As we gear up for yet another political season you can expect to see even more political intrusions into your social media network.
This trend has emerged partly because of the technical savvy of political campaign workers. But it’s really more about the vultures coming where the where the audience is hanging out.
In fact, with more than 700 million users signed up on Facebook, and another couple hundred million more users on Twitter, today’s politicians can reach more people than ever before via social media. By leveraging a social media marketing campaign a politician can reach thousands if not millions of people with the just the click of a button AND tap into that person’s stream as well.
Or you can even use a televised address to spread the word about your campaign.
Remember when Ross Perot bought huge prime time slots to offer his pie charts and economic advice to the American people in the 1990’s?
With social media, today’s politicians have an even broader reach and can spend a whole lot less money doing it.
This might be the last election cycle in which we write about how the phenomenon of social media — interactive, friend-driven websites such as Facebook and Twitter — is affecting national politics, because next time around, the practice of social media may be such an integral part of the process we won’t even notice it.
But for the moment, it’s still a little jarring to click on the Facebook page for Republican straight arrow Thaddeus McCotter from Michigan’s 11th District and see a profile photo of the congressman in white dress shirt and red tie rocking out on a guitar. On his page you can find a link to a video of the congressman in jeans and T-shirt playing “Gloria” with a boomer band.
Republican congressional candidate Ilario Pantano of North Carolina has accumulated more than 7,400 Twitter “followers.”
Or to peruse the personal Facebook page of John Heckenlively, Democratic candidate in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. On his Facebook wall, he mixes the public Heck (his nickname) with the private Heck, as he links to a Huffington Post story about the coming elections, “likes” fellow Wisconsin Democrat Cory Mason, and asks for your support — in his quest to amass a fortune in the silly online game Millionaire City.
Or to click on the Facebook page of Ilario Pantano, a Republican vying for North Carolina’s 7th District. More than 4,000 users “like” Pantano for Congress. And he has taken to social media like a songbird to suet, posting a frenzy of Facebook messages — 64 in one recent week. More than 7,000 Twitter users follow Pantano, and he has emitted more than 4,000 tweets during his campaign.
Then there is Mike Shoen, the Libertarian candidate in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District, who boasts in a YouTube video ad that his website is five times better than both of his opponents’ websites — combined. With digital bravado — and a misplaced apostrophe — he crows, “My opponent’s websites are fluff.”
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