the tools to mobilize your community quickly in support of the issue at hand • Do you have your lists in order? • Are your tools in place? Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  15. 15. Election Strategies. Audit Your Toolbox Image credit: James Brauer on Flickr. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  16. 16. Tools Assessment: Audit Your Existing Toolbox • Email List(s) • Video • Blog • Online Donations • Facebook/Twitter • Offline Tools Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  17. 17. Tools Assessment: Strategy Before Tools • Have a strategy • What is your primary message? (You probably only get one.) • Who are you targeting? Members? Parties? Candidates? • How will you measure success? • Can you switch gears quickly if necessary? Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  18. 18. Tools Assessment: Email Newsletters • How up to date is your list? • Are you adding to your list? • Is your list segmented? Should it be? • Are staffed trained on using the software? Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  19. 19. Tools Assessment: Blog • Do you have an existing blog you can use for election coverage? • Valuable tool for fast turnaround/discussion • If you don’t have a blog, is there a partner blog you could contribute to? • Don’t expect to create a blog during an election period and expect traffic to naturally appear Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  20. 20. Tools Assessment: Facebook/Twitter/Google+ • Do you have an existing presence you can leverage here? • If not, what are your goals with the tool? • Is it to get people to take action? Or is it to raise awareness? • Figure out what metrics you’re going to use for success Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  21. 21. Tools Assessment: Facebook/Twitter/Google+ • Make sure you’re thinking long term as well • How can you make sure you own your contacts? • If you run a separately branded campaign , how will you bring those people back in to your org? • Cross-pollinate your lists Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  22. 22. Tools Assessment: Online Video • Can you create multimedia content? • Does your content lend itself well to multimedia? • Are your website and other channels currently set up to share/display multimedia content? Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  23. 23. Tools Assessment: Online Donations • Are you already set up to take donations? • Can you target donations for a particular campaign? • Can you set up quick landing pages/donation funnels related specifically to an election related campaign? • Can you integrate your online donations into your other outreach easily? Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  24. 24. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  25. 25. Tools Assessment: Make Sharing Easy • Make sure your set up with the tools so that your community can spread your message. • Post video to YouTube/Vimeo so it’s easy to share • Have “Share This” widgets on your site • Include your Twitter/Facebook page in email newsletters etc. • Give supporters sample tweets and don’t be shy about asking people to repost Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  26. 26. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  27. 27. Tools Assessment: Offline Follow-up • Don’t forget the offline follow-up • Particularly important when it comes to mobilizing people on voting day: how are you going to get them out from behind the screen to make the change? • Your strategy should be geared at using online tools to motivate offline action: be clear about this and set measures for success. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  28. 28. Election Strategies. Join forces and increase impact Image credit: booze-a-holic on Flickr. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  29. 29. Collaboration: Joining Forces & Increasing Impact • Should you act alone? • Partner to share media space/centralize message • Can you share lists/communities? • Guest blog posts, shared newsletter content, cross- promotion in social media • Share resources Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  30. 30. Collaboration: Joining Forces & Increasing Impact • Risks of Partnering: • Who will be the spokesperson? • Building consensus can take time • Where will donations go? • Who “owns” lists and supporters after the election? Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  31. 31. Election Strategies. Going viral Image credit: naturalhomecures on Flickr. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  32. 32. Going Viral: Can You Make it Happen? • In a word: No. • What you can do: • Focus on content strategy • Make sure you have the tools for sharing -- as we discussed • Be prepared to respond if it happens Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  33. 33. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  34. 34. Conclusion: Reporting Out Image credit: Adam Tinworth on Flickr. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  35. 35. Conclusion: After the Election • Report Out: • Let your community know what impact they had - even if it wasn’t the result you were hoping for • Include reporting out as a part of your content plan and schedule it in Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  36. 36. Conclusion: A Good Election Strategy • Understands the Risks and Opportunities • Uses Communications Judo: work with the election, not against it • Know what tools you have and what you need • Collaborate where it will increase impact • Be ready to go viral - but don’t depend on it Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  37. 37. Need more help? Raised Eyebrow offers: • Online Communications • Usability Consulting Strategy Consulting • Email Newsletter design, • Information Architecture and development and management Interaction Design • Accessibility and Search • Website Design & Engine Optimization Development Consulting • Web 2.0 and Social Media • Custom workshops for your Consulting organization Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  38. 38. Questions? Please use the “raise hand” feature, or type a question into the Q&A box. Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  39. 39. Questions? Please use the “raise hand” feature, or type a question into the Q&A box. Type question here Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011
  40. 40. Thank you. Lauren Bacon Emira Mears @laurenbacon @emiramears Twitter: #raisedeyebrowFriday, September 16, 2011