Monday, March 15, 2010

Social Media Impacts Local Political Campaign

The HeimannHills Marketing Group had the opportunity to work with Desiree Grode in her campaign race for Chicago Cook County Board of Commissioners. Desiree’s major competition was the incumbent, with a large campaign budget.

The primary objective for our campaign was to communicate Desiree’s positions and successes to the right messengers (influencers). That’s because the right messengers that share the initial messages with the greatest credibility and velocity, deliver the message while it’s still fresh, new, and worthy of sharing.

Reaching the right messengers with social media tools would be essential to a successful campaign. One of our initial campaign tactics involved identifying the right messengers – people who care passionately about a better local government, and winning over those who would spread our campaign message.

To do this we used Twitter to identify and engage people who most likely would care about Desiree’s campaign. For example, shortly after Desiree was endorsed by a State Representative and Alderman, we followed their followers on Twitter and then Tweeted them about the endorsements, winning some of their supporters. This type of targeted communication hasn’t been available before.

We also used trackable URLs to learn what parts of our messages were resonating. For example, the “Where to Vote” link on the campaign website was one of the most popular links, followed by the Chicago Tribune editorial endorsement link and then the Chicago Sun-Times editorial endorsement link. This type of feedback enabled us to create Email and Twitter communications that were important to our messengers.

We were successful in achieving 2nd out of 4 candidates. This was Desiree’s first political campaign, and social media was a key success factor. In the past, a candidate needed a much larger campaign budget to finance a costly direct mail and television campaign.