Political SEO: Common Mistakes Campaigns Make On Facebook

Visit Political SEO: Common Mistakes Campaigns Make On Facebook for the whole story
This post is largely a repost from New Media Campaigns.  Its spot on and I couldn’t say it better.  Some additional recommendations I’ve made for political candidates and their campaigns are included in: Political SEO and Articles Politically Tagged the main article I have on this is Political SEO: SEO Tips For Political Campaign Websites William Henry Harrison is the imagery I wanted you to consider when thinking about your social media and mistakes that could be made. As President of the United States he wasted no time in his inaugural address to deliver in detail his long plans for the country.  Speaking uncovered in torrential rains history blame’s his death on the blunder of talking so long in a downpour.  The end of a politician due to his messaging is the image I give you. Top Mistakes Made In Social Media By Candidates 1. Not promoting it The first tip is[Find Out More]
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This post is largely a repost from New Media Campaigns.  Its spot on and I couldn’t say it better.  Some additional recommendations I’ve made for political candidates and their campaigns are included in:

Political SEO and Articles Politically Tagged the main article I have on this is Political SEO: SEO Tips For Political Campaign Websites

William Henry Harrison is the imagery I wanted you to consider when thinking about your social media and mistakes that could be made. As President of the United States he wasted no time in his inaugural address to deliver in detail his long plans for the country.  Speaking uncovered in torrential rains history blame’s his death on the blunder of talking so long in a downpour.  The end of a politician due to his messaging is the image I give you.

messaging kills politician

Top Mistakes Made In Social Media By Candidates

1. Not promoting it

The first tip is super-straightforward, but it is so important yet so often overlooked that it is worth mentioning first.  Once you create a Facebook page it needs to be promoted for voters and supporters to ever find it. Add a link to the page wherever you can online, including the campaign website, Twitter account, and Youtube video descriptions. Additionally, promote the page offline in places like on direct mail, campaign literature, TV ads, and in a candidate’s stump speeches.

Targeting Facebook ads to voters and potential supporters can also be tremendously cost-effective, so use some of the money budgeted for online ads (you are, right?) to promote the page.

2. Setting up a personal profile for a campaign

This is very basic, but I still see many campaigns get this wrong. Campaigns should be using a page, not a personal profile for a candidate.

3. Having both a personal profile and a page for a candidate

Facebook Profile and Page

It’s the year 2012 and most people are on Facebook, including many candidates. Additionally, many candidates have been on Facebook for years now and accumulated quite a few friends. So the question often pops up on what should be done with a personal profile while a campaign is going on. It’s best to simply hide the personal one through the duration of the campaign so voters don’t get confused trying to decide which place to connect.

4. Profile Blunders

Many voters will be introduced to you for the very first time on social media. In many cases, they’ll be going to your profile as a starting point to learn more about you. Be sure you’re not making any of these basic errors:

  • Incomplete Profile: Fill everything out! If there is a description field, be sure to use it. If there’s space for your website, use it. If there’s space for any information, use it! Not only is it important to take advantage of the real estate these social networks give you, but incomplete profiles may sometimes leave the impression that you’re lazy, sloppy, or incompetent.
  • Missing Networks: All campaigns, most especially small ones, need to be extremely judicious with their resources. If you’re going to use a social network, you must commit to it. Failing to do so will leave a very poor impression. However, I strongly encourage you to at least register the same user name on every single social network possible. You don’t have to use it, but it will prevent squatters, trolls, and opponents from making mischief with them.
  • Wrong Image Sizes: Using images can be complicated. Most social networks now have both a profile picture and a banner image. These are both very different sizes and aspect ratios. It’s important to use an image with the proper aspect ratio in each circumstance. Most profile images are square, so attempting to use a logo or picture that’s very wide or very tall will not look right.

5. Neglecting to set up a vanity Facebook url (and as soon as possible)

Facebook Username

As soon as a page hits a certain level of “likes” (currently 25), a personalized url can be set up for the page that makes it much easier to remember. For instance, the default url for your page will look something like: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bob-Smithford/143854752232314.

A personalized Facebook url allows it to be a much simpler: http://www.facebook.com/bobsmithford.

