Dr. Politics: How to Develop Your Web Presence

By Dwight Patel

It is very important for candidates to have dynamic interactive websites.  Nearly two-thirds of US adults use social media, and for many, it is the first source for news and information gathering. Online ads not only put campaigns in a position of power by bolstering efforts, but also provide an easy way to communicate relevant news and messaging to an increasingly captive audience.

Your website and social media presence need to be interactive.  Don’t rely on pages of text and a few pictures.  Don’t be afraid to use videos, especially on social media, like Facebook and Twitter.  Social media platforms allow for voters to experience a deeper level of connectivity with a campaign, and every post, tweet, and policy stance is scrutinized by the world. 

Facebook Live videos are pushed to the head of the line which will get more views and lead to more traffic to your website where you can get folks to engage in your campaign.  There is a reason why  audio books are so popular.  Voters don’t have time to read long dispositions, so you need to convey your message via video in 30 seconds for a short blurb, and a more detailed video no longer than 2 to 3 minutes where you can go into details about the position.

Your 30 second spot on traffic would go something like this:

“Hi, I am John Smith and I’m running for State Senate.  Traffic is horrible, and mass transit is great but it’s not the only solution; it’s just one part of fixing the transportation problem.  We need to build more roads, use hot lanes, synchronize traffic signals and more. I will go to the state capital and work on solutions for our transportation needs.”

Then have a link pop up on video for additional information, a link to your position paper on transportation, and link to longer in-depth videos (NO MORE THAN 3 minutes long).

Make use of Facebook live and Instagram live. Once you create your video, add it to your YouTube Channel, as well as link on to your website, using the short code feature. 

Another great use of videos is to have your supporters make the videos (When I say let them make it, you record them and make sure they don’t say something off the wall)  Do the same and once they are vetted, put them on your social sites.

Power of Social Media

The most convenient way for a voter to engage with a campaign is online. At the click of a button, one can donate money, complete a poll, RSVP for an event, or sign a petition to demonstrate their support. In September 2015, Twitter launched “$Cashtag,” an online platform that allows users to donate directly to political campaigns or causes via a Tweet.  Failed presidential candidate John McCain (I hate using John McCain as an example, but we must give credit where it’s due) in 2008 used the power of Social Media to raise a record amount of money for his campaign.  President Trump used the power of Twitter and social media to connect directly with the voters bypassing the media.  The internet today is what television was for President Reagan, who used prime time television addresses and press conferences to convey his beliefs.

Final Thoughts

Social Media, Videos, Twitter and Facebook are a double edge sword. Be very careful what you put out there.  A good rule to follow is if you don’t want your mother or grandmother reading it ,don’t post it or make a video of it.   Also remember you aren’t President Trump -- he gets away with things that will doom your campaign.

Now that the weather has broken for the better, candidates, you should be knocking on doors at every opportunity.  The best door knocker I know is Councilman David Marks of Baltimore County. He knocks on doors rain or shine. The hot hazy days of summer are no match for Councilman Mark’s resolve.  So, the heat isn’t an excuse and there is no substitute for door knocking.  Also keep up with your fundraisers.  Feel free to reach out to me if you want to speak one-on-one on campaign strategies.  Email me: [email protected].

Montgomery County Republican Party