It’s another Sunday, so for those who tune in, welcome to another discussion of the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic campaign. If you’ve missed out, you can catch up any time: Just visit our group or follow the Nuts & Bolts Guide. Every week I try to tackle issues I’ve been asked about. With the help of other campaign workers and notes, we address how to improve and build better campaigns, or explain issues that impact our party.
How is it that you see some individuals on Twitter and Facebook post a tweet, a hashtag, a response, and get numerous other people on board so quickly? Sure, bots have done so for those who want to cause trouble. Unique, organic, and fresh material, however, can only be generated by other human beings. You have a story and you want to get the word out quickly. You want other people to comment and share it on their networks. There are lots of ways to get this done, but today I’m going to cover those often used by Democratic campaigns and activists to promote their end goal.
Secure groups are a smart way to talk
I’m not a huge fan of using a product like WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook. However, applications like Signal allow you to create secure, private groups to quickly share your messaging or to fine-tune what you want to say and figure out the audience it should address. You can target a congressional district, a state, or even a national audience. By working together with others, you can help amplify the message you want to reach more users and do so quickly. This also allows you time to find problems with a message. It is easier for a friend to say, “Hey, that doesn’t sound right,” than it is for someone you have already decided you aren’t going to listen to criticism from to say the same.
Private Twitter groups, and to some extent private Facebook groups, also allow groups to create discussions and work to build their positions in a way that they can amplify, making sure more people hear what they want to say and continue the storyline.
You don’t have to be the top dog
Every day I hear someone say that they need hundreds of thousands of followers. Having hundreds of thousands of followers on any platform is what is most important to them. This is simply not true. While having more followers can help push out your message, having the right followers has a far greater impact. There are many people who can follow you just to say that they keep track of your activities. Some of your followers may oppose you or not even be real accounts. So what matters in the form of followers who can help you shape a social media monster?
Think about the message you put forward in Step 1. If you find someone you respect takes your lead on an issue and reframes it (they don’t even have to quote or retweet you) and the small issue starts to grow, then you have a good sign that the groups you are in are creating an effective method of discussion for a large number of people—far more than just your followers. While your follower base can grow, it’s the message you care about.
Think about it: The more users independently talk about an issue—like removing Marjorie Taylor Greene from office—the more effective it is to those reading. If they see something just retweeted or reshared in the same format over and over again by the same few people, it doesn’t have as big an impact as it does if people make their own independent conclusions based on the fact they’ve read it and want to say something. Respect the organic nature of the online community.
Don’t be afraid of new formats
Everyone sits on the sideline with new formats and says, “Well, I’m going to wait and see if this matters.” TikTok, ClubHouse, and others are rising social media formats. Some politicians and activists hopped in right off the bat. Others put on the brakes to see where these platforms will go in the future.
Do. Not. Snooze. One of the truths that should be told is that Republicans will not snooze on a new format. They will launch into them and work to put a foothold in very quickly. Deciding to sit and wait does one thing: It gives conservatives a head start. That’s a bad idea. If you want to increase the eyeballs that your content receives, give yourself enough of a head start. How can you accomplish that? Get there first.
Have questions? As always, ask in the comments and I’ll work to answer!
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