Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

9 Ways to Use Social Media to Campaign for Votes

Filed under: Blogging — by at 6:30 pm on Thursday, December 13, 2007

(Election ballot)
(Photo credit: Steve Woods)

For the past several months I have been campaigning to win the opportunity to be paid to Blog for a Year (site is down at the time of writing this). During this time I have discovered new ways of using social media and related technology to spread the word. Some ways are more effective than others.

Here are the strategies that I have tried to date, with a few lessons learned:

  1. Use established networking groups to begin spreading the word. With one of my networking groups, I did a weekly mini newsletter with an accessibility tip along with current contest results and a reminder to vote. This way I was contributing something of value to a group where I was already known, liked and trusted. Several members then spread the word to their other networks or posted to their blogs.
  2. Start a fan club on Facebook. This may sound a wee egotistical, unless an enthusiastic supporter begins one on your behalf. This is an effective way to send out regular messages with updates and reminders to vote. The key is to not bombard fans with messages. Also, joining the group is the only action some members take, so the group needs to relatively large to have a measurable effect.
  3. Add a PS to email signature block. This is a no brainer! However, with some email messages, it is appropriate to delete the PS.
  4. Add a PS to blog broadcast. For four individuals who aren’t familiar with RSS feed readers, I use AWeber to email new posts to subscribers. With every new post notification, they are reminded to vote.
  5. Create a YouTube video. The video adds another medium to the campaign, enabling individuals to get a better feel for what they are supporting by seeing how I blog. It also gives other bloggers something interesting to post on their blogs.
  6. Ask supporters to change their homepage to the voting page or, if using Firefox, add a new tab. This is a brilliant strategy for reminding people to vote daily. The challenge is having people actually do it.
  7. Use Twitter. When I first began tweeting, I envisioned a tweet to vote being spread far and wide, and gaining several hundred, if not a few thousand, votes in a matter of hours. Obviously I was a naïve tweeter and, after several attempts, had my knuckles wrapped for being spammy. I then set up a separate Twitter account for the sole purpose of driving votes. People know that when they decide to follow @bfay. Building up a following mass takes time. Twitter isn’t the instant strategy that I thought it would be.
  8. Use Facebook’s FunWall to spread the message. Again, use this sparingly so not to annoy people.
  9. Use Facebook’s status line. Changing my status line regularly puts updates and reminders into my friends’ mini-feeds.

In addition to what I have tried, other enthusiastic supporters have offered a various suggestions, including befriending people on Facebook who have large number of friends and asking for their support. This strategy may work for some people, but, personally, I don’t have chutzpah to try this. Similarly, others have asked people to befriend me to support my efforts. Although I appreciate the gesture, I’m realizing this is diluting my friends’ list because these friendships are not based on a mutual interest or connection. It’d be better if these kind people offered their support by joining the fan club.

As with any campaign, the strategies used reflect upon your personal integrity and reputation. One misused strategy could mean more harm than good in the long run.

Running a successful campaign means trying various strategies and finding the right to balance to keep the campaign running smoothly…until the voting site crashes…then what do you do?

Dec. 17th update: The Blog for a Year site is back up! Please resume voting daily until New Year’s Eve. There’s a ways to go to reach first place!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Calvin Warr

December 18, 2007 @ 4:25 am

Fantastic post! Good tips and easy to implement!

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