If you’ve been following our Real Life Apps® series, you may have been wondering when we were going to get around to the political arena. The power of social media was demonstrated in the 2008 presidential election, when then-Senator Barack Obama used Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube to mobilize and energize supporters. Since then, most serious political candidates include social media campaigns in what we call their C2V (candidate to voter) communication strategies.
If you’re thinking about running for office (or re-election), you know that one of the biggest challenges is getting your message “out there.” Old school campaigning (yard signs, billboards, radio and TV placements) will continue to have a place, but a campaign that does not include new media outlets (webpages, e-mail blasts, and Twitter and Facebook feeds) will miss many opportunities to connect with voters. A mobile app for your campaign is a natural, and cost-effective, extension of those efforts. Here are some of the things a mobile app can do for your campaign:
- Qualifications – educate voters about your qualifications.
- Positions – let voters know your positions, where you stand on the issues that are important to them. Even better, get feedback from them.
- Photos and video feeds – a mobile app can deliver photos and video from all those events you’re attending. You can also use mobile apps as another outlet for broadcast ads. The best part? This media outlet is available at a fraction of the cost of traditional broadcast media. According to the NY Times, Obama’s 2008 campaign videos on YouTube racked up 14.5 million hours of eyeball time – that amount of time on broadcast television would have cost $47 million. Guess how much it cost on YouTube. You can push that video using your custom app.
- Mobilize constituents – use a mobile app to push notices of upcoming appearances and events. On election day, use your app to get out the vote.
- Share – a mobile app can be configured to allow your supporters to share information from the app with their friends, organically increasing the places your message will reach.
- Fund raising – finally, mobile apps can be used to raise the funds needed for a successful campaign. Electronic payment options are easier and more convenient for your supporters and provide a means to raise funds quickly and inexpensively.
A mobile app for your campaign is a must if you want to reach the younger demographic. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. As Terrence O’Brien recently observed on switched.com, “Simply having an app, even a poorly executed one, can go a long way in convincing the electorate that a candidate is not only technologically literate, but in fact adept — an increasingly important quality for 21st century politicians.”
If you’re running for office and don’t have an app, it’s time to get one. Whether you want a full-blown custom app with all the bells and whistles or a template app for a low-budget campaign, you need a mobile app to get your message out there.
Have some ideas for political apps? Leave a comment and let us know about them.