A new type of political engagement is taking over the country, and it’s all thanks to the technology that has become an integral part of our lives. As we approach midterms during a very critical election year, digital advocacy campaigns have become more closely interlinked with GOTV efforts. Data collected from The Pew Research Center furthers, more than half of Americans have been civically active on social media in the past year, and a majority of Americans think social media is important for getting elected officials to pay attention to issues or for initiating sustained social movements.
Use a Civic Action Center and get out the vote by providing supporters with valuable election information.
With more voters opting to cast their ballots in early-vote windows or using an absentee ballot, campaigns are focused on the tools for making registration, ballot requests, and access to voter information as effortless as possible. Digital resources are being utilized to target audiences, fund advertising, and raise awareness on key election issues. Modern GOTV is more than clipboards, door-to-door canvassing, or phone banking. Organizers are leveraging technology to reach their goals in the face of a challenging and important election.
The Revival of Text Messaging Tools
SMS/text messaging tools first arrived on the scene during George H.W. Bush’s era, and their continued domination of the grassroots industry is perplexing, but not unexplainable. Email inboxes are overcrowded with messages that can easily be ignored by the average voter. Facebook has historically appealed to political advertisers by offering microtargeted ads.
Even in 2016, both Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump used text messages to raise funds and engage with voters. More recently, Doug Jones and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez relied heavily on text messaging tools and social media to win their campaigns. Text messages—read at higher rates than emails and less invasive than phone calls, offer a timely alternative to campaigns across both aisles. The Boston Globe of September 3rd, 2018 notes, Democrats and Republicans alike are relying on mass-texting to reach a large number of voters and raise awareness for their causes.
Social Media’s Continued Dominance
Social networking sites have established themselves as a venue for political debate and discussion, where people can engage in civic-related activities. The aforementioned Pew Research Center report highlights the “Me Too” movement as a recent example of social media playing a part in raising awareness around a key issue. Social media also has the unique ability to give a voice to underrepresented groups, highlight important issues that may not get mainstream media attention, and it makes it easier for people to hold elected officials accountable.
Millenials are particularly savvy when it comes to social media and political engagement, however, only 28 percent of young voters say they will certainly vote in the 2018 midterm elections. The key to studying this paradox and encouraging millenials to come to the polls in November is meeting them where they’re already politically active: social networks. An in-depth report last year from Vice explains, the world’s first digital generation has melded tried-and-true activist methods with social media. Millennials have a unique ability to organize, drive awareness and influence other generations through vast social media networks, with an ease and to a degree we haven’t seen before. Considering millennials will make up the largest generation of eligible voters in 2020, engaging with them and observing them on social media could provide much-needed insight into the future of this nation.
Phone2Action’s latest social media innovation addition is the Advocacy Chatbot, which allows users to take action on campaigns directly within Facebook Messenger. There’s a surge in demand for such tools, as organizations grow their advocacy programs and work to cement themselves into today’s political environment.
Data analytics are becoming more useful as online tools are integrated into political advocacy programs. Mission-oriented organizations that take a data-drive approach to advocacy are producing more targeted campaigns and yielding better results. As digital advocacy software continues to evolve, so will the ability to interpret and use data in new and insightful ways. For companies, the ability to mobilize supporters to take action on an issue is centered at the heart of corporate social responsibility. Nonprofits exist to provide solutions for causes that impact countless people. Combining these efforts and having the momentum to create movements can empower each individual citizen, and it propels us into an era of accountability and solvency.
As we begin to gear up for 2019, we’re thrilled at the opportunities to bolster grassroots efforts and engage everyone to change the world—one click at a time.
Download The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Grassroots Advocacy, and find out how you can optimize your organization’s digital presence.
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