Last week, the @TwitterDC team brought together 200 Washington insiders for our annual #Twitter4Politics event. The key insights that emerged from the event were simple but powerful. They were also applicable well beyond the Beltway for brands who want to build affinity and drive action.
Live Tweeting insights from our nation’s capital for #Twitter4Politics today pic.twitter.com/IiN73Sm1Jl— Twitter Advertising ( @TwitterAds) July 14, 2015
The conversation kicked off with Vincent Harris (@VincentHarris), Chief Digital Strategist for @RandPaul, and Keegan Goudiss (@goudiss), who manages paid advertising for @BernieSanders, trading political best practices on Twitter and more than a few barbs.
#Twitter4Politics with @jigolden @VincentHarris & @goudiss Political Best Practices Panel pic.twitter.com/SBwHvLEUoP— Brian Wohlert ( @BrianWohlert) July 14, 2015
Congress members Will Hurd (@HurdOnTheHill) and Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) then shared incisive, often witty perspectives on the power of Twitter to connect them with their constituents.
Happening now in DC: @ChrisMurphyCT and @HurdOnTheHill are sharing their experiences on Twitter at #Twitter4Politics. pic.twitter.com/vmpcxHi7UI— Twitter Government ( @gov) July 14, 2015
Read on for their five tips for Twitter advertisers from #Twitter4Politics.
1. Target influencers
Every industry has them: the individuals who share their opinions and sway those of others. They are the people that shape the conversation around products and brands, and ultimately help determine the outcomes of elections. Influencers could be reporters, analysts, celebrities, moms or millennials – and Twitter is the best way to reach them, according to @VincentHarris.
“If you’re looking to reach influencers, Twitter is the best platform to do that.” - @VincentHarris #Twitter4Politics— Shana Glickfield ( @dcconcierge) July 14, 2015
For the @RandPaul campaign, his team specifically creates lists of journalists in early primary states and then uses Twitter Ads to target these influencers anonymously as a “really good cheap, effective way to get a piece of content out there in front of people that you want to see it: journalists who are going to help with their megaphone push a piece of content out further.”
Twitter creative lets you shape a moment with narrative in real time @VincentHarris #twitter4politics— JaimeVasilWinkelfoos ( @JaimeEVW) July 14, 2015
Representative @HurdOnTheHill finds that Twitter is also a powerful way to be an influencer. He turns to Twitter to reach people who may not be his typical supporters “but can be moved on the issues.”
On Twitter, you can connect with people who aren’t the likely voters but can be moved on the issues. - @hurdonthehill #Twitter4Politics— Twitter Advertising ( @TwitterAds) July 14, 2015
An added benefit to this approach: He has found that Twitter has helped improve his writing, making it more precise and persuasive in 140 characters or less.
Agree w/@HurdOnTheHill… @twitter has made me a more precise & incisive writer across mediums. #Twitter4Politics— Steven G. Cruz ( @StevenCruz) July 14, 2015
2. Respond in real time
In today’s always on environment, voters expect elected officials to respond quickly to breaking news and cultural moments. And in many ways, customers are quickly coming to expect the same of brands.
.@joell showcased an area where politics led private business: rapid response. #Twitter4Politics— Endeavor Strategies ( @endeavorsays) July 14, 2015
@VincentHaris believes Twitter actually defines rapid response.
“Twitter EQUALS rapid response, there is a live conversation stream there no one else has…” @VincentHarris #Twitter4Politics— Tony Nelan ( @tnelan) July 14, 2015
@goudiss agrees saying Twitter’s unique value to advertisers is its real-time nature: “whether it’s during the Women’s World Cup final or a presidential debate, you can target your message to people who are extremely engaged in the moment they are most receptive.” While conversations may be happening on other platforms too, he believes “most people turn to Twitter to comment on something happening right now.”
For Senator @ChrisMurphyCT there is no better medium than Twitter to “very quickly communicate what you think about an issue. You can’t wait an hour or two. The expectation is that you will share your thoughts right now.” He revealed that another advantage to sharing his thoughts in real time is media coverage: he has actually “gotten more headlines with Tweets than with press releases.”
“I have gotten more headlines off of tweets than press releases.” - @ChrisMurphyCT #Twitter4Politics— Jen Nedeau ( @JenNedeau) July 14, 2015
The senator is also a consumer on the other end, using Twitter to get his news from “the people I trust the most.”
“I’m unapologetic about the fact that Twitter is the first way I get news” @ChrisMurphyCT keeping it real at #Twitter4Politics— Karrah Dillman ( @KarrahMD) July 14, 2015
3. Show personality
Twitter offers elected officials – and brands alike – a place to share their values and interests, according to @ChrisMurphyCT. It’s revolutionary, he says, because “Twitter helps you break through the stereotype of what people think a politician is.” It’s a way to humanize your brand.
Twitter allows political leaders to be accessible to the public. #Twitter4Politics— Alex Licea ( @alexlicea82) July 14, 2015
He uses Twitter to show “more personality than you can in a press release or news clips.”
