There are many elements that you need to manage while running a political campaign. Public perception, candidates with different personalities, unexpected events, sneaky opponents and the list goes on. A lot of stakes are hanging over your head and your every move should be strategic and well thought. It was never easy running a campaign, but the internet and social media only made it more complex. You need to be vigilant and keep track of everything. Also, you need to be smart in handling your money and the people who work for you. Why waste valuable and often scarce people resource by putting, for example, ten interns to track web and social media platforms all day when a tool can that for you? These interns are more useful in the field, campaigning and establishing relationships with potential voters by sharing their experiences and thoughts on why they should vote for your candidate.

Media monitoring allows you to be informed on the most important parts of the campaign efforts – public, opponents, media and the elections.

Public

First, we’ll start with the public aka voters – your most important audience. There is no point in running a campaign without listening to what your voters think and need. Organizing meetups with the candidate is a great thing but the online crowd is much bigger and much harsher. Also, people tend to be more sincere when they are hiding behind the nickname. Even polls are not as reliable these days because people often say what they think they should say, rather than their true affinities. And then there are Millennials. It is known that Millennials are getting most, if not all, the information from the internet and social media. It is also known that they are now making a large part of the eligible voter base and that they are not very keen to go vote on the election day. When interviewed, many of them said that they didn’t vote in the 2016 Presidential elections because the candidates didn’t inspire them enough. With informed and strong social media strategy that’s based on media monitoring, the opportunity to reach younger voters could’ve been seized.

Track the public perception of your client

People will almost 100% of the time voice their opinion on social media, especially if the opinion is negative. Social media became what the public forums and bars were in the past. If you want to know what people think and feel, go on social media. If you want to know how your candidate is performing, go on social media. And if you want to do that and save time and money, use media monitoring.

Engage with (undecided) voters

Undecided voters are the ones who give the most headaches to candidates. There is a constant battle to win them over and make sure that they will vote for you on the election day. By using media monitoring you can track what the voters want, what are the problems they are facing etc. That way you can detect the main concerns and incorporate them in the campaign. Also, you can respond to their questions and concerns and build a strong relationship with them that way.

Find influencers

Finding the right influencers can help you reach more voters and spread your message faster. As the English writer, Nick Hornby said when comparing the Oscars and political campaigns: You have to have the right candidates, and the people in Hollywood know what they are.” That can often be a Sisyphean task if you’re an unknown candidate and you don’t have the right tools for it. In our reports, you get a list of top 10 influencers mentioning your candidate and that way you can decide which ones you want to contact to help you with the campaign.

Opponent(s)

While running a campaign you have to keep track of your opponents every move. Not in a weird way, though. Use media monitoring. That way you will be one step ahead. The worst thing you can do is to underestimate your opponent and be too confident that voters are going to vote for you. Don’t let the hubris get the best of you.

Track your opponents’ performance

See how the opponent’s message is resonating with voters or check what public activities the opposition campaign is organizing/attending. You can detect what is missing in their messaging and communication with the voters and fill in the gaps to win the voters over. Also, you can learn from your opponent’s mistakes by monitoring potential crisis they’re going through.

Opponent’s attacks

You can track opponents attacks in real-time whether they’re using social media, news outlets or their rallies. Also, you can track how are those attacks resonating with the public. If you notice that those attacks are making a difference and damaging your campaign, you’ll have enough time to react to calm the situation down. That way you won’t have to sweat the small stuff and focus on things that actually matter. This will also give you a great chance for a counter attack.

News

You can scream “FAKE NEWS!” at the articles all you want after every single media outlet has already published them and everybody is talking about it. Once the avalanche starts, it is hard to stop it. Especially with people constantly forwarding articles without checking the source. The strategy “let’s wait, it’ll go away by itself” is not the smartest one. Today, the amount of information people receive on a daily basis equals what people hundreds of years ago received in a year or more. That’s why you should be the one to point out the information that is beneficial for your client and fight the ones that are false. Unfortunately, fake news spreads quickly and sometimes it can have very serious consequences. Just remember the 2016 Presidental Elections and the “Pizzagate” scandal. By using media monitoring you can react quickly to refute the falsehoods.  

