Ever wonder how some candidates seem to cut through the clutter on social media?
When it comes to Social Media engagement, why does it seem like some campaigns have the wind at their back? Social Media is a complicated thing these days.
More than ever, candidates are competing for attention in a space cluttered by an endless array of posts, videos, events, images, and GIFs. Friends and family create some of that content, but so do well funded corporate brands, civic organizations, and social media influencers, each with the purpose of baiting clicks and, ultimately, attention.
If you are a political campaign on a limited budget, how do you compete? Where do you start, and what expectations should you have? The information provided below will help answer some of these essential questions.
At VOTEGTR, we test a lot of social media strategies and tactics, and we’ve seen a good number of social media trends come and go. But in the last several election cycles, we’ve seen a seismic shift toward video, and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
The Social Media Algorithms Reward Video Content
In May 2019, Facebook announced another round of changes to its algorithm aimed to reward video content that specifically generated more robust engagement and watch times.
As a result, social media pages that effectively build loyalty, get views, and post original content get rewarded by the algorithms. Since these things take time, you might ask, “what does that mean for your campaign?”
Simply put, as the technology evolves, so too must political campaigns. Posting static iPhone images of your candidate posing at a cocktail reception won’t cut it anymore.
Video is now the norm. And why not. Video is a fantastic tool that hooks social media audiences. Unlike a long-winded paragraph, video content is extremely easy to consume.
Each of us is guilty of passively scrolling through our social media feeds, and only the most compelling content tends to make the grade for our attention.
VOTEGTR Video – Our Approach To Creative
To help candidates, VOTEGTR’s creative teams provide campaigns with immersive and engaging video content.
VOTEGTR condenses your message into easily digestible and concise snippets tailor-made for consumption on mobile media. We add visual text and motion graphics to video footage that strengthens your message, and we aim to capture viewers’ interest in the first few seconds.
Our tests have found that not all videos are treated the same by Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN, YouTube, etc., and reach can vary greatly. We’ve also found that the most effective social media videos tend to be professionally edited and produced.
This makes sense. As social media platforms reward engaging content, the most successful videos will be the ones viewers perceive to be of a certain quality. And speaking of quality, we’ve found the best performing videos contain:
- a clear hook that captures users attention
- content sized proportionally for consumption using a mobile device
- motion text and graphics on top of video footage
- closed captioning
Here is a real example. The first video testimonial is without any enhancement. On the right is the same footage, but with VOTEGTR’s creative effect. Both were published to Facebook within a few days of one another. Which of these two videos do you think generated greater reach?
The results were not surprising. The VOTEGTR video, which made use of editing, graphics, motion text, and backing music, reached 10x more individuals than the raw clip.
But Should Your Campaign Invest In Video Messaging?
Investment decisions typically hinge on the potential for investment returns. But in a political context, judging ROI can be tricky. We encourage campaigns to look at this issue in terms of cost and exposure.
How much does a video cost on Social Media?
The Maryland State Board of Elections recently released a report highlighting reach and engagement statistics of their Spring 2020 Voter Education campaign. In it, they cited an average video view cost the campaign team as little as $0.02. When you compare this to other methods of voter contact such as direct mail, robo-dials, peer to peer text, neighborhood canvassing, etc., it is easy to see why video represents a significant opportunity for cost savings and efficiency.
But are people actually consuming video content online?
People love to watch video online. The importance of video marketing is borne out by the statistics:
- A third of ALL online activity is now spent watching video, a figure no doubt nourished by the meteoric rise of YouTube and ConnectedTV streaming services.
- Almost half (45%) of individuals watch more than an hour of video content on Facebook or YouTube every week.
- As LinkedIN has made video sharing a more prevalent feature, engagement on the platform has grown 50% year over year.
- 82% of Twitter users view video content on the app.
Yes, there are many valid reasons to produce high-quality videos across Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms. Want to get started? Get in touch with the VOTEGTR team today and go live with your first videos in a day or two.
Sean Murphy is the CEO and Founder of VOTEGTR, a digital media service that provides websites and digital advertising to political candidates, political action committees, and ballot initiatives in the United States.