The people want to see and hear the candidate. Maybe he doesn’t look like Robert Redford or speak like Ronald Reagan; they still want to see him, hear him, get a feel for him.
Joseph Napolitan wrote this about 28 years ago, but it’s never been so effective. 30% of the population (this percentage is rising) look for authenticity in political communication, not the falsehood that big films and television productions tend to show. They want to go back to basics. They require the most direct form of communication.
These days, political communication that is simple, direct, real and sharp is what people love. Followers like it when a conversation or a speech is authentic, when it has a reason to be, and it has emotion behind it. Here’s where effectiveness comes into action! Here’s when an emotional reaction is created!
If you’re looking for a real connection with your consumers, direct communication is the right track to run. There is no doubt about that! When you communicate with people face-to-face, you have everything going your way. Security in the speech, a clear message and the right channel (traditional and social media), can make a leader more popular and powerful than he/she can ever imagine.
Political leaders become the “head of the team”, because of their abilities to attract others to pursue their ideals. It’s in the realm of their communication/behavior where they can talk to the world and convince them to take action, to believe in themselves, and to make a difference. They shouldn’t just talk, but instead, they should try to have conversations with people. They should lead by example!
When Obama went to eat burgers at his favorite restaurant, he made people visit the place, which created a big social buzz around it. Maybe he just spoke to five people, but just the act of being there had a huge impact through word of mouth. Studies indicate that 92% of people trust more in what a friend says that any other form of advertising. (Nielsen Global Trust Advertising Survey in 2015)
Activists are the persuasive arm of a campaign
Activists communicate in a personal, direct, and easy way in areas where their political leader cannot reach. Laura Olin, Social Media Director of Obama in the campaign of 2012, affirms: “The most valuable effort a campaign can have is people who are willing to evangelize on behalf of the campaign and spread its messages in a way that feels authentic”. Bernie Sanders also knows this, so his team created an app where anyone could become his activist. In the case of Donald Trump, part of his success relies on those working secretly to expand his message among the masses of Americans that are tired of the same old political information.
Social media as a conversation channel
Social media platforms are changing how politicians and leaders get closer to the masses by communicating in new ways that eliminate intermediaries. Pew Research Center conducted a study based on the 89% of Americans who had access to an Internet connection:
48% have access to political news through Facebook, making this social platform a very important source vs. other social media.
24% reached political information through Yahoo News.
22% did the same through Google News.
Only 14% said they watched political news through YouTube.
9% used Twitter.
6% of users found political information through Google Plus.
3% found political information through LinkedIn.
Being a leader is not about opening a social media platform and scheduling posts like a bot, while paying little attention to anything else. On the contrary, if you want to be an impactful leader, you have to create a strategy that highlights what you really want to communicate while having a little bit of original, fresh and attractive content.
A Latin American profile by the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), states that few political leaders make conversations on social media networks, which provides a greater opportunity to focus on its underlying reasons. Donald Trump wouldn’t have reached such levels of popularity without Twitter and the Spanish Popular Party wouldn’t have been able to anticipate their votes in the last campaign without its digital strategy through Facebook.
An effective campaign has to put its main focus on communicating without any interference. Followers are tired of intermediaries; they just want to feel good in a one-on-one conversation (in a traditional way with the benefits that technology has to offer these days). It’s time to get back to basics and talk!