Politics on Social Media: Annoyance or Embrace?

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Politics. It’s all politics!

Within your job, among your relatives, wrapped around your endeavors. You’re always navigating through, and sometimes around the politics of the situation. It gets nasty sometimes. Undermining. Alarming. Often predictable – and often surprising.

It is so much worse when you set foot into the political arena!

Cut throat. Ruthless. That is defined in the candidate manual as standard equipment.

The relentless drive to win – and stay in power.

There’s a relatively new component to incorporate into those efforts. Social Media – and its financially minded big brother – Social Media Advertising. Both will interact to make the next Presidential election cycle quite interesting. The candidates will attempt to access prime time in your life. And down time too! Messaging and outreach, hyper-targeted right to your phone, tablet, desktop, whenever the candidates and their parties want to get your attention. How will you react? With a warm, passionate embrace, or an annoyed scowl aimed directly into the advanced technological components deep within your chosen device?

Well, that’s totally up to you AND the method and quality of how the candidates are trying to connect with you. They desire it to be with a magnetic force that will make you take notice, and bond, and deliver the message on to your own friends, both the real and the social media ones.

You Say THIS & I Say That!

Mock Tweet from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump regarding his hair style.Mock Tweet from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton stating that she will not get to the White House.

The Sound Bite Sinks Teeth in the News Cycle

Short attention span. No time to take in the bigger picture. Headline, quote, sound bite. Not everyone sits in front of CNN, FOX News, or MSNBC all day. Life, work, kids, other stuff, and just a little time left over before your eyes shut while wishing you could stay up for late night TV once this month. But we take diligent notice of all the mini snippets containing the mis-steps, the mis-speaks, and the definitive cleverly worded pertinent statements.

And that minimalistic sound bite format corresponds with the appropriate word count for both social media posts and social ads.

Maximize it all with the best corresponding image (or few).

Presto – the perfect marriage of social media & politics!

2015-2016

So, Hillary Clinton’s Facebook page says that she is a Politician.

Hillary Clinton's Facebook page 'Title' saying that she is a Politician.

The Donald projects himself as a public figure.

Donald Trump's Facebook page 'Title' saying that he is a Public Figure.

He currently has over twice the ‘Likes’ as Hillary does. Even more than Bill Clinton. (& Michelle Obama has more than all of them put together).

Trump on Facebook is brief and very to the point. Generally one carefully worded sentence, often snarky, almost always boastful, like an actor who never strays out of his character. It’s a good character, very well developed and fleshed out – like the ones on Seinfeld during their ninth season as opposed to how they were fiddling around during their first handful of episodes.

It appears that Trump does his own Facebook content – or at least he tells his social slaves what to write and post. There is a strong element of a personal touch and connection. There is a variety of politics, opinions, and some casual, family or lifestyle focuses. The posts are written in the first person.

Hillary on the other hand, appears one step removed from her Facebook content. It is obviously done by her social media team. I don’t think she has her login memorized. The Facebook post copy reads like it is from a magazine article – Hillary is doing this, or Hillary thinks that. Her images are often text graphics made up of quotes and testimonials. It is a rather cold projection of a candidate. Unfortunately, this is pretty much in line with the current public perception of Clinton’s personality. Facebook art and reality collide.

Jeb Bush also has a Facebook page, with just a small fraction of the followers as the Trump and Hillary duo. The content is quite boring, presented with a somewhat bland personality. Again, not too surprising.

Marco Rubio is there too – with a follower contingent approaching the Hillary range. His content is done in a way that makes you think that it is being done just because they think they have to do something on Facebook.

Interestingly, many have said that a musician’s personality is reflected in the way they play their instrument. We are certainly seeing a similar premise come true with politicians and their Facebook activity.

Client Advice

Not much different than what we as digital marketers discover all the time with clients. Some get it, and some don’t. When they don’t, their Facebook page is generally very one-dimensional, with minimal variety, and has descriptive, bland copy that reads like a reporter wrote it about something assigned that had to be quickly covered and written about before lunchtime.

Social media needs to be social – doesn’t it?

As the Senior Creative Strategist at DragonSearch – with a specialty in doing social media for political candidates – it is the predictability aspect that is my biggest social media turn off. When you know exactly what is going to happen next in a movie, or what to expect for the nightly specials at a restaurant, or what your significant other is going to do, say, or wear – it gets boring quickly.

I had a client years ago that ran a specialty cheese shop in Woodstock, NY. Every single Facebook post featured their cheese. It was interesting for a moment. One brief moment. They had a following, but received no engagement. I attempted to break them out of the social monotony of their existence. I posted a great photo of Jimi Hendrix along with the question, “If Jimi were cheese – what would he be?” Those few eight words created a thought provoking four-dimensional question interacting: music, rock icon, Woodstock & cheese! The first three are related, the last one in the mix is abstract and an uncommon association. OMG – this same sleeping, turned off cheesy audience responded with a hundred wild, funny, and thoughtful comments, a boatload of ‘Likes’, and an impressive number of shares. I unlocked a monster of potential audience participation. I subsequently gave the client a list of notorious Woodstock rock stars and recommended they still post their cheese images – but once a week on Friday afternoon do a rock star = (what kind of) cheese post. I was trying to keep it simple for them, with just one new social post component to add into their familiar comfort zone. But for whatever reason, they just couldn’t go there. Not formal enough? Was perhaps too abstract to still smell the cheese? Who knows why…?

And that is what it is when we as digital marketing professionals view other’s social media. That is what it is like often when I view politician’s social media. You just have to say, “Who knows why??”

The conservative approach usually does not work. (Unless, of course, you are a Conservative Tea Party candidate). LOL & haha. It’s political season, and I am excited to be following it on social media. I will be checking in with you on what the candidates are doing on all their social platforms, and also will be elaborating on successful creative techniques I have incorporated to help get a political candidate elected. We’ll address political campaign reputation management for social media too – like how thick should your skin be before you take counter action?

It will be an interesting (and hopefully unpredictable) 14 or so months!

You Say THIS & I Say That Again!

Mock Tweet from Hillary Clinton making fun of Donald Trump's social media efforts.

Mock Tweet from Donald Trump questing whether Hillary Clinton really had a face lift.

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