#polichat questions - June 24th

1) How are you using social media to increase email acquisitions?

2) Do you suggest A/B testing time sensitive emails? Is the optimization worth the time delay?

3) How is your org utilizing Twitter ads? Where have you seen the most success?

#polichat questions for June 16th

1) Do you use Google + as part of your social media strategy? What are the benefits?

2) What are your top services for webinars? Where do you go for the most informative sessions? 

3) Aside from complaining in OpEds, what can conservatives do individually to bridge the digital divide & improve outreach? 

#polichat questions - June 10th

1) What are the top 3 tips you would give about email marketing for political campaigns and orgs? 

2) What are good opportunities for continuing education in new media, digital, design?

3) What are some on and offline initiatives you’d like to see from #polichat? 

Jun 3

#polichat questions - June 3rd

1) What politicians/thought leaders are using Quora correctly and how do others begin to see the value? 

2) Are you learning how to code? What language should every political professional know the basics of? 

3) How are you integrating mobile into your overal strategy? Has it been successful? 

#polichat questions for May 20th

1) Yahoo acquiring Tumblr: good news? What can they do, if anything, to improve the platform? 

2) How are you leveraging Reddit communities to disseminate your organization’s message?

3) As spending on brand content increases, do you foresee organizations growing their in-house content teams or working more closely with providers/publishers/agencies?

Join the discussion at 12pm ET by following #polichat on Twitter or going to www.twubs.com/polichat

Today’s #polichat questions

Join today’s discussion at 12pm ET at www.twubs.com/polichat or by following #polichat on Twitter: 

1) What ways can campaigns/orgs better embrace bloggers? 

2) What tools do you recommend to measure the amplification of your blog post online?

3) What online resources are available to learn basic video production and editing? 

May 6

Today’s #polichat questions

1) With Google Reader expiring, what services are you using as your RSS reader?

2) Have you noticed digital being more integrated into all departments in your org/campaign? 
3) Are you recommending apps like Buffer to your clients? Are you moving to or away from scheduled posts? 
Join the conversation by following #polichat or at www.twubs.com/polichat
May 6

How We Made the First Ever Political Vine Ad

Meet Vine, the new platform that basically crunches 140 character tweets into six second videos. Vine is a platform in its infancy with a ton of possibilities for politics, one up-side being its ability to be embedded in tweets.

NRCC’s Digital Team is always willing to try new things online. And since Twitter has yet to grant my wish of easily embeddable GIFs, we released the first ever political attack ad on Vine for the South Carolina special election in early April. The ad got a surprisingly large amount of earned media. It was definitely something a lot of reporters hadn’t seen before. But be warned: One of Vine’s main drawbacks is its usability.

If you’re looking to make a Vine ad, there are a few pitfalls you will want to avoid. One thing to realize beforehand is that making the ad requires a fair amount of work on the front end. Currently, Vine only allows you to create videos on your iPhone as the action happens. You can’t just produce a professional-quality video and upload it to the app like you would with Instagram photos. You have to completely produce the finished ad and then film the ad running on a screen with a regular iPhone.

One obvious drawback to this approach is video quality. We tried to eliminate every way that quality could be lost. We produced an ad designed to loop seamlessly between six second runs to take full advantage of the platform. We opted against using background music to make the video more loopable even though Vine allows you to record sound (We did use a voiceover). We also tried to cut down as many syllables spoken as possible (much like how you would cut characters from a tweet).

The really tricky part was shooting the ad. We used a really big hi-res Apple screen (retina display would probably work well) to play the video file and used a tripod specifically designed for iPhones to re-film it. Another helpful tip: Make sure you have a sturdy tripod because Vine requires you to keep your finger on the screen continuously while you record. As you press the screen, your finger could shake the camera noticeably.

