A New Grass Roots Political Campaign Methodology
On Election Day 2008, Barack Obama had over 118,000 followers on Twitter, leading challenger John McCain’s 4,300.
“Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president.”
- Adriana Huffington
President Obama kicked off digital campaigning in 2008.
Grass roots advocacy is facilitated by social media
In 2012, social media proved that it connects candidates with their constituents on a macro scale. Obama did town hall meetings and Q&As on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Reddit and Google +.
The Obama campaign was lauded for building the largest grass roots operation in presidential campaign history in 2012. But at the local level, it was still done the old way. Local canvassing still meant volunteering at a local campaign office to perform the phone calls, door to door engagement, and most important, getting neighbors and friends participating. What was missing at the field campaign offices was a local social media presence to galvanize the community electorate.
The New Grass Roots Campaign
In 2016, field operations should use localized social media to ensure that their local advocates have a forum and voice that can engage their direct community. The communications corps would be set up like a local news team, with editors and contributors using social media to report on candidate and election news, local analysis, and events. The key reasons for using social media are accessibility and transparency. Local field offices can communicate and coordinate with supporters and neighborhoods more easily through Twitter and Facebook groups dedicated to the community.
Local matters. Social media gives individuals voices, but they want their political voices to be heard, and appreciated. Leaving a comment on candidate’s Facebook page along with thousands others doesn’t reach and impact the commenter’s intimate circle of local friends and neighbors. Localizing dialogue creates community bonding and results in turnout.
What Local Social Media for Campaigns Looks Like
Reporting and Syndicating Political News
The syndication of national political news can be centralized and automated across field office social media based on curation of trusted media sources.
Making the Campaign Relevant Locally
Every field office communications manager and its local advocates can access and update social media feeds.
Inject Personal Ideals and Commentary
Candidates can use their Facebook page or Twitter feed as the main hub, and distribute their posts across the field ops’ social media. Commentary on the posts would be localized, and enhance engagement.