Using Internet Tools to Build A Bigger Megaphone
In today’s noisy world, groups are often hard-pressed to get their message out to potential supporters. In order to become recognized, you need to build a bigger megaphone than your competition and the Internet is that bigger megaphone.
This especially holds true in the political space where all types of groups that represent every part of the political spectrum are competing for people’s attention. Even at the local level, there are an amazing number of groups attempting to convince people that their issue is the one.Remember that for every program, there is a constituency.
In the world of Al Gore’s amazing Internet, there are the keys to unlock the ears of listeners. In order to compete with internet-savvy groups, one must adopt their techniques and be better at them.
Let’s start at the top. If you have an issue or a group that is advocating for certain positions, first and foremost, you will need a website. But here’s the key to having a website. Make sure that it’s the very best that you can create.
You only have 4-5 seconds to grab a viewers attention. Make sure that it loads fast and looks professional. Amateur sites on the wide-world of the Web are a dime-a-dozen. In fact, the majority are slapped together and just sit there. Remember the aphorism about the tree falling in the forest. Well, if your site is unattractive no one will come (unlike the Field of Dreams).
Make sure that your site is stocked with relevant posts that will attract readers because they offer them something. Attracting followers on the Internet is all about giving them something that they need. That need might be goods, services or a political philosophy that gives them hope. Depressing doom-and-gloom pronouncements will only discourage participation.
Look around at other sites in your space and imitate the more successful ones. You’ll find plenty of good and bad sites to review. Here’s the most important lesson. By using Search Engine Optimization, you can get Google to bring organic traffic to your site. And it doesn’t cost you anything. What a bargain!
In order to spread your message, you will need to use all of the tools of Social Media Marketing that are currently available. Again, these are free tools that if used properly can be an effective means of gaining followers. Let’s look at a few.
One of the most popular social media tools is Twitter. This micro-blogging platform when used properly can spread your message far and wide. It can also be used to communicate information to your followers. Ignoring the use of Twitter will take a serious weapon in the social media wars out of your hands.
Facebook is the most popular social media site in the world with almost one billion subscribers. As a communications conduit it is so effective that many authoritarian regimes are attempting to censor or block its use in their countries. Facebook had a great deal to do with the successful overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt.
Many people use LinkedIn Groups to spread their message and discuss their positions. This platform was once only used by business people but in the last several years it has become another social media platform. Let’s say that it’s a higher class site than Facebook with an easier interface and navigation system.
Pinterest is a content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their pinboard. Members can browse image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, ‘re-pin’ images to their own collections or ‘like’ photos. It’s an excellent vehicle for disseminating photos and videos.
Instagram is an online photo-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take a picture, apply a digital filter to it, and share it on a variety of social networking services, including its own.Since it’s a cell phone app you can get the IPhone version here and the Android version here. Remember there are over 160 million smartphones in America and the number grows daily.
Google+ is yet another social media site that uses a different approach. Instead of pages or groups, Google+ uses circles that include people who are interested in a particular topic or interest. Thus, you can be a member of several groups if you have several different interests.
YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world after their parent company, Google. Individuals, groups and companies use Youtube channels to promote themselves. If a picture is worth a 1,000 words then a video (done properly) is worth 10,000 words. Videos are easy to shoot and upload to YouTube. The service can be very effective disseminating information.
Finally, the most important thing that you need to do with every interaction is to collect email addresses. Remember the power is in the list. Collect them any way that you can. Entice followers with ebook giveaways, weekly newsletters and updates. You must do whatever it takes to get that email address.
The use of these and other emerging internet technologies will help to level the playing field, especially for smaller startups with limited (or no) budget.