How social media helped Jay Fant and Jay Trumbull win their state House races

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During the primary I did Facebook consulting through Brett Doster of  Front Line Strategies for Jay Trumbull’s and Jay Fant’s House campaigns.

For Fant, the turning point of the campaign, on Facebook, was when SaintPetersBlog published this article.

Up to that time we were only reaching 300 to 400 people organically, meaning the campaign did not have to pay for an ad to get a post in someone’s timeline. We posted the article from the blog to Facebook in the evening.

The next morning we had already reached over 1,000 people who saw the article organically on Facebook. The campaign then set up a very targeted audience in the district and we bought advertising to reach this group. In 24 hours this article had reached over 14,000 people up to an average of 4 times each. We had 196 likes, 27 comments and 33 shares.

Very successful for very little cost!!

At the end of the campaign Paul Renner, the opposition, had 394 likes and Jay Fant had 1,045 likes. With some tools from Facebook that we were able to program, we were able to cross-match Facebook ID’s to voters and have our team follow-up on those at the end who had not voted. We were also able to confirm who lived in the district and had liked the Facebook page.

Buy the end of the campaign we were reaching well over a 1,000 people organically with many of our posts. That was true of both campaigns. In fact, the last post of the Jay Trumbull campaign reached almost 2,000 Facebook timelines without spending a penny on advertising.

With very little money we were able to let everyone that liked us and their friends know about our walks. By the end we were reaching most of this group without advertising. This group that liked us are the “Social” media people that are interested in politics.

These are the activist that others ask for advice of who to vote for.

Facebook tells you within hours what content is working and what ads are working. For my most successful Ads the campaign paid as little as $.08 per engagement. An engagement is someone taking action on your post. For ads that people were not interested in we paid as much as $2.70 per engagement. But before we paid $5 on a bad ad we were able to kill that ad. The cost per one of our ads to appear in someone’s timeline averaged out to about $.006. What a deal!

Another thing that Facebook allows you to do is to interact with the voters. Jay Trumbull was great at this. Facebook sends you an email when you get a new comment or message. Jay would answer most of these right away.

The people that ask you questions are the ones that are super interested in politics and usually have a network of friends they network with. When you get these people on board they will bring their network along with them.

It was interesting the kind of posts that are popular on Facebook. First Facebook requires your post all be certain sizes. If you don’t make them the correct size, parts of your graphic is cutoff. You cannot have more than 20% text in your graphics.

The ads that worked the best were the personal post. When advertising for likes we always used 6 different graphics and Facebook automatically test and promotes the graphics that get the best results.

For Trumbull a picture of Jay and Brittany his wife and dog walking on the beach was one of the top ‘like’ getters.

trumbull facebook ad bob west 1

For Jay Fant, one of the top ‘like’ getter was Jay with his daughter fishing.

jay trumbull bob west facebook ad 2

We were pleasantly surprised when we posted a picture of Jay Trumbull and his wife. In the post we gave the background of his wife. This post had a very strong response. So we targeted the audience and put a little money behind it to reach most of his district.

We ended up with 177 likes.

The best post were the ones with kids, family and dogs. Pictures of the candidate walking and waving signs were also good. I think you need to have post with issues. There are voters that want to know where the candidate stands. More important to a lot of voters in the primary is to know the candidate is like them and working hard for their vote.

You can’t post too often. Do not post more than once a day at the very most. If you post more than this your post does not have a chance to reach your whole audience. This will bring down your reach for all posts. If you post too often, people will begin to consider you spam and will block your posts.

You need to ask yourself before each time you post, “would you ‘like’ this post if you received it in your timeline?”

As many people know, for years I worked in redistricting for the Florida House of Representatives. There I analyzed elections. After leaving the House, during the last election cycle, I analyzed many candidate’s Facebook friends and likes.

I discovered that very few of the people that were their friends or liked a candidate on Facebook were in their districts and could vote for the candidate. There must be a better way to target the message and make social media more effective.

This primary has proven a lot of the theories of how to use Facebook in campaigns.

Social media is the future. If you are a candidate you need to invest in a Facebook page first. You need to work to build the number of people in your district that ‘like’ you to over 1,000 likes, more if you can get them.

You need to not spam your Facebook likers by posting more than once a day. You do need a plan to make sure you reached 90% of your targeted group with ads every week during the last month of the campaign.

Candidates need to get social.