Whitman and Brown: Taking Politics to Facebook

Increased Social Media Efforts
If you’ve seen/heard TV, radio and online ads, you’ll know that the political race in California is heating up between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. An article in the LA Times shows that Meg is launching “A New California” campaign on Facebook. On the site, she’ll ask fans to vote about issues that they think are important. Meg will then address the winning issue in a video that will be shared on Facebook. This clever Facebook campaign will bring Meg more fans and raise awareness on her platforms. Meanwhile, Team Jerry Brown has dismissed these “gimmicks” and says that “Meg Whitman even has to buy her friends.”

No matter what political party you’re affiliated with, it’s time to look at these campaign strategies for its effectiveness. Pretend you know nothing about politics or parties for a second…

Comparing Facebook Pages
The first look at Meg Whitman’s Facebook shows a welcoming statement and her vision for a “new” California on the landing page. Meg’s wall also predominantly features her stance on relevant issues, encourages fans to join her efforts and showcases recent appearances. Meg has a professional looking “Donate” tab for easy access and also has an Events tab reminding fans to vote for her on November 2nd.

In comparison, Jerry Brown’s Facebook is visually unappealing. The landing page tab features a list of different things from something about Green jobs to fighting political corruption. The title of the tab isn’t even completely readable, what exactly is “Fighting fo…”? Isn’t someone in charge of looking out for these things? There’s also a “Join Jerry:” tab. Again, what exactly are people signing up for – news about Jerry Brown or is their information going to be sold? If it seems simple enough, do it. A small blurb would help. On the bright side, Jerry’s Facebook wall is filled with updates about community members showcasing their support. It’s always a plus to showcase fans and show them appreciation.

Who Has What it Takes?

Meg’s Facebook approach is cohesive and interesting to her supporters. Jerry’s approach seems a little more cluttered and could use a stronger focus. But in the end, it’s not the Facebook fans that matter but the actual number of voters for each candidate. So, how well will social media work to help increase the votes? Meg Whitman is serious in her Facebook efforts and spending cash to do so. Will Jerry Brown have what it takes to catch up? Social media has given politicians a new chance for outreach but many of them still seem to be behind on the times. We’ll see what happens in November!

A Social Media Mix for Politics

Is This It?

Years ago, marketing experts predicted that social networking sites would be the next big thing when it comes to politics. It is safe to say that we are now of that age. In the booming era of social networking, politicians are concentrating their efforts on websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr. You may know that Governor Schwarzenegger has a Twitter account, but are you a fan of your local congressman on Facebook? Social media sites are popular because they are user friendly and people like using them to keep up with the latest news. Politicians are experimenting with all sorts of mediums in order to reach their audience and their efforts are paying off.

Spreading the Word

We have seen how social media has changed the tactics of politicians. Viral videos circulate the internet praising striking speeches and mocking officials at the slightest misstep. Smart politicians are adapting to these new changes and using the internet to their advantage. Getting the interactive audience involved is an important aspect of social media and getting creative doesn’t hurt. Turning to a popular site like Flickr is a sensible alternative. There is even a political photo pool among many others. Blatantly asking for e-mail addresses is unlikely to work, but what about asking them to vote for your campaign theme song? In this modern age, it still pays to be different from your competitors and offer the public something new.

Raising Important Matters

Social media sites are not just for entertainment but are useful in raising important issues. Ever since its inception in 1990, Rock the Vote, has integrated online strategies to reach young voters. The non-partisan organization stresses the importance of voting and educating the public about politics. In recent light of the economic situation, awareness of a helpful government plan such as Making Home Affordable, would benefit citizens. Many people don’t know about this option and may be deceived by local refinancing companies. When it comes to informing the community about important political issues, it never hurts to have more options. From providing voting information to useful resources through social media sites, politicians as well as the general public can both benefit.