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Have you ever been to a grocery store during the political campaign season? If so, you’ve likely encountered canvassers collecting commit-to-vote (CTV) pledges. Canvassers or campaign volunteers using the CTV approach first ask individuals if they intend to vote for their candidate. If the voter says yes, the campaign then asks them to sign a pledge documenting their intent to vote.

But according to behavioral scientist and GOTV pro, Robert Reynolds, there are two big flaws to CTV pledge drives. First, there’s not much evidence that CTV drives turnout voters. In fact — and here’s the second problem — some voters find the CTV approach condescending. Because individuals are asked to sign a pledge after they’ve already said they’ll vote, the voter essentially hears the campaign saying, “Your word isn’t enough. We’re going to need that in writing.” That’s not the message a candidate or campaign wants to send would-be supporters. Fortunately, there’s another practice that experts believe makes voters feel empowered and brings more ballots to the box on Election Day. Meet vote tripling.

What Is Vote Tripling?

While CTV pledge drives suggest that an individual’s verbal confirmation alone cannot be trusted, a vote tripling effort asks nonactivists to make sure just three of their friends participate in the upcoming election. Then, the campaign helps the new tripler keep their pledge by sending them personalized reminders before important election milestones, like registration deadlines and early voting windows.

The vote tripling approach makes sense. The same nonactivist group that vote tripling is designed to target is made up of people who are unlikely to volunteer for a political campaign and aren’t interested in mobilizing more than three or so friends but have the voting power to boost a campaign’s turnout by as much as 12%. Not only does vote tripling engage the nonactivist voter and reinforce their intent to vote, but this method also extends campaign outreach efforts and touches more voters than the traditional CTV can. In this case, about three times more!

Vote Tripling with Social Actions

The best way to reach more voters with a vote tripling campaign on Facebook is with the Social Actions feature in ActionSprout. Not only do Social Actions help campaigns keep in touch with those who’ve pledged to be vote triplers, but it also makes it easier for those supporters to stay engaged and excited about their pledge.

 

Here’s how to set up your vote tripling Social Action:

  1. Go to the Social Actions section of your ActionSprout account and create a new petition action.
  2. Edit the fields so they match the sample action.
  3. Post it to your Facebook page.
  4. Promote it with Facebook ads to people in your district.
  5. Export the list of people who pledge to do it. (Remember: The list will also include email addresses and any other contact information you require.)
  6. Send those people emails, reminding them to encourage their friends when the time is right.

New to Social Actions? Visit our help page to get started.

 

It’s always great to receive a warm reception, and this is especially important when you are a candidate or volunteer knocking on a stranger’s door during election season. Nothing tops grassroots campaign efforts like in-person contact to get your message out, and ActionSprout can help you make the most out of that critical moment and improve the canvassing experience for everyone.

“[ActionSprout] is the reason why so many folks knew about Sharon when we knocked on their doors. The ‘I’ve seen her on Facebook!’ is very common while canvassing!” 

— Holly Knutson, Campaign Manager

Step 1 – Share a story a day

Begin by engaging people daily with stories that really affect them. It’s best to repost content from news sources and other Example Facebook PostFacebook pages. By framing these curated posts with a little information about your stance on the topics in the story, you can educate about your campaign platform, show that you’re engaged with the issues at play in your community and prime neighborhoods for canvassing — while also delivering a post your voters genuinely care about.

Follow topics your campaign is focused on in the Stories section of ActionSprout, and you will have a constantly refreshed feed of the best trending stories — plus you’ll also get recommended stories that are hand-curated by subject matter experts in a number of the top issue areas. 

Then, simply share the stories you like. ActionSprout will help you schedule them out over the next week, so there is always a new story ready to publish each day at the optimal time. Learn more about story curation here.

Step 2 – Prime neighborhoods with Facebook Ads

Instead of publishing specific messages at predefined points in the campaign, it’s better to use a flexible, responsive ad strategy backed by ActionSprout. Don’t sink production dollars into making a few expensive political ads; instead, use small amounts of spending to boost the daily news stories that you are posting. 

The week before a canvassing push, select people who live in neighborhoods you will be visiting using Facebook ads — your campaign and volunteers will see a big effect. These ads prime neighborhoods and soften the

Screenshot of neighborhood listground for canvassers, who will now find that many voters are already familiar with – and friendly to – the campaign. Instead of having to start from scratch, you will be able to reinforce name recognition and get deeper into your campaign platform. 

You can set up these ads very easily after scheduling a post in ActionSprout. Simply pick the neighborhoods you care about and the types of people you want to reach. For many neighborhoods, a budget as low as $20 per story can be highly effective. But no matter the size of your ads campaign, be sure you’re up to date on Facebook’s political ads standards so you don’t waste any time or money on ads no one will see.

Step 3 – On-the-ground selfies galore 

Take pictures while canvassing that include the candidate in them, and post them from your phone. What a great way to share your grassroots efforts and engage the folks you meet on-the-ground! Then, use ActionSprout to find those photos in the Timeline section, and promote them to people in those neighborhoods. Need ideas? Check out how some candidates have already mastered the ‘selfie strategy.’

Step 4 – Go further to improve the canvassing experience

If you’re aiming for the next-level insights usually reserved for large presidential campaigns, this strategy provides the data you need. With ActionSprout’s intelligent multivariate and multi-audience targeting, you can see exactly which topics and issues resonate with specific audiences in each neighborhood. And all by sharing just a story a day with your network!

Use this data to educate canvassers on what topics to talk about in each neighborhood. This helps canvassers speak to the specific needs of each neighborhood, making their interactions much more meaningful.

Ready to engage more voters? Get started by signing up for an ActionSprout account and read our 2019 Candidates Playbook for more tips and tricks.