Another hint: Make sure you point the iPhone directly at the center of the screen as well as have the angle that the phone is positioned the exact same as the screen. Any differentiations in the angles will cause the picture to skew (It took at least a dozen takes to get it right). Even then, we didn’t get it exactly right. In hindsight, I would have created an ad that focuses the content on the center of the screen to eliminate any chance of noticeable skewing. Our copy was placed toward the edge of the video.

We got a lot of earned media from the Vine video simply because we were the only ones doing it. Moving forward, there’s a great opportunity to use the medium in a way that takes advantage of its features. If I worked for a candidate, I’d use it for quick “inside baseball” shots. I’ve also seen some really cool stop-motion Vines. We’ve tried using Vine for our signature CHIFs (Charts Made of GIFs). It’s definitely an “artsy” platform and rewards creativity. The bottom line is to put in the work to make sure the production quality is as high as you can get it. And give yourself plenty of time.

Nick Marcelli is the Digital Press Secretary for the National Congressional Campaign Committee 

May 1

Twitter Introduces Keyword Targeting in Timelines

In last week’s Polichat discussion, the question was asked, “What are the top metrics every campaign, large and small, should measure on social media?” One agreed upon response was that “Campaigns should focus on growing their presence among constituents, not the general public.” In order to do so, campaigns need more efficient ways to market to specific audiences.

Twitter has made quite a few advances in targeting recently. In August of last year, Twitter introduced targeting based upon interest or specific @usernames that are relevant to the product, event or initiative you are looking to promote. For example, “if you were promoting a new animated film about dogs, you could select Animation (under Movies and Television), Cartoons (under Hobbies and Interests), and Dogs (under Pets).” Gender targeting, which Twitter is able to do from extrapolating based upon public user signals, rolled out in October 2012. In March, Twitter announced the ability for self-service advertisers to specify the exact devices and platforms on which to display Promoted Tweets.

Earlier this month, Twitter introduced Keyword Targeting in Timelines. While promoting tweets within the users’ timeline isn’t new, “this new feature enables advertisers to reach users based on the keywords in their recent Tweets and the Tweets with which users recently engaged.” For example, political campaigns can now target users who mention the candidate’s name or those who use the hashtag #tcot. The process to set up a campaign to target keywords is very similar to the setup process for search and is available in the full Twitter Ads UI and through the Ads API (both of which were updated within the last few months). After testing keyword targeting with a number of advertisers and agencies, Twitter found that users were much more likely to engage with Promoted Tweets using keyword targeting in their timeline than with other forms of targeting in the timeline.

While some found promoting content on Twitter unsuccessful for their political campaigns in the past, Twitter’s recent additions to their targeting capabilities are providing some extremely useful tools for the future. The ability to target a niche market will not only allow for more effective campaigns, but also for maximizing your budget.

Katherine Cresto is a Digital Communications Strategist at Purple Strategies. You can follow her on Twitter - @kcresto

#polichat questions for 4/29/13

1) Social media was influential in causing Congress to act on flight delays. How can activists use social media effectively on a smaller scale to cause change? 

2) What are some underutilized platforms that campaigns should be on?

3) The White House just joined Tumblr. What is the best way for nonprofits and other orgs to take advantage of this platform?

 #polichat starts at 12pm ET. You can join the discussion on Twitter and by going to www.twubs.com/polichat

Digitally-Savvy Officials

State Senator Greg Ball (R-NY) via @brodigan

Twitter - @ball4ny

Facebook - Greg Ball

Youtube example

Website - ball4ny.com

Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey (R) via @NickMarcelli

Twitter - @GovChristie 

Facebook - Governor Chris Christie

Website - nj.gov/governor

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) via @billmurphy

Twitter - @SenTedCruz (official), @TedCruz (campaign)

Facebook - Senator Ted Cruz (official), Ted Cruz (campaign)

Website - cruz.senate.gov (official), tedcruz.org (campaign)

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) via @PatrickLBurns

Twitter - @DarrellIssa

Facebook - Darrell Issa

Website - issa.house.gov

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) via @senatorshoshana

Twitter - @SenRandPaul

Facebook - Senator Rand Paul (official), Rand Paul (campaign)

