Social media strategy is a small, but very important part of political campaign management.
It is very key in any political campaign and the Kenyan President-elect team, seem to have gotten theirs aptly right. The Kenya Kwanza digital communications team that included young brilliant minds, kept their online audience on toes through out the campaign period.
We set out to get what exactly made their strategy work for them, and here is what we found out:
- They focused on their main agenda. The team made sure that they do not deviate from their political plan. They stuck solely to inform their audience about their bottom-up agenda every day and every hour.
- They did their homework well. The team made sure that anything they posted was well-researched to avoid backlash from their opponents. They even made sure that they had working tallying centre to avoid a guesswork of numbers during the streaming and counting of votes.
- They were persistent especially after the “blacklisting” from local media stations. The team knew that the social media was there only remaining weapon to pass their message across the board and they kept to it.
- Their posts were always calculated to drive a particular agenda. The team avoided posting things just for the sake of posting. They were so quick also at using any mistake made by their opponents to their advantage.
The young passionate and ambitious minds that we know very little about, showed that there is power in constructive anonymity. They executed their mandate with focus and dedication to the course.
Led by the gem Dennis Itumbi the team did a splendid job. Some of the notable members of this team are Emmanuel Talaam, who is in Dr Ruto’s communication team, UDA communications director Wanjohi Githae, Eric Ng’eno and Munyori Buku. The team also enjoys the support of leaders allied to the alliance who from time to time share content online.
Others in the team are Mwalimu Joshua Njenga, Gerald Bitok, an online content creator, former journalist Atambo Ngoko, Alberto Nyakundi Amenya, Willy Omosa, Cherotich Carren Kiki and Evans Miloo Ruto. Nikkitah Maria Nyambura, Kúi Maina, Wairimu Gacira, Gathuki Ngahu, Tess Njeri Kabungu were other dedicated
Preparing political social media strategy is no different than preparing social media strategies for various brands. You still ought to be well informed about the brand (candidate), what it represents, and what message you want to send out to your target audience (voters).
So, what are the general do’s and don’ts of a political social media strategy?
The biggest strength of social media is being able to reach a lot of people at once. You have to interact with them and respond to their questions, comments, suggestions, etc. You can do that by doing live videos or recording Q&As with questions from social media, replying to posts, creating content such as blogs based on FAQs.
ii. Learn from previous mistakes
Each election cycle brings some new trends and you should try and follow them. Whether it’s new popular apps, social media platforms, or communicating styles, see what fits your candidate and message the best and use it to your advantage. Avoid repeating mistakes done in the past.
Diversify your content as well as your platforms. People respond better to photos, videos and infographics than plain text.
“Our investment has been in areas where the masses are. So far, our biggest platform with the greatest impact is Facebook, where a majority of Kenyans are, and where traffic is the highest,” Mr Itumbi said.
“But we are also on other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok and Snapchat.”
Regularly update your information and post the most recent news. Since your social media platforms and website are practically the only information source you can control, use them to update your voters on a regular basis with the most important news.
v. Use media monitoring
By implementing media monitoring into your political campaign management, you’ll get valuable insights in real-time that will help you make informed decisions and create reports that will help you shape your social media strategy in the weeks to come. Also, you’ll be able to understand what type of content your voters prefer or not.
i. Ignoring social media
Ignoring or poorly managing your social media strategy can be will be the death of your campaign. It’s simply impossible to run a successful political campaign without social media nowadays.
ii. Being rude
Commentators on social media can be ruthless. But, you shouldn’t give them more oxygen by replying to each and every negative comment out there. Moreover, you shouldn’t stoop to their level and be rude. That will not look good in the eyes of other voters that are following the situation.
If you notice that a specific comment is rude and false, but is gaining attention, respond politely and correct the falsehoods.
iii. Forgetting to fact-check
Mistakes happen, but if you repeat the same mistake over and over you’ll lose credibility among the voters. Provide your voters with truthful and accurate information, otherwise, they’ll turn to other sources and campaigns for information.