Also, while this isn’t always possible, ideally this should be the same as your domain and usernames for every social network you are on. For example, take the Obama campaign: the domain name is barackobama.com, the Facebook url is facebook.com/barackobama, the Twitter username is @barackobama,  and the Youtube username is BarackObama. Keeping a name the same across platforms makes it much easier for supporters to find the pages.

6. Promoting a page on print and TV with just an icon instead of a url

On the web you can simply click an icon and it will take you to the website — but you can’t do this with a postcard or TV ad, so including a url is import so supporters can find a candidate’s Facebook page.

Good

In the same way that you wouldn’t add an icon of a website and tell people to go there without mentioning the url, don’t only add a Facebook icon and expect people to find it on their own. Use the personalized url set up for your page and include that on any print or video pieces the campaign puts out.

Good

7. Never looking at Facebook Insights

Facebook demographics

I’ve often found campaigns don’t realize the wealth of information they have access to through the Insights tab on a for the Facebook page. There a wide range of data that can provide insights things like:

  • the demographic makeup of those who “like” a page
  • the best times for posting and the most interacted with type of posts
  • the number of people reached through a post
  • number of interactions with a post
  • how many times a Facebook page has been viewed

8. Not setting up a custom landing tab

Facebook allows a tab other than the wall to be designated as the first tab visitors will see that visit a Facebook page and are not yet fans.  Facebook also gives us the ability to customize a tab specifically how we want it. By combining these two options, campaigns have a great opportunity to convert interested voters into supporters and supporters into donors, volunteers, and more. By default, visitors are shown the wall of a page.

As an example, take a look at how Mitt Romney’s landing tab is currently set up. While there is more to it than is probably necessary, it includes valuable elements like an email signup, donation call to action, and more information for voters on why Romney should be President.

Another example is the signup shown on Elizabeth Warren’s Facebook page:

9. Auto-posting tweets to Facebook

Facebook and Twitter may both be social networks, but both are different from each other in how best to use them. Many campaigns are tempted to autopost tweets from a campaign Twitter account to a Facebook page (or vice versa), but doing doing so removes the ability to customize messaging for the platform.

There many reasons not to do this, but here are a few:

  • Facebook allows more characters than Twitter, so it makes sense to take advantage of that and use when necessary
  • Facebook gives users the ability to attach links, videos, and picture with a status update. This is lost when autoposting
  • It looks lazy to voters
  • There’s a good chance a campaign will not notice and consequently not respond to any comments people may leave on the Facebook update
  • It’s much more likely that you will inadvertently barrage users with too many status updates because Twitter is set up for more frequent updates than Facebook

10. Using the Facebook page to dump press releases and official statements

Keep the press releases and official statements to the reporters and customize your message with a more personal feel for people on Facebook. Press releases are boring, so resist the urge to directly post these to a page. If you do, don’t expect fans to actually want to read what is posted. Instead post pictures, videos, and shorter messages that people will actually look at.

Compare North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue’s Facebook page to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Facebook page. Which do you find more interesting?

Perdue FB

Scott FB

11. Adding the position sought to the candidate’s Facebook page title

This is something I know other people disagree with, but I strongly believe that the title for a Facebook page should only be the candidate’s name and nothing more. For example, use “Frank Miller” instead of “Frank Miller for Springfield City Council” because once Frank Miller gets elected, he will want to keep using the Facebook page but the “for Springfield City Council” will no longer be correct. Alternatively, if Frank loses and runs for mayor in two years, the previous page will no longer be able to be used and the campaign will have to start from scratch again.

Facebook doesn’t allow changing a page title if there are over 100 likes, and it’s an awful feeling when you realize the page you worked hard to build to hundreds or thousands of fans is no longer able to be used because the title is incorrect. Keep it simple and stick with solely the candidate’s name — in the long run you will be glad.

12. Twitter Chats, a.k.a. The Online “Kick Me” Sign

Don’t. Ever. Just say no to Twitter chats. You are absolutely falling for the online version of someone hanging a “Kick Me” sign on your back. It invites all of the opponents and trolls on to your timeline and hands them a golden opportunity to counter your arguments and cast you in a negative light.

