Cell phones continue to proliferate as an essential part of our lives. As such, they are playing a bigger role in the political lives of the mainstream than ever before. With 88% of people in the United States owning cell phones, the opportunity for politicos to reach their core audiences has never been greater.
However, only 27% of Americans have currently used their cell phones for a strictly political purpose. Although it is quite evident that smartphones are an indelible part of our lives, it remains to be seen how we will use those tools from a political perspective. Let Robocent be your Political Robocall Company.
The Spread of Information
Regardless of how a phone is used, its purpose is basically to spread information; whether it be to the person owning the phone receiving information or that person sending out information into their social circles. Smartphones allow an individual to access information faster and more frequently, a must in today’s world of instant information in the political sphere. With a 24-hour news cycle, the person who wants to keep up with a candidate and a race needs to keep up with updates and political events around the clock.
A study in 2012 reports that 35% of the people who use smartphones for a political purpose will use their phones to check the validity of the information that they receive. This is a relatively low number, but it does suggest that a rising number of people are using their smartphones to critically assess their politics. Checking facts on a smartphone tends to be a cleaner and quicker process than any other method. It is also convenient because smartphones have the instant access that everyone needs to encourage a new level of participation in the process. This is a change that is fundamental because it can affect the entire political conversation and reduce the amount of hearsay that usually occurs in politics.
The Broader Political Conversation
As phones become more widespread, the conversation that surrounds all political discussion also becomes more democratic. Literally everyone who has a phone now has a voice that they can broadcast to the world. The knowledge of this affects how political candidates address their constituencies. Conversations that would otherwise not take place are now commonplace; spontaneous and lively, bringing people in who would have different takes on the process and the candidates than the folks who might lead the discussion in past political generations.
Social media is making conversation more accessible than ever around the world and in a hyperlocal sense as well. In this way, smartphones encourage their users to use this type of communications media much more often. But how does it affect how a political candidate interacts with a potential voter during a call or in an ad?
Direct Communications in the Era of the Cell Phone
Both of the major parties in the United States have discovered that the new battleground to gain votes is the phone. This new battleground includes the old school landlines as well as the Samsung Galaxies and iPhone 10s. For 10% of Americans today, the smartphone is actually the only form of high speed Internet that they use on a consistent basis. The Democrats learned this lesson first in 2008 with a groundbreaking online campaign for Barack Obama and his down ballot counterparts, and Republicans countered with a stunning reversal for Donald Trump in 2016.
Many of the people who are getting top jobs in political campaigns these days specialize in digital communications. Even the scandals of the latest political campaigns had to do with the legal and illegal use of digital telecommunications. The rules are being set, but the landscape is still a Wild Wild West of opportunity. What does this mean for voters when it comes to phones? Well, experts say that all voters can expect more ads as they scroll through their phones in this political season - maybe even more than they see on television. This is part of the reason why Twitter banned political ads on its platform - it did not want to deal with the deluge of controversy that is sure to erupt in the heat of this political season.
Indeed, many experts believe that the smartphone will become a standard part of how political campaigns address their potential constituents. It will also become an even bigger part of how people collect news on politics in the future. There will still be campaigns, however, that will act like they are still advertising in the 1990s - with families sitting around the television set at 7 pm during “prime time.” These campaigns will likely face diminishing returns, to be sure. They may not believe that digital and mobile phones are worth it or they may believe the investment to be too great. Neither assertion is true.
Getting the Right Message to Voters
Phones also allow political candidates the ability to tailor a message with much more accuracy to an audience. Why? Getting on the digital train allows a campaign to collect information automatically and detail any ads to that person specifically. A political campaign can also pinpoint the people who would be most likely to volunteer or canvas for them through information grabs that can be consolidated through the smartphone.
The right message can also be personalized without a subsequent rise in labor, which is essential to competing in the modern world of politics. Getting information in the digital space also reduces the amount of human error in a data stream. You no longer have to worry about reading bad handwriting from canvassers who don’t have the best penmanship, and you never have to worry about anyone reversing the phone numbers of the people they take down. There is also less of a chance of false information being given from potential voters themselves who are just trying to go about their day while they are being approached by street canvassers.
Political campaigns that allow potential voters to access information as they see fit will also gain the advantage of inbound marketing. The hard sell is nowhere near as popular as it used to be, and in many cases, hard selling a politician or a political initiative will kill it with many voters before it even has a chance to get off of the ground. If this is your goal then SMS marketing is the logical next step for your SMS Messaging Political Campaign needs.
Targeting Potential Voters More Accurately
The smartphone also works best when targeting people because it allows political campaigns to target them at the best times and in the best locations. Location based targeting can direct a closing message specifically to a voter who is within arms reach of a polling booth. This message can also be tailored based on the behavior of the individual. The result is a highly targeted and relevant communication that may be better than talking to a person on the phone because the information that makes the communication relevant is given to the algorithm by the individual himself.
People who live in the same apartment building or who all speak the same language could also be targeted in the same way. This is part of the way that successful national campaigns created blocs of voters from people who might otherwise vote in different ways because of smaller differences.
The new type of phone also allows for different types of communication. Platforms such as Snapchat and Twitter have made the short and humorous video a mainstream tool that even politicians can use. Facebook is the platform for mass dissemination of a message with 160 million users on mobile platforms alone per month in the US. These videos automatically play in the news feed of a user so there is a lot of traction that a political campaign can get without having to force the issue. Robocent can help your campaign with Political Phone Marketing.
The Downside of the Modern Phone
With all of the opportunity that the modern digital landscape offers a political campaign, there is still a potential downside for using it. Politicians have the opportunity to literally bombard their potential voters with messages non-stop. Is this effective? Of course not. The opportunity to reach out to people is just that until it is used properly. Timing is much more important than quantity of ads.
Politicians can just as quickly ruin their campaigns as help them if they have the wrong message. Bad stuff can go viral just as quickly as good stuff, and in the world of politics, this is actually more likely to happen.
With all of the new opportunities in the world of politics, the smart phone may seem like a no-brainer. However, it is one of the most important tools that a political campaign can use these days. The more that a campaign studies and uses the phone, the better that campaign will probably do. Although this is a world of computers, that world is shrinking - right into the pockets of the average citizen. If you are at the head of a political campaign, make sure that you are following the voter where he or she is going in the mobile world!