Running a Better Smear Campaign

Last week, we wrote about how politicians can galvanize their existing social media audiences to help with turnout at local events. In startup-speak, this would be an example of retention/reactivation marketing.

This week, however, we want to talk about how politicians can acquire followers (and possibly, votes) away from their competitors. We’ll be using our Market Intel product to show you how a political campaign can use Twitter to achieve these ends.

Competitive Intelligence

Election season is inherently competitive– each candidate is jostling for position with not only the opposing party’s candidates, but also with candidates of their own party. So using social media to benchmark your audience with your competitors’ can create a huge advantage.

There are three main ways we’ve thought of using Market Intel for this type of competitive analysis:

1. Trends Comparison



If you are one of the 16+ Republican candidates for the 2016 election, your social media team could run each of these accounts and use the “Compare to Another Account” filter to see to what extent followers overlap (or don’t overlap).

For example, suppose that Rand Paul’s team is going negative on Donald Trump with his commercials. To partially gauge the effectiveness of this smear campaign, the team can then see whether the overlap of followers between Paul and Trump is increasing over time (or if this overlap is decreasing in favor of Paul). This would indicate to some degree that something is working. Or maybe it just means Trump is continuing to shoot himself in the foot with his TV appearances.

2. Promoted Tweet Campaign




A more direct way to use Market Intel is to run a Promoted Tweet campaign with a highly tailored audience.



In this case, Rand Paul could tailor his messaging only to those who 1) follow both him and Trump, 2) self-identify as Latino, and 3) have Tweeted in the past 90 days (meaning that their accounts are probably not inactive). This list can then be exported to a CSV and uploaded into the Twitter Ads platform.

Hooray for better smear campaigns.

3. Running “Affiliated” Accounts

While the previous examples are more on the competitive nature of Market Intel, this use case is focused on leveraging possible “affiliated” accounts.

A candidate could see who their own Most Valuable Followers are, and then run a Market Intel report on them:




Pitbull is one of Donald Trump’s Most Valuable Followers. Trump’s team could dig into Pitbull’s followers using Market Intel and filter them by keyword/interest (“conservative,” “Republican,” etc) and location (ex. a swing state or important region). This would expand Trump’s list of potential new followers.

In general, we think social media is an interesting place for candidates to find an edge for their campaigns. If you reach out to followers with good data and common-sense targeting, you won’t waste as much time on trying to get their attention. We’ve just highlighted a few ways political campaigns of all kinds use social media; we’ll keep our eyes peeled for any other interesting case studies.



Wearer of many hats at SocialRank. @AmmarM08

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