Over the years, social selling has become a very popular component of marketing strategies across a variety of industries. I’ve noticed that its benefits, however, have yet to be tapped by many, especially those who are running for office.
Social selling is about building relationships. It’s the process of using social media to convert prospects into loyal followers and advocates over a period of time, beginning with an introductory message via LinkedIn, Facebook or whatever your preferred social media network may be. Ideally, this will eventually lead to an in-person meeting with that person or group. Using this process, you do more of the work on the front end in order to facilitate more efficient outreach later in the process.
It’s plain to see how this method could contribute to the success of a political campaign, where candidates need to reach a high volume of people. In my business, we regularly train marketers and salespeople in the art of social selling. We’ve also promoted events on behalf of political candidates using proven social selling methods. Overall, I’ve found that the government and political sector can benefit more from effective social selling strategies than perhaps any other field.
For political candidates, it takes a combination of activities and compelling engagements to drive your audience to make those much-needed donations, advocate for you and inevitably vote for you on Election Day. Through social media, you can really take advantage of personal interactions to cultivate your following. Your goal should be connecting with prospects one on one by sharing information that’s useful or that would impact their lives. For example, you could share details about your plans for office (should you be elected), how they will improve your shared community and how they would benefit that person specifically.
You and your representatives also can join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook to cultivate influence in a given industry or community. This influence is the basis of developing unique relationships that can inspire your advocates to take action, such as creating new local campaign chapters.
From there, just imagine what you can accomplish. You can expand your reach in no time. You could, for example, send personal messages to thousands of group members. Each interaction would nurture the lead, ultimately driving people toward your website, where they can support your cause. Perhaps most importantly, the messages could drive them toward local events you’re hosting.
To succeed at social selling, make sure you have a consistent strategy in place so that your campaign message and call to action don’t get convoluted. Additionally, you and your campaign aids need to be consistent about the time and effort you’re putting into social selling. Put a process in place, and ask everyone on your team to adhere to it to ensure that you’re sharing your message with the right audience.
Here are a few more tips for implementing an effective social selling strategy for your political campaign:
• Establish clear goals. Before launching your social selling strategy, make sure that you have clearly defined campaign outreach goals. As a political candidate, your main goal, initially, may be to bring in donors.
• Pay attention to each platform’s rules about political advertising. Each social platform comes with its own set of specific rules. LinkedIn, for instance, does not allow political ads, while advertisers on Facebook may have to complete an authorization process to run ads about elections or social issues. Make sure you’re playing by the rules.
• Understand the relationship between social media and SEO. Social platforms behave a lot like self-contained search engines, and they can also be crawled by Google and its competitors. So before launching your social selling initiative, develop a list of keywords tailored to the needs of your audience and the objectives of your campaign.
• Invest in a professionally designed campaign website. People who express interest in your campaign will need somewhere to go to learn more about your political venture, so create a website to direct them to. Having it professionally designed can help ensure that you’re presenting yourself in the most favorable way possible. Talk to your web designer about features and layout strategies that will make it as easy as possible for your followers to donate, volunteer or contact you for more information.
By employing social selling in your campaign outreach efforts, you can use your connections to raise awareness for your political campaign and inspire potential voters to donate and support you in other ways. Keep your strategy direct and personal, and make sure that you clearly lay out the path for each new supporter to take action.