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#6: Just Being Online Isn’t Enough. Keep Adding Technology Tools to the Toolbox, and Use Them for Real Engagement.
The following is the sixth part of a seven part series from Keith Plunkett, CEO and Communications Strategist with Horizon Media Marketing. Learn more about how to develop winning strategies to communicate your corporate or political campaign at HorizonMediaMarketing.com
Haven’t read the first four? Read Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE, Part 3 HERE, Part 4 HERE, and Part 5 HERE.
BY: B. Keith Plunkett
I used to think that cyberspace was fifty years away. What I thought was fifty years away, was only ten years away. And what I thought was ten years away… it was already here. I just wasn’t aware of it yet.
Republicans seem to understand that online media is a great networking tool. But, they haven’t yet grasped it’s importance as an issue influencer, and a polling tool.
Many Republican officials that finally decided to join the social media world have only done so half-heartedly, signing up and then not using the medium to actually communicate much of anything. A great number of our legislators Twitter accounts have gone without an update in months, even years.
In his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell argues that success in any particular field has less to do with intellect than it does passion and opportunity. It’s not just what you know, it’s when you know it and whether you are driven to act. Maybe for some of our public officials to lament all this easy communication as too risky shows that they are simply not driven to act on it because they are too accustomed to the old way of doing business. But, as an organization, the GOP shouldn’t use that excuse.
Many Democratstate lawmakers have successfully been using social media before some Republicans climbed on board the wagon. Stats indicate that there are more Republican minded people in the state using Social Media now than those that lean Democrat. Part of that is due to socio-economics and a lack of education and access. But, the numbers also indicate that it is the Democrat leaning users that are the youngest, and those numbers are growing.
Mississippians of Facebook who identify themselves as Democrat
Mississippians of Facebook who identify themselves as Republican
Open Graph technology, launched just under two years ago, is allowing for engagement and analyzation at detailed levels never before available. The detailed connections that can be reviewed from this type of data has the potential to blow old polling models out of the water.
Of the numbers in the graph above, it is also possible to find how many are women and how many are men, which of them like music, how many consider themselves religious, how many like television stations and which ones they prefer, what is their favorite restaurant, and on and on and on into minute detail.
With study of online data, we can find exactly what Mississippians think about public officials. At present, Republicans have a slightly greater affinity for Congressman Gregg Harper than Governor Phil Bryant, and Democrats favor former gubernatorial candidate Johnny Dupree just above President Obama’s official Mississippi campaign organization.
In other words, it’s possible to find out a great deal about the 2 million people in Mississippi who use social media. This allows marketers and strategists to analyze people in the community where they are most comfortable and where developing the relationship can have the most impact. It’s a much more natural stream of data due to the fact that people are voluntarily responding and not being “polled”. Sometimes with typical polling, those answering the questions are more concerned about giving the “correct” answer than their true opinion.
The possibilities of this online analyzation only increase with time, as more data is made available.
Some people may live in the past, but organizations that refuse to keep up are rarely around for very long.
These type of tactics reflect the new reality, and the new rules of engagement. GOP leadership, like any other industry today, must conduct planning and stay on top of it to tweak it when necessary, lest the message and ultimately the relevance of conservative elected officials get left behind.
It’s easy now after the 2011 election to think that such a thing can no longer happen in Mississippi. Republicans are firmly in control. But it’s foolhardy to presume they can’t be beaten. Shifting demographics mean that if we continue to allow divisions and write-off certain segments of the population it’s just a matter of time before Democrats claw their way back. They’re certainly not going to ride off into the sunset.
Republicans must convince the public at large and prove that conservative ideas work through policy implementation. Then showcase how those victories help Mississippians by using data to know how and where to best communicate that message. Micro-targeting is both possible and affordable with online media tools.
There is a window of opportunity now, and it must be taken advantage of. Ramping up issue engagement via Social Media is the solution, if Mississippi Republicans are not too scared to say what they think and why they think it.
The Mississippi GOP, not unlike other organizations in the state, has been content to follow the lead of others in the use of new online tools. Engagement at best has bee
via Part 6: 7 Communication Issues the Mississippi GOP Can Address in 2012 | Horizon Media Marketing.