Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Digital politics in U.S.A.'s teen years

This will be the last election candidates can be lame in digital media and still win.

Be it Iowa, Arizona, or South Dakota, local candidates need to absorb what national politicians have learned during election cycles in the past 10 years, digital media is replacing lawn signs and television advertising.

Two Arizona county supervisor challengers just established their Facebook pages this spring during the registration period for running for this position. Both are viewed as "digital carpetbaggers" by those knowledgeable in digital political marketing.

Today you do not wait until the election cycle to establish your credentials. If you're planning to run for an office in 2014 or 2016, you must, and I mean emphatically, must establish your digital credentials today. I don't mean October, 2012; I mean right now (shouting)!

The incumbent county supervisor above was advised of this a year ago. He waived off this as silly marketing and is sticking to his traditional way of politicking as he has for the past two decades. His political consultants he's used for those two decades are advising him on this.

He is now in the fight of his political life with a 30-something challenger nearly half his age and computer-generation savvy. While she uses YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, the incumbent does not post to Facebook and recently rebuilt his website using strict HTML code. Strict HTML code is death for those using mobile marketing - which by 2014 will be the majority of how voters get their information about candidates.

His challenger is out knocking door to door, carrying her mobile device, meeting with prestigious law firms and businesses, while the incumbent drapes himself in the fact he has held the office for two decades - something his challenger is successfully using against him.

Digital video

A Republican moving from the state house to senate has her website up. She has her Facebook ikon on it, no Twitter, no Instagram, no YouTube, no Pinterest , no Viddy and no Linkedin profile. Again, her website is not configured for IOS6, Android or other mobile platforms.

Yet a man running for U.S. Senate in this state politician's district has all his television ads up on YouTube - and releases them before they hit television. He tweets about them. No, he's not using Viddy or Instagram yet, but he is exploring Pinterest. The difference between a local contest and national is the higher office seeker needs to be on top of the digital game - something local politicians now need as well and it will be crucial during the 2014 election.

My own Phoenix Councilman Jim Waring (and I will call him out) is doing things right in the digital arena. He was an advocate of putting the Phoenix City Council meetings online. I now save more than $10 in gasoline each time the council meets because I'm watching it online, saving on parking too. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has encouraged me to tweet during the meeting - using a tweet to do it. The tweets have yet to make it into the council minutes.

Waring does what I curse other politicians for not doing. Facebook has an "events" feature (So does Google+, but Google locked me out of Google+, saying Marketing Sociologist is not a real name. As soon as I replied neither is Lady Gaga or Elton John, Google shut down my Google+ account and refuses to discuss opening it). Waring creates an event tab for meetings, fund raising events and posts to Facebook after and recently during these meetings. Bravo for Waring. In February he will celebrate his third year on Twitter.

Digital politics is not advertising or public relations driven

If city politicians are exploiting teen years technology, it is time those running for judge-ships, state offices, etc., to move to 21st Century political marketing.

Last night a woman running for Arizona State Senate told me she has an advertising firm running her campaign. I advised not to have advertising firms involved. "Media companies don’t understand technology because they are not run by technologists," Eric Picard, CEO of Rare Crowds, wrote in Ad-Exchanger in August, 2012. My saying is "Social media = we were an advertising or public relations firm in 2010." Same reason as Picard. Less than 25 percent of Public Relations Society of American members are APR accredited, and those in the field are bringing this lack of dedication to the digital realm. Why I became C.I.W. certified.

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