We’ve been discussing the many ways of communicating your message. Today we’ll discuss social media.

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If you are not using it, shame on you. You are losing a priceless and inexpensive opportunity to raise money, spread your message, recruit volunteers and generate traffic to your website.

Visit the websites of the Presidential candidates and you’ll find they are all using TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube. The social media champion? Marco Rubio, who is also using Google plusPinterest, Vimeo, Flickr and Tumblr.

They are doing social media for the same reason you should. Voters have their own preferences about ways they like to receive information. Some like to read. Some like to look at pictures. Some prefer videos.

By using a variety of social media tools, you are allowing voters to receive information in their preferred form, and making it easier for them to volunteer, give money, attend an event, download a poster, share information with their friends or download that list of targeted households in their neighborhood so they help turn out the vote.

The most innovative of all at the moment is Facebook. Facebook has 189,000,000 monthly users in the United States alone.

A year ago, Facebook improved its video capability, allowing users to embed videos in their posts. Today there will be 4 billion video views on Facebook.

If you have a Facebook account, everything you have read, every video you have watched, every like you have clicked, every comment you have made is somewhere in the Facebook database and that information about you is invaluable to a political candidate.

Here is the fun part. You can now upload your own database into Facebook…your own list of supporters, volunteers and people sympathetic to your cause… and Facebook will find others in their database that match the profile of those on your file.

You can also reach specific kinds of people on Twitter through the adept use of keywords and hashtags. Like Facebook, Twitter allows you to upload your own data to find like minded people on TwitterTwitter has even published a 70 page booklet on the do’s and don’ts of expanding your reach. Want it? Click on the link and download it.

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Finally, with all social media it is best to remember one very fundamental truth: They own the platform. You don’t.

They can change their rules any time they want whether you like it or not. Don’t store your database on their social media platform and expect it will always be there. You want those emails and contact information in your database, and your goal with any social media tool is to get the user to your website, into a file that you own and control.

Just as important, we are now in an age of internet advertising, a medium that allows you to target the computers and IP addresses of voters, including those who have visited your website. Make sure that the code that allows you to capture that information from your website visitors is properly embedded on your website by your website designer.

Have questions? Call me at 845-458-1210 or email me at [email protected].

Last Week’s Video: Running for Office? The Do’s and Don’ts of Your Website

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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