If you’re not familiar with the term “Twitter chat,” they’re a public, online conversation that uses Twitter hashtags to ask questions and solicit answers. Users can search for the Twitter tag and see all of the comments from any Twitter user who wishes to jump into the conversation.

While this example is a company and not a political candidate, a recent Twitter chat hosted by women’s clothing apparel-maker Lane Bryant illustrates some of the dangers

13. Flaming Out

If you decide to engage on a social media channel, make sure you understand the time commitment and then stick to it An abandoned social media account forces people to wonder why. Did you suspend your campaign? Did your social media coordinator quit? Are you running out of money? Did you plan poorly? Whether or not they’re the case, you don’t want any of those questions even crossing a voter’s mind.

14. Be Sociable

The word “social” in social media is really important. Think about it for a second. It’s a term we use so frequently, it’s easy to stop thinking about the meaning of the words. The whole point is to be social and communicate with the public.

The first rule of being sociable is responsiveness. Rightly or wrongly, people expect fast responses on social media. If you’re a candidate for local office, you will likely have voters asking you questions directly on social media. Be sure to answer them all and answer them as quickly as possible.

And if you’re going to be a political candidate using social media, be prepared for negative comments. It comes with the territory. But when we say “be prepared,” we mean be prepared to respond, not to censor. It’s natural to feel like you need to keep your account positive, but if word gets around that you’re deleting negative comments, you’re going to be perceived as thin-skinned and/or a weak leader. If possible, try to assemble a rapid response team of friends, family, and volunteers to respond positively to negative comments.

Keeping these 14 rules of political campaigns and social media will help you whether you’re running for dog catcher or president.  Remember just like we’re taught to dress for the job you want, you should campaign for the office you want.

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Hiring An SEO? Hear From Google What SEOs Do

