The year 2020 showed people what they were made of, and if you were running a political campaign last year, then it showed your campaign what it was made of. Many campaigns, especially being that it was a big election year, were forced to adapt and modify their political campaign tactics. What communication methods revolutionized 2020? And which ones are here to stay throughout 2021? Let’s find out.
In reality, without technology and our virtual communication methods, many businesses, nonprofits, and campaigns would not have survived last year. We were already living in a virtual world, filled with texts, social media posts, the internet, and more. Many companies and nonprofits had to adopt new and improved methods to keep sales and donations up, methods that are still very much needed in 2021.
The fact of the matter is that consumers rather text than pick up the phone and call. It is estimated that 50% of US consumers who receive branded SMS texts go on to make direct purchases. That is a lot. If your campaign can reach voters through text, then they are going to be more likely to engage in conversation, volunteer when needed, participate in events, and donate.
Last year saw 5 billion political text messages being sent out before the presidential elections. Text messages are without a doubt the number one communication method, and that number can only be expected to grow in the coming years. Which sounds crazy, but there is nowhere to go but up from here.
Peer-to-peer communication and texting are going to be the number one and best way to reach voters, and young voters more specifically. This method of communication is better for Gen Z voters who might not feel so confident in their voting plan or who they are voting for. Instead of just sending out mass texts, peer-to-peer allows real people to connect with real voters regarding the following:
- Questions about the candidate
- Directing the voter to the campaign website
- Recruiting volunteers
- Requesting donations
- Notifying voters of registration deadlines
- Sharing the voters nearest poll locations
Millennials and Gen Z
Whether you can believe it or not, the world is only going to become more and more reliant on technology. It is something that is constantly evolving, and whereas Millennials might remember a time of cassette players, renting a movie on VHS, a pager, landlines, and even a phone book, the oldest of many Gen Zers grew up with more advanced technology. Even if this meant seeing their parents use a flip phone which eventually morphed into a smartphone.
The point of all this?? Generation Z is the up and coming generation of focus. The point of mentioning their placement in the technological world is that all they know is technology, which means catering to their desired communication trends. Both Millennials and Generation Z are what you might call voting generations. In the next coming elections, there are going to be even more Gen Zers who are of age to vote than ever before. Which makes them the first trend to keep an eye out for.
What does this mean for your political campaign? This means to craft your advertising and marketing methods for the younger generation. Here are some tips for creating the best advertising campaign geared towards Generation Z:
- Send out text messages. Reaching out to the masses the right way means communicating with them via a platform that they will respond on. You aren’t going to reach the younger generations via a landline or by sending them a letter in the mail. The good thing is that Robocent makes sending out campaign texts as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Utilize social media for all that it is worth. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter–if Gen Zers are on it, so should your campaign. You can run social media ads, get people to follow your campaign account, and keep them up to date on campaign specifics via social media.
- Have fun with it. While running a campaign, and anything political is serious business, it is ok to have fun with it as well. Utilize video clips and emojis when possible, as these are going to be relatable and memorable to Gen Z.
Virtual Events + Live Streaming
Virtual events took off like never before. After all, most people were stuck in their houses for the majority of the year, so how else were they supposed to stay connected? Expect to see this trend only rise throughout 2021, and be sure not to brush off virtual events of your own. Generation Z is even more accustomed to virtual events, especially since for many of them, their schooling has been converted to online classes.
Holding virtual events to inspire the younger generations to get active and involved with your campaign is going to get you some extra brownie points with the young folks. Nearly everything has gone virtual–school, work, concerts, Netflix movie nights, etc. Just because the world is changing, doesn’t mean you need to miss out on holding events. Virtual events allow for campaigns and not profits to get creative with their outreach and connected to consumers and voters in new ways.
At the onset of the Pandemic, many companies and organizations were scrambling trying to figure out how to still put on their events, make donation goals, and sales quotas. After all, the show must go on, right? Right! 2021 is the year to get creative with your virtual events and live streaming.
The best part about this trend is that your virtual event planning and live streaming can go hand in hand! Host a live virtual event where the candidate comes on to talk about important issues and topics and takes questions from the live virtual audience. The best thing about these is that they can be recorded so that people who cannot make the event can watch them later. Not only that but for individuals who were unable to attend, you can send them out a link inviting them to watch the recorded event on their own time.
While there are endless live streaming platforms, here are a few that you can use:
- Instagram or Facebook is great for connecting with those who already follow you on social media. These live streams could include the candidate or someone else from the campaign team coming on live to talk about an important issue, an upcoming event, or something else. It is a great and personable way to reach out to voters.
- Larger live streaming platforms include YouTube Live, Twitch, Vimeo, and more.
Do your research, and feel out what platform is going to be best for your voter demographics, and your campaign goals as a whole.
A “thank you” goes a long way, right? Do you thank voters for:
- Their support?
- Their donations?
- Their attendance of live or virtual events?
Saying a little thanks, and giving back some appreciation will mean a lot to voters. For example, perhaps you hosted a campaigning event, where voters attended virtually via Zoom or some other platform. Following the event, in the days after, send out a thank you text to all who attended. This text can be a great way to show that each person's participation mattered, and it can also give you a means of reminding the person of any upcoming event or to vote in an upcoming election.
A thank you text with Robocent or note is especially important following a donation, of any size. If people are donating money, it is because they believe in you, but they also want to know that their money is in good hands. A thank you note mailed to their address, a thank you text, or even email is a great way to do this.
Using video is a great and engaging way to not only inform voters but also educate them. The return on investment that videos are seeing is huge, and not seen before. Videos are so much better than any other form of advertising because they hold people's attention easier and they allow you the necessary space and time to fit in all of the important points.
Videos are great for online ads on social media or YouTube. You can even save live streams to use as video content for later or save the live stream to the campaign's social media account so people can go back and review it.
Make it Mobile Friendly
Anything and everything you do for your campaign should be mobile-friendly. Your website, social media posts, video content, donation page, etc. More than half of people are going to view your content on their mobile devices. Being mobile friendly is going to make it or break it in 2021. If your website doesn’t format or load properly on a mobile device, then chances are then the user is going to exit your page.
Go With Technology
It is important to embrace technology, not shy away from it. As you move forward in your campaigning process, keep thinking of new and exciting ways to get the attention of Millennials and Gen Zers. Check out how to text message marketing works as one of the number one ways to communicate with voters.