Social opinion: How to win an election at marketing in 7 complex steps
Last week, with the British election looming, an article in Marketing Week written by Mark Ritson advised, ‘How to win an election in 7 complex steps’.
The article detailed the perfect tool for an election victory – a strategic Facebook campaign.
Ritson’s seven-step guide to using Facebook for the election, with only some slight adjustments, actually serves as a solid manual, and argument, for social media marketing.
- Spend it all on Facebook one platform
For campaigns with smaller budgets in particular, it’s best to pick one platform to get the most out of your money. Choosing the best social media channel should primarily be based on the target audience, objective and creative of each campaign.
Available on all good social media platforms in varying degrees, geo-targeting is perfect for an election and other location-influenced campaigns such as events, local promotions, small businesses, tourism and recruitment.
The 2016 Australian election campaign went for 73 long days. Luckily, Ritson recommends a digital campaign should begin only 20 days before the ballot boxes open, to persuade voters yet to decide which is the lesser of two evils. Social media micro-timing is great for influencing these short-term decisions, some of which are only a click away. It could be a vote for Corbyn or Conservatives, a ticket to a Coldplay concert or an application to your company. Micro-timing is a valuable asset for these shorter campaigns, and for reactive content during larger campaigns as well.
Facebook’s depth of audience segmentation is truly one of its biggest advantages. But other social media platforms offer different options for audience breakdown, and also represent larger segments as a whole. For example, Gen Zs on Snapchat, Chinese on WeChat or trolls on Twitter.
An interesting point raised in the article, and a good argument for a strong social media budget, is that when political parties use Facebook targeting, they’re both increasing their reach and decreasing the other parties’. By allocating consistent spend towards getting content in front of the target audience, marketers can gain valuable impressions while driving up the price for competitors.
The advantage of ‘dark’ ads for political parties and organisations alike is the ability to serve specific messaging to different audience segments. A broader brush can be used organically for posts on the surface of the social media channels for overall brand consistency, while every ad served to a different target audience can have copy and creative that speak specifically to them in language and imagery that engages them.
- Misdirect in victory Shout it from the rooftop (or soapbox)
Political parties want voters to think they chose based on fact, reason and their goddamn national duty to make their country great again, not because of the social media marketing efforts employed behind the scenes. For anyone working in digital marketing, however, this step simply does not apply. If we get good results, you better believe we’ll be telling anyone and everyone about it.
If Ritson had been a betting man, he would have lost a few quid betting on the Tories gaining a majority – not because his guide was wrong, but because everyone is using it. Labour learnt from its 2015 defeat and used social media to defy the polls (and pundits), and your competitors are doing the same. What does this mean for marketers? Follow the guide and get it right, but focus on what will set you apart – the product, the brand and the creative.
- Instagram is releasing a sponsored post feature.
- Facebook has introduced a new pride reaction in celebration of pride month. You can unlock the new reaction by liking Facebook’s official LGBTIQ page.
- Brands can use these two new Facebook tools to target ‘valuable’ users.
- Skype is the latest brand to copy Snapchat, adding filters and stories to the platform in their latest makeover.
- Snapchat makes it easier for marketers! Adding self-serve ads manager and new Snap certified partners.
- How the British Labour Party won the social media election.
- Is social media on the table in 2020?
- How social media keeps brands accountable.
- How Instagram combined art and commerce with Facebook’s scale to become an advertising powerhouse.
Round up – top campaigns:
- Paramount Pictures pranked art aficionados at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London as part of its promotion of the latest film in the Transformers franchise – Transformers: The Sequel Nobody Asked For.
- Smirnoff pulls off some great reactive content. The new ad banners say its vodka is “made in America, but we’d be happy to talk about our Russia connections under oath”.
Learnings and recommendations:
- Social media has a lot to offer brands, organisations and political parties. With the recent focus on its influence over voting, is there any debate left on its importance in marketing?
- Social media has taken on the role of keeping brands accountable for their values and their actions, and accordingly, the most successful brands are those that understand this new level of accountability. Continual alignment to brand values and imperatives, as well as importance placed on community management, needs to be a continual focus.
Brought to you by the wonderful King Content Always-On social media team.
Michael Waddups, Divya Goski, Graham Boville and Kate Leonarder