Learn to learn how other organizations have put ActionSprout to work for their Facebook campaigns.

“In truth, we don’t know why we won when the other two Democrats running similar campaigns against similar opponents lost in the same district, but it’s hard not to ascribe it to us spending 10 times more on Facebook and Instagram ads than our fellow Democrats did.” 

— Rep. Sharon Shewmake

When Dr. Sharon Shewmake decided to run against a four-term incumbent for a state legislature seat, she knew she’d have to do something different than previous challengers. So when Shewmake and her team decided to make Facebook a central part of her campaign, they turned to ActionSprout to help them turn social impact into real-world votes.

Shewmake won an upset victory, flipping a key seat in the Washington legislature and achieving an impressive 12% improvement over the previous challenger — and she says her team’s effective leveraging of ActionSprout and Facebook were a key part of that win.

Here’s how they did it — and how you can learn from their success.

Serve the content your voters want

In the hustle of a campaign, it’s tempting to fill your Facebook page with the things you’re thinking about all day long: upcoming events, volunteer recruitment needs, or this month’s fundraising goals. But these are your priorities — not your voters’.Example Facebook Post

To engage people with stories that really affect them, it’s best to repost content from news sources and other Facebook pages. By framing the post with a little information about your stance on the topics in the story, you can educate people about your platform and show that you’re engaged with the issues at play in your community while also delivering a post your constituents genuinely care about.

Shewmake’s campaign used ActionSprout to identify and post one to three relevant news stories each day. Many stories were from local newspapers or radio stations, but just as often, they took a national story — the Kavanaugh confirmation or the gun safety debate — and successfully drew a connection to Shewmake’s district and how she would address that issue if elected. 

For example, Shewmake’s campaign posted about the Pacific Northwest’s fire season, gun control, 2018’s record numbers of women running for office, and the debate over socialism

This strategy ensured that stories were timely, relevant to voters, and centered around real issues, as opposed to self-promotion. Naturally, you can still post about fundraisers and events periodically, but when you tip the scales heavily toward news, you’ll have a bigger, more responsive audience for your calls to action when you do make them.

Harness the power of Facebook ads

Two-thirds of Facebook users say they get news from the platform — and much of that news is paid content. Facebook ads provide an unparalleled (and highly economical!) opportunity to reach voters with your message, whether for persuasion or GOTV. 

Instead of publishing specific messages at predefined points in the campaign, Shewmake in 2018 opted for a flexible, responsive ad strategy backed by ActionSprout. And instead of sinking production dollars into making a few expensive political ads, the campaign used small amounts of spend to boost many posts that were already showing organic strength. 

When an organic post — whether it was a reposted story, a selfie with a voter, or video from the campaign trail — showed good performance after 24 hours, Shewmake’s team would use $10 to $50 to boost its reach. Based on the nature of the content, they’d select one or more of a dozen Facebook audiences to promote it to. And if an ad was a hit with one audience, the team would often push it out to others.

By finding out which content was resonant with voters before allocating ad spend, the campaign was able to find and promote more messages that worked with more groups of voters — all while maintaining lower than average ad costs. 

Furthermore, by reallocating funds from far more expensive traditional advertising channels to Facebook ads, the campaign maximized the number of contacts with individual voters, hitting each target with an average of 12 tailored messages.

Increase the impact of canvassing

“[ActionSprout] is the reason why so many folks know about Sharon when we knock on their doors. The ‘I’ve seen her on Facebook!’ is very common while canvassing!” 

 — Holly Knutson, campaign manager 

Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Shewmake team was how much ActionSprout could support their doorbell efforts.

In the week before a canvassing push, the campaign specifically targeted the neighborhoods they planned to visit with Facebook content introducing Shewmake and what she stands for. The campaign and its volunteers saw a big effect. The ads softened the ground for doorbellers, who found that many voters were already familiar with (and friendly to) the campaign. Instead of having to start from scratch, they were able to reinforce name recognition and get deeper into Shewmake’s platform. 

For candidates looking to get the maximum impact out of every volunteer hour and fundraising dollar, this is an essential tactic. Nothing tops in-person contact to get your message out, and ActionSprout can help you get the biggest impact from that crucial moment.

Foster a community

When you consistently share stories that speak to your voters, your campaign becomes about more than just you. It becomes a campaign about your community — and that’s a winning story. With its savvyShoemake Facebook ad example social strategy, the Shewmake campaign pulled off an impressive victory and saw surprising results, such as lifelong Republicans approaching Shewmake with messages of support at events after seeing her Facebook content. 

The campaign’s commitment to relevant stories encouraged real discussion (sometimes messy but almost always productive). Shewmake herself often used Facebook to respond directly to the concerns and questions that voters voiced in comments on the campaign’s posts. This let her meet those voters where they were — and, in many cases, bring them along and persuade them. 

Even when an exchange may not have convinced an individual commenter, the conversation gave others a chance to see Shewmake’s approach to the interaction, her ability to listen and empathize, and her thought process. These person-to-person discussions allowed the candidate to show who she really is in a way that a traditional ad couldn’t have.

Reap the benefits long after Election Day

The end result of Shewmake’s digital strategy with ActionSprout was a healthy Facebook page that remains a valuable communications channel for Shewmake today. The page currently maintains excellent organic and viral distribution without ongoing paid promotion. Shewmake continues to use it as a way to speak directly with her constituents, and the page now provides a connection between her district and the work being done in the capital. 

And when Shewmake runs for reelection as the incumbent in 2020, her network will be ready and waiting to rally behind her again.

Learn more

Looking for more information? Check out our Political Playbook for Candidates. Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@actionsprout.com or through the live chat inside your ActionSprout account .

Happy posting!