A lot of times your opponents tend to spread fake news in order to bury your campaign efforts. The news media outlets, unfortunately, often jump on the bandwagon without checking whether the information is true. The thing is that “fake news” existed long before Trump, he just made it popular. Media monitoring can help you detect the false information that has already gone viral and confront the opponents and voters with truth in time.

Elections

Have you ever heard of elections where everything went smoothly? No? I thought so. In Croatia, we often joke that even the dead can vote in our elections (it happened folks!). So, if you want to be alerted in real-time whether there are some fishy things going on in voting places (or during the election day in general) what better and quickest way to do so is there than media monitoring? For example, in the 2018 US midterm elections, there were many irregularities in the voting places and people were profusely tweeting about it and that’s how the information became known to the public. That is the perfect example of why media monitoring is so important. You don’t have to depend on news media or scroll through social media like a maniac to know what’s going on. Let the tool do the work for you.  

Also, it’s important to set up your keywords right (e.g. election irregularities, voting place, voting fraud etc.) depending on your interests and potential problems so the tool can show you better results.

What now?

Now you know how media monitoring can make your work easier and the benefits that go along with it.

But how do I set up all of that, you may wonder? Just keep reading. We’re bringing you some helpful tips.

Queries

First, you need to set up queries. Types of queries you should track are your candidate’s name, your party name, slogan, the names of opponents, the names of opposition parties, key figures, key journalists, public discussions etc. You can also organize them in folders. For example, queries about your client and party can go under on folder, opponents and opposition parties in another and so on… That way your queries are going to be organized and you be able to use them effectively while making reports.

After you set up queries you’ll get a list of mentions on your feed for every query. You can then filter them, make reports, analyze manually etc.

Filtering the mentions

In the tool, you can easily filter out the mentions that are irrelevant to get more accurate and reliable reports. You can filter mentions by location, language, and sources. For example, if you want to only follow mentions from Twitter, you can do just that! You can also sort mentions by time, virality and reach.

Reports

Now that you’ve sorted out your mentions, you can go ahead and make reports. You can choose from four types of reports. First, you have a basic one that will give show you the number of mentions and impressions, sources, sentiment analysis etc. It is a great first step to get an insight into how are your campaign efforts resonating with voters. Then there’s the advanced some additional insights. Here you can get detailed information about influencers, sentiment, sources etc. The third one is a competitive analysis which allows you to compare how your candidate is performing against the other candidates. This analysis may ground you if you thought your campaign efforts were performing amazingly. There’s also a custom report that allows you to make your own report depending on the information you need.

Sentiment analysis

To get an insight into how the people are perceiving your candidate, use our sentiment analysis. There are three types – automatic, effective and manual. The automatic one is not 100% accurate since the computer can’t detect, for example, sarcasm. But it is good for a basic overview of your candidate or your opponent online presence. Next one is the manual analysis, which allows you to go through the mentions and classify them as you perceive them – positive, negative or neutral. Because of that, this one is the most accurate out of the three. The effective analysis is the combination of the previous two and is good for your daily reports.

Spike alert

Every time the number of mentions starts massively growing you’ll get an alert on your e-mail, mobile app, and/or Slack. This will give you enough time to create a strategy and respond to the potential crisis the right way. Spike in mentions does not necessarily mean something bad is happening. It can also mean people like your campaign efforts and that you’re on the right track.

To summarize

When you look at the whole picture, the added value that media monitoring brings to your campaign is extremely important. It can save you money, it can save your reputation, it can give you information that is vital for making good strategic moves… There’s no way of escaping social media these days, so why make your work harder when it doesn’t have to be. Also, at end of the elections, you’ll have valuable data that you can use to see what were your strengths and weaknesses. That way you’ll make even better decisions next time around!

 

If you’re interested in media monitoring, try our 14-day trial period!

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Content Creator at Mediatoolkit with a particular interest in media literacy and fashion.