Top 5 Mistakes Political Campaigns Make Online

Kelly on November 16, 2015

in Online, Pro Tips

Note: This week we welcome Shane Daley of Online Candidate as our guest author. Welcome Shane!

As politics has moved into the online realm, it’s provided plenty of fodder for gaffes, mistakes and embarrassing moments. There are many opportunities for political campaigns to make mistakes online. Here are five some of the most common and avoidable problems that we see campaigns make season after season.

Writing website content in the first person

Many candidates use their site’s home page to write an open letter to voters. Too many ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘my’ words can hurt your site’s ranking in the search engines. If you want your website to well rank for searches of your name, then your name must be included in your site content.

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If you really want to use first person copy, try using ‘pull boxes’ that include your name. Combined with a good page title, page description and image tags, you may be able to overcome the limitations of first person copy.

Failing to effectively fundraise online

It doesn’t matter how small your campaign may be. If you have a campaign bank account and a website, you can take online donations. There are many services that have online forms, social media tools and easily process and deposit donations into your bank account. Services designed specifically for political campaigns will handle disclosure and tracking requirements for you. Some also allow you to collect recurring donations through Election Day.

If you plan to take online donations, start as early as you can. Be sure to know and follow your local election laws.

Letting your social media accounts languish

If you start a social media account, you owe it to your followers to provide regular updates. If you start an account and abandon it, followers will be left hanging and new, potential followers will see a lack of activity. They might even think that you have abandoned your campaign. It’s better to start your small and consistent, and then grow your social media efforts over time.

Posting from the wrong social media account

Many candidates or campaign staff may have a personal social media accounts in addition to managing campaign accounts. If you have multiple accounts, make sure you are logged into the proper account before you post. A personal opinion posted to a campaign account could appear to be an ‘official’ campaign position and lead to an embarrassing situation. This mistake is more common than you may think, especially in the business world.

Assuming you have any privacy at all, anywhere

First and foremost, anything you ever say or share online (and offline) should pass the ‘New York Times Test’. That means, if you wouldn’t be comfortable with what you’ve said or done appearing on the cover of the New York Times, then don’t do it.

Any time you are in a public or even private setting, assume you are being recorded. It is standard practice for campaigns to send ‘plants’ to an opponent’s campaign events to record the candidate and try to catch a ‘gotcha’ moment.

Since 2004, Online Candidate has been the trusted leader in political website design and hosting. Online Candidate provides an easy-to-use online campaign platform loaded with built-in tools and additional resources. For more information, visit http://www.onlinecandidate.com.

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Kelly Dietrich

About The Author

Kelly, founder of GetElected, spent sixteen years in politics working campaigns all across the country at every level of government. His specialty is new campaign creation, strategy and fundraising.

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