On Twitter: “Most immediate value was to pull back the veil & talk beyond political sphere.” A+ approach, @ChrisMurphyCT. #Twitter4Politics— Tony Fontana ( @Tony_Fontana) July 14, 2015
That means letting people get to know him by talking about his kids, interests like the Red Sox and a brief stint as a #Belieber.
.@ChrisMurphyCT says @twitter allows elected officials to convey who they are and breakthrough the formality to followers #Twitter4Politics— Lauren Fliegelman ( @LoFliegs) July 14, 2015
.@ChrisMurphyCT is surprisingly hilarious “#BieberFeverCured” Ha! Someone’s no longer a #Belieber. #Twitter4Politics— Steven G. Cruz ( @StevenCruz) July 14, 2015
Similarly, @HurdOnTheHill shows multiple sides of his personality on Twitter – balancing talk about Texas border security with lighter debates over his pop music favorite.
At #Twitter4Politics event — @HurdOnTheHill referenced this amazing fight w/ @RepMarthaRoby over @TaylorSwift13 https://t.co/Y2IRFsdfk9— Sean Evins ( @Evins) July 14, 2015
Yep. Every morning! @taylorswift13 #Twitter4Politics https://t.co/tHyx0WIqxv— Rep. Will Hurd ( @HurdOnTheHill) July 14, 2015
What’s the response when Congressmen show off the lighter side of their personalities? We saw the answer in the #Twitter4Politics Tweets: people are surprised by the authenticity and like them more.
Casually discussing Pitch Perfect and Harry Potter with Congress #Twitter4Politics pic.twitter.com/RlVRV1SvJY— Kate Lardner ( @katelardner) July 14, 2015
Am I watching live standup comedy? ?@HurdOnTheHill & @ChrisMurphyCT totally winning over the crowd at #twitter4politics— Hae Jun Chung ( @haejun_chung) July 14, 2015
These guys are super likable @HurdOnTheHill @ChrisMurphyCT no wonder they were elected #Twitter4Politics— Megan Jantos ( @JantosMegan) July 14, 2015
4. Listen and engage
Platforms like Twitter have fundamentally changed the dynamic between elected officials and voters. It’s given people a very public, real-time platform to express both their support and frustrations. It’s created the same opportunity to connect customers with brands.
We feel they are truly accessible now, and this is empowering to the people! #Twitter4Politics https://t.co/ZlOVgsBwMe— Miri Rodriguez ( @MiriRod) July 14, 2015
@ChrisMurphyCT says the most important thing he thinks voters want is for their representatives to listen to them. They “don’t expect you to agree, but they want to be heard,” he says.
People want to be heard by their members of Congress. Twitter is a great place to do that. - @ChrisMurphyCT #Twitter4Politics— Sarah Neale Rand ( @SarahNRand) July 14, 2015
“When asked to draw their ideal politician, most people drew a picture w/ big ears” #twitter4politics— The Token Millennial ( @MillennialLex) July 14, 2015
@HurdOnTheHill agrees that “if you’re representing them and you hear them that blows their mind.” He says that while it’s impossible to have a one to one dialogue with everyone, even “the visual of your followers seeing you respond to other people on Twitter, shows them in a powerful way that you are listening.”
“Twitter is an important tool for constituent service.” - @HurdOnTheHill #twitter4politics— Tammy Gordon ( @tammy) July 14, 2015
5. Test, test and test
Want to know what works on Twitter as an advertiser? According to @goudiss, the key is testing, testing and testing some more. Twitter allows you to do that “much faster than other platforms,” in his opinion.
For digital, @goudiss says testing, testing, testing (much faster than other platform) is key. #twitter4politics— Glen Bolger ( @posglen) July 14, 2015
Twitter allows constant and quick testing, which is key when it comes to paid advertising - #twitter4politics— SKDKnickerbocker ( @SKDKnick) July 14, 2015
For his clients, the goal is often focused on optimizing for ROI. But he advises advertisers to analyze the quality of the leads generated on Twitter and not just blindly compare the acquisition costs to email or mail.
Not the cost/email but *value* of names you’re generating which requires testing @TwitterAds - @goudiss, crushing #twitter4politics @revmsg— Eliz△beth Bennett ( @etb714) July 14, 2015
@VincentHarris top tip for success is to create content that is unique to the platform and fitting to what people are talking to the moment.
1 tip from @VincentHarris : create content specific to each platform to drive engagement and efficiency. #Twitter4Politics— Megan Dorward ( @MeganBDorward) July 14, 2015
He advocates changing creative on Twitter every few minutes during big moments in a campaign to learn what messages work and which don’t. On Twitter, he says you can simultaneously “shape the narrative and the moment then target trending hashtags with Website Cards to drive lead generation.” By being flexible, candidates and brands alike can learn what their audiences respond to and drive “more Retweets, lower CPL and lower CPV.”
For more insights and the latest on the 2016 election, follow @gov.