Every politician up for reelection is looking for more names to add to their database. Particularly names of supporters who could potentially donate or volunteer for an upcoming campaign. And social media presents the perfect, cost-effective avenue to collect information.
Obama’s 2008 campaign set the benchmark that all politicians wish to achieve. While collecting more than 10 million names online may be a stretch for a sitting Congressman, Members of Congress are becoming more proficient at using the Web to increase their supporter databases and hopefully increase their campaign war chest.
Congressman Gerry Connolly, running for reelection in Virginia’s 11th district, encouraged his supporters through his Website, Facebook and Twitter to sign an online petition expressing their concern over comments his opponent, Keith Fimian, made regarding repeal of the 17th amendment. The campaign was successful in identifying supporters online with subsequent e-mail messaging encouraging those supporters to donate or volunteer.
The House Republican leadership recently unveiled its “America Speak Out” campaign. Supporters can log onto http://www.americaspeakingout.com/ and vote on ideas introduced from other like-minded individuals or the Republican leadership. In order to begin voting, a person has to create a username and provide their zip code and e-mail address. The GOP leadership is building an online database and dividing names by district in order to target messaging by race. The GOP leadership is pushing “America Speak Out” on its social networking sites as well as on live television appearances.
Senator Al Franken, who has been extremely active on social media since his election to the Senate, is currently promoting an online petition to support Net Neutrality. Supporters give their name, zip code and e-mail to sign up. To date, the petition has more than 69,000 signers. Franken, who has more than 15,000 Twitter followers and 73,000 Facebook followers, has effectively used social media to push his online petition.
From increasing donations, adding volunteers and having more people at events, it is vital for politicians whether months or years from reelection to continue to use creative social media strategies to identify their supporters.