4 Things You Need To Know About NationBuilder

In the political tech space, NationBuilder is a very popular platform for building around online mobilization. I have used NationBuilder on campaigns and have completed the “Certified Expert” course. So I have had a chance to explore tool and its capabilities. Because NationBuilder seems to be the “go to” platform for political and advocacy campaigns at the moment, I thought I would offer some thoughts for those who are looking at building a site using NationBuilder or incorporating it into their digital advocacy programme. Read more

Traditional Campaigning Needs Scrutiny

In many ways, traditional campaigns haven’t changed in 30 years or more. Anyone who has ever run any kind of political campaign know that there are fairly consistent pillars of contemporary campaigns: brochures, signs, print/TV/radio ads, phone banks, canvassing and (more recently) digital. As an individual who advocates for a robust digital presence, I am constantly asked to provide evidence that money spend on online campaigning will produce concrete, measurable results.

That is understandable. Politics is about managing scarcity; so it is not a surprise that those managing a campaign would want to ensure that allocated funds are spent wisely. And one of the more compelling reasons to spend on digital is because of the ability to track and test everything you do. With standard analytics you can determine – with a great degree of accuracy – what does and does not work. Read more

How Not To Defend Yourself Online

Long-time Mayor of Brampton Susan Fennell is in a tough campaign to be reelected. According to a poll conducted in the spring, Fennell is polling at around 18%, putting her in third place. One of the key reasons for this, observers say, is an expense controversy that has dogged Fennell for quite some time.

In response to this reality, Fennell has launched a Brampton Truths initiative, which looks to counter some of the allegations around her. The Mayor has tweeted a link to an email her team sent to the media responding to allegations. Her team has also decided to take the fight to social media, setting up a Twitter account and Facebook Page. Read more

Rethinking Hashtag Campaigns

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I approach hashtag campaigns very cautiously, as I have talked about here and here. But recently I have started to rethink the utility of hashtag campaigns, primarily in the area of raising awareness.

There is plenty of data to support the statement that hashtags work. I wrote about some of that data here. As I noted in that post, even Twitter itself has data to show that hashtags increase engagement for both individuals and brands. As my colleague Mark pointed out last week, it makes more sense to jump on an existing hashtag than try and start your own one. Read more

Get Hijacked Or Have Conversations

As we get closer to municipal elections, I see more and more candidates jumping on Twitter to start conversations – and that’s awesome. I think it’s great that candidates are finally recognizing that they need to have those conversations online and reach a broader base of voters. What’s not so awesome is when candidates create their own hashtags, for example #hardwickformayor (no, I’m not running for mayor anytime soon).

Here’s a few reasons why I would not recommend creating your own hashtag – unless of course, you’re a Twitter superstar. Hashtags are where conversations happen – positive and negative. When you create a hashtag you’re assuming people will congregate on it. Well, one of three things will happen: Read more