February 17, 2020
It’s 2020, which means two things. One, we will be struggling to write the correct decade for at least a month and a half, and two, with 468 congressional, 1 presidential and countless local elections occurring across the United States this November, our newsfeed will inevitably be filled with campaign appeals and the opinions of our friends and family.
As election day nears, you want to be sure that your campaign has reached as many of your constituents as possible and you make yourself a part of that newsfeed. Whether you rely on face-to-face campaigning, billboard ads or political direct mail, we recommend that you don’t let one medium go it alone.
Think you don’t have the time for social media? The benefits of social media for political campaigns far outweigh the time and effort required for set up.
Benefits of social media:
- An open line of communication with voters
- Easy sharing of involvement with the community and upcoming events
- Ability to run ads during campaigning
- Can reuse page for future campaigns (assuming it is set up correctly)
Getting Started with Your Political Facebook Page
Creating your Facebook page is an essential step in the process that is often overlooked. Your personal Facebook account will not suffice. Setting up a page dedicated to your campaign allows you the opportunity to run ads and give access to multiple administrators who may post, respond to messages or run ads on your behalf. Not only does this take some of the weight off of your shoulders, but it keeps your personal account and password safe.
Choosing Your Page Name
As you choose your page name, think past your current campaign. Naming your page “Vote Philip Smith for Fayette County Clerk 2020” seems like a great idea at first, but there are several points to take into consideration here:
- Do you plan to run for office in the future?
In 2024, will you need to run for this office again? Or perhaps you’ll consider running for a different position entirely? If so, this name will force you to restart from ground zero in future campaigns.
- Will you use Facebook as a way to communicate with constituents post-election?
Once you have created your page name, any name changes require submission to Facebook for approval, which is not guaranteed. Your best course of action is to start out on the right foot with a name that will be relevant in the future.
If you answered yes to the first question, avoid using these terms in your Facebook page name:
- Election year: “2020”
- Political Office: “County Clerk”
- Location: City, County, State: “Fayette County”
This leaves options like, “Vote Philip Smith,” or “Elect Philip Smith.” However, if you answered yes to the second question, you should consider simply naming your page as you would a personal account, “Philip Smith.” Keeping it simple allows you the most flexibility throughout your career and any future campaigns.
Designating a Username or Vanity URL
While your Facebook page name is an important piece of your branding on Facebook – so is your username, or vanity URL, which are synonymous as far as Facebook is concerned. Having a branded URL for your page is not only more visibly appealing on web and print – but it’s easier to remember as well!
Before you go to claim your username/vanity URL, keep these rules in mind:
- You can only have one username per page
- Only one person or page can claim a username, as they are unique identifiers
- These names can only use alphanumeric characters or periods
- Periods or capital letter do not change the username, they are not case sensitive (Ex: Phiilip.Smith, PhilipSmith, and philipsmith will all be seen as the same username by Facebook)
We recommend brainstorming at least five username options for your page before committing to one. Because your page will be for a political candidate, there is likely a higher demand for usernames with the candidate’s name – personal Facebook pages also have usernames.
Upload a Profile and Cover Photo
Your profile photo should be a clear, recent image of you. If you are running advertisements with your photo on them, it’s a good idea to keep them consistent. Your political campaign branding should be tied together. The same goes for consistency in your cover photo. Here you may choose to feature a graphic with your campaign branding, slogan or perhaps a landscape of the community you hope to represent.
Fill Out Your About page
Let users know about you. Here is your opportunity to specify what you are running for and when. Write about your connection to the community or relevant experience that makes you a prime candidate.
Complete the Authorization Process
Facebook requires political accounts to be verified to provide greater transparency in political ads and prevent outside interference in elections. To run political ads, your account must be authorized. This process involves verifying your mailing address and may take several weeks, so it is best to get it underway as soon as possible.
Once authorized, you may run political ads through your Facebook page, which requires a disclaimer stating who the ad was “paid for by.”
Keeping Up Your Page
Once your page is up and running, share it with your supporters and encourage them to share. Stay active on your page by posting frequently, monitor your inbox in case any messages are sent your way and begin thinking about the ways you can use Facebook to up your campaign game.
With a fully optimized page up and running, you can keep up with your campaigning online by communicating with voters and running ads.
Your time is valuable – if you need social ad creation, management or to add a social component to your direct marketing efforts we’re here to help.
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