3 digital trends to watch in 2018 - cStreet Campaigns

3 digital trends to watch in 2018

There are many "looking back" and "looking forward" takes on digital trends, but one theme is clearly emerging from the political dustbin of 2016 and 2017 – peer-to-peer, personal communication wins campaigns.

So, how do we re-package the ingredients of relationships – and the loyalty and trust built from decades of handshakes and door-knocks – into digital campaigns that are actually personal and drive your supporters to action?

Social media influencers

Last week, Facebook announced plans to limit Page and branded content in personal timelines, and prioritize the posts that your Friends like and share. For page owners, including non-profits and community orgs, this means fewer people will see and engage with your campaign actions or urgent appeals.

But there’s one upside to Facebook’s war on non-sponsored posts: it forces us to find other ways to work with our known supporters.

This year, we’ll see a shift from content pushed out by organizations to content shared by individuals, and a rise in conversations in private groups and chats.

Now, more than ever, we need to become very effective storytellers, building awareness and loyalty for our causes. Our job isn’t posting content anymore. It’s compelling other people to do it for us.

Things to think about: You’ll need to build a list of champions or “influencers” and reach them early on in your campaign. This might look like a toolkit of shareables for a broader campaign or an e-blast for an urgent action. You’ll also need to up your creative game and develop content that’s meaningful, emotive, clever or otherwise worthy of sharing. Videos, images and memes with snappy captions and calls-to-action are best.

Tip: If you’re asking your influencers to share a website or landing page, don’t forget to fill in the SEO and metadata for that page. These fields aren’t just for bots. They populate the post, thumbnail image and description fields on Facebook.

SMS and text banking

In July, we wrote about our first experience running a Hustle “texting bank” with the Jagmeet Singh for NDP Leader campaign. Flash-forward to January, and Macleans has Hustle listed as one of the ingredients behind packed JagMeet & Greet events, and Singh’s successful first-round ballot win.

Texting works because it is more scalable than door knocking, more personal than email and, unlike phone calls, organizers can have hundreds of concurrent conversations. Texting is becoming even more relevant as prohibitive email legislation, de facto mailbox filters and consumer fatigue wear down our email lists.

Things to think about: You can’t text without active mobile numbers, so you’ll want to “future proof” your list by including mobile acquisition in your digital strategy. From this point forward, best to ask for numbers on your signup forms, event registrations, campaign actions, and other data acquisition methods.

Tip: Text messages with emojis have a 40% higher response rate! Using your own personal voice in message and response scripts will elicit more positive and empathetic responses – it’s also what sets you apart from text blasting robo campaigns. 💪

We’re hosting a webinar on Wednesday, January 24th at 12:30 EST if you want to learn more about Hustle, and the candidates, unions, and grassroots movements using it effectively.

Slack chat for volunteer teams

We recently wrote about Slack as a tool for building volunteer capacity, excitement and morale (3 Boss Digital Tools Jagmeet Singh Used to Win). Slack is straightforward to use and, due to its chat-like simplicity, requires little-to-no end user training. Separate Slack channels for campaign teams or topics can be effective tools for building and maintaining your brand, and widely sharing your campaign messages; like posting stories and news articles, discussing controversies, swapping memes, and making plans to organize locally.

“The nature of Slack also allows campaign staff to respond quickly to local volunteers and to control responses to issues that may come up in the media in a way that the volunteers and the official campaign can speak in one voice.”

Rolling out any new strategy or tactic requires planning, and a commitment to the human and tech resources needed to make it happen. Starting to build your capacity as a forward-thinking digital org is likely one of the best investments you can make in 2018.

originally published Friday, January 19, 2018