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Digital Holiday Guide helps candidates, campaigns stay on social media “nice list”

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

With Hanukkah in full swing, and Christmas and New Year’s Eve not far behind, finding a spot on the holiday “nice list” is on the minds of most Floridians.

Tallahassee-based Strategic Digital Services, Florida’s leading firm specializing in data for political campaigns and causes, launched its 2015 Holiday Guide — a social media blueprint to help Florida associations, candidates and elected officials have a happy, trouble-free holiday season.

The guide offers a wealth of examples — many taken from national campaigns — of what to do (and what to avoid) in crafting effective messages to the public. It helps users avoid some of the pitfalls found in discussing both secular and religious themes.

As social media joins online shopping to become an even larger part of the holiday season, Americans take to the Internet to stay in touch with friends and family. In a December 2014 poll, 57 percent of Americans used social media to wish friends and family happy holidays; 40 percent said they shared holiday photographs and videos.

SDS recognizes the importance of crafting effective communication to fit the medium — not just for the holidays, but also year-round. And, increasingly, the preferred medium for Americans to get online, for politics and the holidays, is mobile.

“Many people will spend a decent portion of the holidays using tablets and mobile phones to avoid another round of ‘Are you seeing anyone?’ from relatives,” says SDS co-founder Matt Farrar. “The eyeballs are there — we promise. We hope this guide helps Florida politicos cut through the proverbial digital holiday glitter.”

Included in the guide are hints, tips and tricks to create powerful visual messages for the holiday. For example, the nine-page PDF offers suggestions on the preferred spelling for Hanukkah, ways to highlight a candidate’s family life in holiday messages and how to reach out to secular constituents during the winter season.

According to SDS co-founder Joe Clements, research shows adults spend 51 percent of Internet usage time per day on mobile devices, with adult smartphone users spending more than 16 hours a month on social networking and search engines.

“Creating content tailored for mobile isn’t just important, it is a game changer,” Clements says. “It can mean the difference between someone looking like JFK or Nixon from that fated first televised debate.”

The SDS 2015 Holiday Guide is now available for download online.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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