Website - paul.senate.gov (official), randpaul2016.com (campaign)

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) via @senatorshoshana

Twitter - @SenMikeLee

Facebook - United States Senator Mike Lee

Website - lee.senate.gov (official), leeforsenate.com (campaign)

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) via @thomasjkeeley

Twitter - @PatrickMcHenry

Facebook - Patrick McHenry

Website - mchenry.house.gov

Mayor Cory Booker, Newark, NJ (D) via @thomasjkeeley

Twitter - @CoryBooker

Facebook - Cory Booker

Rep. Trey Radel, (R-FL) via @ashleighgrant

Twitter - @treyradel

Facebook - Congressman Trey Radel 

Website - radel.house.gov

Vine example

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) via @billmurphy

Twitter - @RepMikePompeo

Facebook - Congressman Mike Pompeo (official), Mike Pompeo (campaign)

Website - pompeo.house.gov

State Senator Whitney Westerfield (R-KY) via @jdgaby

Twitter - @kywhitney

Facebook - Whitney H. Westerfield

Website - whitneywesterfield.com

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) via @martin_rini

Twitter - @repjustinamash

Facebook - Justin Amash

Website - amash.house.gov

Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader (KY-R) via @NickMarcelli

Twitter - @McConnellPress (official), @Team_Mitch (campaign) 

Facebook - Senator Mitch McConnell (official), Mitch McConnell (campaign)

Website - mcconnell.senate.gov (official), teammitch.com (campaign)

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) via @ashleighgrant

Twitter - @RepDeSantis (official), @RonDeSantisFL (campaign)

Facebook - Congressman Ron DeSantis (official), Ron DeSantis for Congress (campaign)

Website - desantis.house.gov (official)

Republican House Conference via @wconnorwalsh

Twitter - @gopconference

Facebook - House Republicans

Website - gop.gov

Rep. Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader (R-VA) via @elielitvin

Twitter - @GOPLeader

Facebook - Eric Cantor

Website - majorityleader.gov

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip (R-CA) via @ashleighgrant

Twitter - @GOPWhip (official), @kevinomccarthy (campaign)

Facebook - Kevin McCarthy (official), Kevin McCarthy (campaign)

Website - majoritywhip.gov (official), mccarthyforcongress.com (campaign)

Instagram - @RepKevinMcCarthy

WhipCast Mobile App


Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Twitter - @ChuckGrassley

ICYMI: Senator Grassley tells the backstories of his most famous tweets via @bennyjohnson on @buzzfeedpol

Do you have a digitally-savvy official to add? Please email us at polichatorg@gmail.com with suggestions!

What kind of metrics really matter?

Bill Murphy talks about which metrics are best for measuring digital impact at Campaign Insider:

Social media has become a valuable part of campaigns large and small. But in order to be effective, your reporting should rely less on vanity metrics and more on substance.

In other words, your total “Likes” are less important than the total number of engaged followers.

On Facebook, the simplest way to judge the effectiveness of your content is by the “People Talking about This” number. This number tells you the amount of unique people liking, sharing and commenting on your posts, answering your questions and responding to your events.

Each campaign is different. The key to successfully engaging your audience is to test and determine what content works and when. Do not be afraid to try new Facebook campaigns to get your fans involved.

Success also means being consistent and fresh. Be mindful of current events and top issues in the community. A weekly post of the same, slightly-altered graphic will not encourage an inquiring fan to learn more—and certainly not to “Share”.

Your campaign is competing for space, and time, with hundreds of a user’s friends, favorite brands and politicians that want him to read more and take action. Building an engaged audience does not happen with one successful post…

Read his entire post at Campaign Insider.

Bill Murphy is a digital strategist for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. You can find him on Twitter @billmurphy.

