We’re looking at you politicians.
You’ve probably heard some horrendous online stories.
Viral celebs spouting nonsense and becoming YouTube famous. Crazed individuals having very public meltdowns on live streaming.
How about the Facebook weekend escapade that’s a little too personal. Photos of outlandish behavior after a few margaritas too many.
Yup…that’s a pink slip on Monday.
Whether you like it or not, your reputation is on-the-line (and online) anytime you decide to post to your social media accounts. And if you’re really unlucky (see link above), then somebody else is deciding your online rep for you.
Yes. The Internet is huge and it’s basically impossible to protect yourself at every corner of the virtual world.
But that doesn’t mean you should let everything slide. Especially when you have a solid reputation to uphold (we’re still looking at you politicians).
Whether you’re on the hunt for a new job, a well-respected business owner, or on the campaign trail, you need to have a grasp on your online reputation – especially as you climb up the ladder.
If you weren’t aware of this, Cobalt Digital Marketing is here to provide you some vital insights.
This Is the Reality…
Suffice to say that news websites, apps, and social media are a mainstay resource for learning about politicians and their platforms. And while stats point towards a relatively younger demographic using the Internet as a research tool, it should go without saying that as we go forward, these numbers are going to increase.
As for local news – which would entail local political news – a 2012 Pew Research Center survey found that residents of urban communities tend to stay informed through Internet searches, Twitter, blogs, websites of TV news networks and newspapers.
It was also noted that urban and suburban residents are more likely to consume local news on mobile devices. The study showed that 53% of urban and 57% of suburban residents found local news or information via cell phones or tablets. Small city and rural residents stood at a still respectable 45% and 35%.
This role of cell phones and social media in politics should not be underestimated. From 2010 to 2014, the percentage of registered voters who used their cell phones for political news doubled.
Additionally, there was more than 150% growth in the number of Americans who followed candidates or other political figures on some form of social media in that same time frame.
And for your peace of mind. The digital world is truly non-partisan. Democrats and Republicans tend to act along the same guidelines when it comes to digital campaigning.
In the world of politics, especially in local elections, every vote counts. Being able to reach your constituency in the mode they best prefer is not only ideal but necessary…
Because (Tragically) It’s A Dog Eat Dog World
No. We’re not encouraging badmouthing. Cobalt does NOT condone spreading false allegations or dealing with unfortunate situations by fighting fire with fire.
But we do recognize the importance of a digital marketing campaign for politicians that includes online reputation management in order to reduce the collateral damage caused by rumors, disgruntled ex-employees, and political mudslinging.
Whether you recognize it or not, your online reputation is developing. Without ever having posted on Facebook. Regardless if you’ve ever tweeted an emoji. Even if you have never Liked or Snapped. Your political career – and your personal story – are likely to be floating in the ether that is the Internet.
This is the game:
- People talk. On social media, websites, forums, and news sites alike. You need an opportunity to tell the truth. A digital marketing campaign is the perfect outlet.
- You’re a politician. You need be to amongst the people. In the digital world and real world alike.
- Controversy happens. Be ahead of the news with real-time social media campaigns.
- Your political opponents are online. Are you?
- Local residents are upset for a just cause. Don’t ignore them.
- This happens. You need to take care of it.
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes – Charles Spurgeon
Mr. Spurgeon hit it right on the nail. But, thankfully, Cobalt Digital can help to spread the truth out just as fast.
Online reputation management for you political campaign includes a number of pieces all working in unison to get your message across to the right audience – and to those who need to hear it most.
Online reputation management should include:
- A campaign website
One of the best tools to get your name and platform across is through a website. Search engines place a high value on domains that include the politician’s name and will frequently appear on the top of search results.
Being in the top position on the first page of Google is ideal as studies show that click through rates for the first position in 2017 gets 44.64% of the clicks. But a first results page position isn’t bad either considering that first page gets 89% of all clicks.
This ability to get in front of the right audience will be of immense value to get your message out there for voters to find. We can also help to build an e-mail data base so that you can provide potential voters with meaningful content, information, and news about your platform and campaign.
A mobile optimized site is also essential as 40% of voter aged 30-49 used their cell phone to follow candidates in 2014.
To try and separate social interaction from politics would be a fool’s errand. What better way to keep in touch with potential voters – in real-time no less – than a quality social media campaign.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the go-to social media platforms for politicians that are serious about gaining an edge. The ability to deliver curated content and messages to your constituency and potential voters is pivotal for your campaign.
A 2010 Facebook study determining the efficacy of Facebook marketing in getting people to vote in a congressional election was astounding. The nonpartisan message reached a total of 61 million people and created an additional 340,000 voters.
Branding is another element of social media marketing. We can help to build brands by utilizing unique hashtags as a powerful visual tool and conduit to engagement. We include this branding on social media posts, website, digital advertisements, and blogs.
- Content is king.
A steady stream of quality content that includes press releases, video, blogs, online interviews, and email campaigns for your website and social media accounts will boost your reputation.
With the Cobalt Digital team, you are guaranteed to have hot topic content scheduled on a regular basis. Fresh web content will push “web crawlers” to update your web page ranking more frequently and increase your chance of getting up to those pivotal top spots on Google.
When done correctly, other websites will link to meaningful content on your site and provide you with authority and increased traffic.
Experienced politicians understand that negative PR is bound to happen. Counteract that negative publicity with positive, quality material that you control.
- Email marketing.
Email marketing can be a slippery slope. You want to provide potential voters and social media influencers with enough information about your platform. But you don’t want to bombard them with useless campaign updates that will lead them to unsubscribing from your mailing lists.
Cobalt Digital understands the nuances of email marketing and will provide personal messages to those who matter most – voters.
We also reach out to individuals known as influencers who can help to further your message. These include bloggers and website owners who can help you to break through that trust barrier traditional marketing often has.
Email marketing can also help you to manage your online reputation by providing you the ability to counter against any negative messages that may be floating around out there. You can appeal to your audience’s emotions and push them into action.
- Targeted SEO and advertisements.
Search engine optimization (SEO), in technical jargon terms, is the process of on-site and off-site coding, link building, and content creation with certain keywords that are guaranteed to reach your audience.
These strategies include analysis of big data and social media data to increase advertisement reach, the success of your campaign, your ability to educate voters – and ultimately – generate votes for you.
But be wary of so-called SEO experts that utilize Black Hat tactics. These individuals will end up getting your site penalized because of their use of keyword stuffing, link spamming, and other negative strategies.
It’s challenging enough to maintain a positive image without the destructive actions of another making your brand look worse.
Cobalt Digital for 2017 (and 2018, 2019, 2020…)
There’s no way around it. Politics, just like the rest of the world, is quickly becoming digital. Online reputation management and the right digital marketing plan are absolutely essential and will become even more so in the future.