Door to door canvassing and public gatherings are not going to happen this political season. The threat of COVID still looms in droplets in the Summer air. Political hopefuls will have to connect with voters in other creative ways to solidify votes. What can replace the staple of the “Door Knock?” It is hard to replace a quality face to face interaction, but here are some creative tips for our politicians-to-be along with the pros and cons of each tactic.
Virtual Town Halls
Virtual Town Halls are a convenient way for potential voters to ask direct questions to the candidates. It is a digital platform, like Zoom, where people log in and chat via video conference.
Pros: Easy accessibility from the comfort of your home for people who are tech savvy. You can ask political questions to candidates while still in your pajamas!
Cons: Although easy for most people to log into, individuals that are not technically inclined may be dissuaded from trying to log into a Zoom meeting. There is a lack of personal “touch” and ability to read body language through a video conferencing platform.
Name a Sandwich
Partner with a local restaurant that makes awesome sandwiches. Ask if they would support your run for office by naming a sandwich after you. This is a creative and yummy way to get some name recognition.
Pros: Creative and unexpected are the paths to sticky ideas. The idea, in this case, is your name and campaign slogan. Also, supporting a local business can be tied into your campaign platforms and ideas.
Cons: There may be limited visibility due to less traffic at restaurants. You will also need to get political buy-in from this local business.
Social Media Videos
Videos on social media command a higher organic engagement rate by nearly 50%. Creating a profile video about yourself and your platform would be a great tool to introduce yourself to your voter base.
Pros: Video is really accessible and easy to do with the technology available. A smart phone and some apps and you can create a rough video that can introduce your thoughts to the community. Execute a series of these and start building a political brand.
Cons: The rules around political content on social media are ever changing. You may not be able to “boost” or promote your video content in a paid ad form if you are not an authorized political advertiser. This can make it difficult to get traction on your video to be seen.
Small Business Coupon Books
Supporting small businesses can never steer you wrong. Develop partnerships with local businesses and create a coupon book with your name and slogan on it. Pass these out at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and anywhere with foot traffic.
Pros: Support small businesses by giving them free advertising, especially after the recent riots and protests left some businesses without storefronts.
Cons: People may not be comfortable attending
A direct mailer is an old-fashioned way to connect with people. Keeping pieces eye-catching and short will help with name recognition and educating voters.
Pros: No barriers of entry. Everyone with an address can receive a mailer. This is an appealing avenue for older residents that may shy away from technology platforms to interact.
Cons: Price. It is expensive to design and print thousands of mailers. Often they are tossed out.
Our Summer parades have been canceled, but we can still have car parades! Plan out a route and recruit your supporters to drive around town with decorated cars plastered with your name and face.
Pros: Inexpensive, fun, and memorable.
Cons: There is a little bit of logistical organization that goes into this. A campaign manager can help facilitate an activity like this.
Social Distanced Gathering
Outdoor social distanced gatherings during the Summer are plausible, weather permitting. Wearing masks, people may feel comfortable to interact with incumbents to learn more about their platform and the issues.
Pros: People may be more likely to go outside and attend these events because they are fatigued from quarantine. An outdoor meet and greet event could be a safe way to learn about your candidate. Nothing beats a face to face interaction, even if the face is covered with a mask.
Cons: There is still a safety issue regarding COVID, even while distancing and wearing masks outside. People may not want to respect the mask-wearing policy, which can make other attendees uncomfortable.
CTV Speak Outs
CTV North Suburbs provides a free opportunity for candidates to have a video of themselves shot, showcasing their platform and educating viewers about themselves. This is a free opportunity for a professional grade video that can be seen on social media, cable, and your own campaign website.
Pros: Visibility and accessibility. CTV North Suburbs has a strong built-in audience. Leveraging that audience to see your message is an effective way to tap into different voter demographics.
Cons: Absolutely none, but I’m a little biased.
Twitter is the platform for politicians. Tweet about the issues and trending political hashtags. Provide input on popular, political tweets to gain followers. This will help with name recognition and to bring attention to your cause.
Pros: A great way to directly connect with people. Twitter is accessible and easy. It is also free to sign up.
Cons: Consistency is key. To gain traction and followers, you must tweet meaningful content every day, as well as provide insight on other tweets. This can be time consuming.
Everyone who is running for office should have a built-in network already. Message and call those individuals directly to let them know you are running for office and to vote for you!
Pros: Your own network is a great fundraising tool and more likely to vote for you because of a personal relationship. Utilize this to help propel your campaign. Ask your network to vouch for you and to connect you with other people.
The political season is going to be vastly different this year. Incumbents are going to have a steep hill to climb to get their name out there. CTV North Suburbs is hosting our Candidate Speak Outs this year (link to invitation to speak outs). Contact us at email@example.com to reserve your spot. We are social distancing the recordings, so reservations are booking up.