3 min read

Using OOH to Augment Social Media

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Social media has become the #1 channel for voter outreach, ever since Barack Obama upended the campaign marketing process during his first presidential bid. Now, political campaigns typically use multiple social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

Social media engagement can cement support and attract new fans. It is essential for communicating with all your campaign's followers at once, with sub-groups broadly or narrowly defined — donors, volunteers, moms concerned about school funding, etc. — and for instigating conversations among campaign friends and fans.

Social media is a message board and a listening post. It provides a sense of cohesion and belonging — tangible and intangible elements that are fundamental to campaign success.

Virtually any campaign-related content is ideal for social posting, as long as it is timely, relevant, intriguing, surprising, fun . . . something attention-grabbing and worth a second glance. Words are great, but images, videos and infographics tend to get more shares. Post candidate videos on YouTube and post brief clips of them with link on other social platforms and digital media.

We could go on about using social media to boost your political campaign, but what you really want to know is . . .

How Does OOH Fit In?

Out-of-home leverages social media activity in two crucial ways.

1. Lead generation

Out-of-home can spark interest by repeating key points from social posts — say a surprising statistic about one of your key positions or the candidate herself — and providing an immediate response mechanism for viewers to use while they're in the moment, wherever they are out in the real world.

  • That might be a scannable QR code.
  • Or it might be a short URL that leads to your website to read your position paper, to hear a personal audio message, to donate, sign up for canvassing, etc.
  • Or it could be a hashtag and invitation to follow you on Facebook or Twitter.

OOH can get people thinking or make them laugh, but it can also lead them directly into the fold of your campaign, primed for further engagement.

2. Reinforce messaging

By repeating social media content and themes, OOH also supports key campaign talking points and puts them in front of far more people. It's like cross-posting content across multiple social platforms, with the added benefit of longevity.

Online posts tend to be short-lived unless you manage to get a hot-and-heavy conversation going. By comparison, traditional out-of-home media hold your message in place for all to see, and digital OOH repeats your message frequently.

By the way, that short video clip you posted on social? You can display it as a digital OOH message, too, on indoor screens or on the side of a mobile truck.

Now let's talk about texting

Texting (SMS) isn't technically a social media interaction, but we often speak of them together, perhaps because cell phones are typically the device in hand. Texting is a ubiquitous form of communication now, across all ages of voters. Campaigns rely heavily on texting because it is cheap, easy and wildly effective. Text messages:

Like social media, texting is a great choice for outgoing communication to supporters. Once someone has opted in, you can send them updates and personal messages about your campaign — individually, in targeted groups or everyone on your list all at once.

Broadcast texting is OK because opting-in gives you permission to communicate. However, robotexting is illegal because it uses an auto-dialer to call mobile phone numbers without prior permission to deliver a message).

Peer-to-peer texting can feel much more personal, since messages are sent to and from a specific individual. Technology that supports peer-to-peer texting allows you to stay in touch with thousands of voters and also hold real-time individual conversations (with AI-assist in some cases). You can survey recipients, request donations, etc.

OOH turns texting into an incoming asset

Like social media, SMS can generate leads and inspire engagement when you combine it with out-of-home advertising.

Instead of a call to action that uses a QR code, short URL or hashtag for right-now online response, an invitation to text I'M IN to 12345 to donate (or whatever your call to action is) makes it so easy! Plus, if this voter has not yet opted into your SMS feed, now you have their phone number and the door is open for further engagement.

Both texting and social media turn solid gold when folks start sharing selfies with your OOH-emblazoned street side poster or bus bench or your wrapped taco truck. Or of themselves and their friends wearing your campaign T-shirt. Or waving signs at your rally.

You get the idea. You provide the OOH photo op and watch your campaign go viral.

Have an upcoming political campaign that you are looking to enhance with OOH? Download Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of our new political playbook series to help keep you ahead of your competition.

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