What the WWE can teach us about digital engagement

It’s not a secret that I’m a lifelong wrestling fan, a fact that is even more evident when you realize just how much I steal from them. “Rated R Republican” is me biting off of Edge’s “Rated R Superstar.” I got the name of the Misfit Politics podcast “D.O.A.” from an old biker gimmick the WWE did, only instead of “Disciples of Apocalypse,” it’s “Disciples of Andrew.” When everyone else is suited up, I show up at conferences in hoodies and comic book t-shirts ala CM Punk. And this week marks the 9th anniversary of my 29th birthday, an expression I’ve borrowed from Diamond Dallas Page and have been using ever since the 1st anniversary.  

Stealing from the WWE is the general theme of this article, because when I was asked “What private companies and nonprofits should political organizations look at to see who does it right,” the WWE (as well as the UFC) was the first organization that came to mind.  Their social media game can’t be touched, so much so it was even featured last month on a SXSW panel where it was said, “[the WWE doesn’t] just drink the Kool Aid, they make the Kool Aid.”  

For those of you unfamiliar and/or who still think it’s witty to ask me whether or not I know wrestling is fake, here are the numbers: 

  • 4.4 million downloads of the WWE app
  • More than 97 million likes across their network of 121 Facebook accounts, with 5.4 billion status views in the last year (more likes than either the NFL or the NBA and all their team pages combined). 
  • 45 million Twitter followers across the WWE’s 122 official superstar, corporate, and creative feeds.
  • Revenue up 25% through use of the online store and social media.  

Granted, we’re not exactly comparing apples to apples here. The WWE maintains a worldwide audience.  The Republican Party struggles to maintain a national audience.  The WWE have a bigger base of support to build on…but it’s a base of support that has grown because they didn’t just create a Facebook page or a Twitter account. They’ve built an entire network.  

It’s not just the corporate headquarters who uses Twitter and tells people when to tune in.  Everyone from The Rock and John Cena all the way to guys in their developmental system has been encouraged to engage with fans through Twitter, and use it as another tool to build their persona, or their “brand.” From there, the wrestlers have carte blanche. Some stay in character (unfortunately), but others engage fans with trivia contests, behind the scenes photos, sharing some of their favorite bands or comics, or just let fans vent over what they think works and what doesn’t.   

And they never know what will surprise them.  Last week, the audience on RAW (the WWE’s flagship show) was bored with the matches and went into business for themselves, making their own entertainment with audience chants.  One was where they started dancing and humming along to a new wrestler’s (instrumental) theme , which managed to leave the arena and turn itself into a meme where people were posting themselves dancing and singing along as well. 

They connect to their audience on a personal level, and the audience is more engaged as a result. That translates into more revenue through merchandise, PPV’s, ticket sales, etc.  The WWE has effectively taken social media and turned it into a living 24/7 focus group. They instantly know what works and what doesn’t, what their fans are in to and what they can sell to advertisers. They rarely ever don’t know what their viewers are thinking.  

Apply this to politics. Think of the WWE as your state GOP and all the elected officials as the wrestlers, or even as candidate and their staff/trusted supporters.  Following the WWE’s model and taking the time to seriously build a network and develop content (and not just set up x to automatically update to y), you can have a constant flow of information: what issues are most important to voters that week, what messaging works and what doesn’t, what candidates/officials are connecting with voters and which ones should consider doing something else with themselves (very important for the GOP), etc.  

Also, the bigger network you have and the more engaged the network is, the more money you can raise. Boom. 

The private sector gives us plenty of examples to steal tricks from, and the WWE does it better than anyone. If you’re going to steal, steal from the best! 

John Brodigan is the Social Media Ambassador for the New York based The Casale Group. You can follow him on Twitter - @brodigan 

#polichat questions for 4/22/12

1) Aside from social media presence, where do local campaigns start on digital?

2) What is one thing that we learned in 2012 that campaigns in NJ & VA state must do in 2013?

3) Who are some elected officials that are doing digital right?

#polichat roundup 4/15/13