On Tuesday, LGBT activists reversed a 32 election losing streak to win all four states equality on their ballots: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
As co-founder and digital director of The Four 2012, a social media campaign focused exclusively on activating young voters in those states, I worked firsthand with the state coalitions and national organizations fighting for equality. It was an impressive effort from all and I wanted to share four clear digital takeaways from The Four 2012 so other organizations and groups could benefit.
1. Be Channel Agnostic -- Since our target was young voters, we decided to build our website on Tumblr's platform, allowing for easy exposure to our target demographic with each daily post. While our site was based on Tumblr, Facebook drove the most interactions, with content shared far and wide. On Twitter, we posted multiple times a day, alternating between the Tumblr and Facebook links to generate maximum exposure. We didn't care where the content was shared, just as long as users saw it.
2. Targeted Paid Media Works -- Since we were starting from scratch with zero fans, our limited ad budget focused on promoting timely content that displayed the highest virality. We targeted young voters in the four states with our best content, generating tens of thousands of shares in key cities.
3. Produce Quality Relevant Content -- The Four 2012 was dedicated to producing or curating a single piece of content a day for the 60 days leading up to the election. This content was usually an image macro or infographic, featuring current polling and celebrity endorsements. But we also partnered with popular figures like Lady Gaga and Internet content creators like Google and New Left Media to create unique content that they shared with their own networks. We also crowdsourced, asking users to submit content. One of our most popular items, a Bruce Springsteen graphic, was submitted over Facebook.
4. Provide Offline Actions -- The Four 2012 only existed digitally, so we didn't have any field operations, but we still wanted to generate real-life actions. We focused on partnering with other organizations such as Freedom to Marry and Marriage Equality USA to generate offline actions ranging from volunteering directly in one of the states to making phone calls from home. This, along with a series of money bombs for the state coalitions, gave users more to do than just share content.
Ryan Davis was the co-founder and digital director of The Four 2012. He's also the executive director of Social Innovation at Blue State Digital and tweets at @RyanNewYork. Originally published on Blue State Digital's blog.