Digital campaign tools extend far beyond setting up a Facebook page and asking your friends and family to share it. Although the control dashboards can be intimidating, you might be surprised at how cost effective the tools, when used effectively, can be.
When I first heard about companies like Cambridge Analytica and the morally ambiguous digital tactics they used to score political wins, I set out to study their tactics with an eye towards replicating them. Although I have yet to see any compelling evidence that CA acted illegally, or even immorally (at worst, it seems like they may have violated Facebook’s Terms of Service), I strongly believe we can counter-balance their tactics without ever crossing the line into black hat, or even grey hat, tactics.
IF YOU AREN’T MICROTARGETING AND RETARGETING, YOU AREN’T TAKING ADVANTAGE
In the old days a campaign came down to which side best identified a few issues that appealed to the majority of constituents. The successful candidate was the one that put together a team that could accurately read the electorate and craft a message to reach the most people.
Digital media is changing the rules.
If you aren’t taking the time to tailor the right message to the right demographic, you’re behind the curve.
Imagine running for a city council office and being able to craft a message directly to military personnel–or even veterans– in your city, putting it on video, and placing it right in front of their eyes within minutes.
But wait, there’s more…
Then you can turn around and do the same thing for small business owners, low income households, families with young children, and so on.
Or how about fundraising for an animal rescue? Would it be helpful to be able to send a targeted video to people you knew had been browsing profiles of available cats?
Of course it would! How much do you think a simple message along these lines would increase donations: "Even if you can’t adopt or foster right now, your five dollar donation can help Mr. Twinkles with his injections so he can find his forever home!" Double?
If you’re a bootstrapped nonprofit scrambling to raise funds or the underdog in a local election there’s a good chance your competition isn’t aware these tools exist. Even if they are aware, though, they probably do not have an inkling of just how powerful they really are.
How do I know this? I have been studying these techniques from entrepreneurs that have made millions of dollars though them. Yet, if you comb through case studies published by preeminent digital campaign agencies like Revolution Messaging you will see a lot of focus on emerging technologies and innovation.
Here’s the thing: I’m talking about tried and true digital marketing methods that can literally cost you pennies.
You don’t have to have a multi-million dollar budget to take advantage of the tools I’m talking about. What it all comes down to is:
- FaceBook ads
- FB Retargeting
- FB Lookalike audiences
- Google AdWords
- Search Engine Optimization
The right mix of platforms can be different for each campaign, but all of the above provide something that is really key to all of this: analytics.
Analytics gives you the power to quickly see what’s working and what’s not. They help you decide when to scale up, and when to kill an ad. If there is one thing that makes digital marketing more advantageous than traditional marketing, it has to be the level of analytics you can look at on any given campaign.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER
I am looking for three to five non-profits to help me test out these tactics. I’ll work with you to develop the right custom strategy for your organization and goals. I will handle the development of your ‘funnel,’ and setting up your campaigns. For thirty days I will manage your campaign, tweaking ads 2-3 times per week as we watch the analytics, totally for free (you will have to pay for the $10-$20 per day ad spend).
All I ask in exchange is that I can use your case for a future blog article or white paper.
The entire Facebook platform is designed to put content in front of users that want to see it. A message crafted for a specific audience is not itself unethical in any way unless you are deliberately misleading it.
I firmly believe that in the digital realm it is possible to fight fire with fire without crossing the line. If we really believe that our message has the power of truth behind it, then we should be eager to engage in a fair fight once we know the lay of the land.
Progressives are still playing catch up when it comes to these tactics and strategies, but once we start employing them effectively, we are going to win.