This Google video “How to hire an SEO” isn’t new but it’s to the point and vital to setting expectations.  I encourage both SEOs and clients to watch this video and learn what Google says you should look for in an SEO. How to hire an SEO Transcript hi I’m Maile Ohye and I work with Google search I like to share advice to help you hire a useful SEO and prevent hiring a bad SEO one who you might pay a lot of money without positive results or even worse one who implements shady practices on your website that result in a reduction in search rankings SEO stands for search engine optimization – some SEO seems like black magic having worked with Google search for over a decade what I’ve learned is that first it’s not black magic and second if you want long-term success there aren’t any quick […]
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Transcript hi I’m Maile Ohye and I work with Google search I like to share advice to help you hire a useful SEO and prevent hiring a bad SEO one who you might pay a lot of money without positive results or even worse one who implements shady practices on your website that result in a reduction in search rankings SEO stands for search engine optimization – some SEO seems like black magic having worked with Google search for over a decade what I’ve learned is that first it’s not black magic and second if you want long-term success there aren’t any quick magical tricks that an SEO will provide so that your site ranks number one it’s important to note that an SEO potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website so successful SEO helps your website put your best foot forward so that it ranks appropriately in the spot where an unbiased potential customer would expect your site to be seen a successful SEO also looks to improve the entire searcher experience from search results to clicking on your website and potentially converting a good SEO will recommend best practices for a search friendly site from basic things like descriptive page titles for a blog or small business to more complex things like language markup for a multilingual global site SEO is ensure that you’re serving your online customers a good experience especially those coming from a search engine and that your site is helpful whether they’re using a desktop computer or mobile phone in most cases the SEO will need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit my strongest advice when working with an SEO is to request if they corroborate their recommendation with a documented statement from Google either in a Help Center article video or Google a response in a forum that supports both one the SEO description of the issue that needs to be improved to help with ranking and to the approach they prescribed to accomplishing this tasks requesting these two bits of information will help prevent hiring a poor SEO who might otherwise convince you to do useless things like add more words to the keyword meta tag or by links because if you search for google advice on this topic you’d see blog posts and videos from us that clearly explain that adding keywords to the meta tag wouldn’t help furthermore while google uses links for page rank our documentation highlights that we strongly advise against the approach of buying links for the purpose of increasing page rank one basic rule is that in a majority of cases doing what’s good for SEO is also doing what’s good for your online customers things like having a mobile-friendly website good navigation and building a great brand additionally if you’re a more established brand with complicated legacy systems then good search friendly best practices likely involved paying off some of your site’s technical debt such as updating your infrastructure so that your website is agile and able to implement features faster in the long term if you own a small local business you can probably do the initial work yourself check out our 30-minute video series on how to build an online presence for your local business now if you still believe you want to hire an SEO here’s a general process one conduct a two way interview with your potential SEO check that they seem generally interested in you and your business to check their references three act four and you’ll probably have to pay for a technical and search audit 4 decide if you want to hire let’s break this down and start with step 1 conduct a two-way interview in the interview here are some things to look for a good SEO doesn’t focus only on search engine ranking but how they can help your business so they should ask questions like what makes your business content and/or service unique and therefore valuable to customers they want to know this information to make sure it’s highlighted on your website for your current and potential new audience – what does your common customer look like and how do they currently find your website 3 how does your business make money and how can search help for what other channels are you using offline advertising social networks 5 who are your competitors what do they do well online and potentially offline if the SEO doesn’t seem interested in learning about your business from a holistic standpoint look elsewhere it’s difficult to do good SEO without knowing about a business’s goals their customers and other existing marketing efforts SEO should complement your existing work the second step in hiring an SEO is to check references if your potential SEO provides prior clients be sure to check their references you want to hear from past clients that the SEO was able to provide useful guidance and worked effectively with their developers designers UX researchers and our marketers a good SEO should feel like someone you can work with learn from experiment with and who generally cares about you and your business not just getting your site the highest rank as ultimately those techniques rarely last long if they work at all they’ll want to educate you and your staff on how search engines work so that SEO becomes part of your general business operations step 3 is to request a technical and search audit if you trust your SEO candidate give them restricted view not full or right access to your Google search console data and even your analytics data before they actually modify anything on your website have them conduct a technical and search audit to give you a prioritized list of what they think should be improved for SEO if you’re a larger business you can hire multiple SEO to run audits and prioritize improvements see what each has to say and then determine who you could work with the best in the audit the SEO should prioritize improvements with a structure like one the issue to the suggested improvement 3 an estimate on the overall investment in other words the time energy or money it would take for your developers to implement the improvement and for Google search as well as searchers and customers to recognize the improvement the SEO will need to talk with your developers to better understand what technical constraints may exist for the estimated positive business impact the impact might be a ranking improvement that will lead to more visitors and conversions or perhaps the positive impact comes from a back-end change that cleans up your site and helps your brand be more agile in the future five a plan of how to iterate and improve on the implementation or perhaps how to experiment and fail fast should the results not meet expectations that covers the structure of the technical and search audit now let’s talk about each of these audits individually in the technical audit your SEO should be able to review your site for issues related to internal linking crawl ability URL parameters server connectivity and response codes to name some if they mention that your site has duplicate content problems that need to be corrected make sure they show you the specific URLs that are competing for the same query or that they explained it should be cleaned up for long term site health not initial growth I mention this because lots of duplicate content exists on web sites and often it’s not a pressing problem in this search audit your potential SEO will likely break down your search queries into categories like branded and unbranded terms branded terms are those with your business or website’s name like a search for Gmail is a branded term while the search for email is an unbranded or general keyword an SEO should make sure that for branded queries such as Gmail your website is providing a great experience that allows customers who know your brand or website to easily find exactly what they need and potentially convert they might recommend improvements that help the entire searcher experience from what the searcher sees in search results to when they click on a result and use your website for unbranded queries an SEO can help you better make sense of the online competitive landscape they can tell you things like here are the types of queries it would make sense for your business to rank but here’s what your competition is done and why I think they rank where they do for instance perhaps your competition has great reviews really shareable content or they run a highly reputable site an SEO will provide recommendations for how to improve rankings for these queries and the entire searcher experience they’ll introduce ideas like update obsolete content they might say your site is suffering because some of your well ranking content is obsolete has poor navigation a useless page title or isn’t mobile-friendly let’s improve these pages and see if more website visitors convert and purchase or if they can micro convert meaning that perhaps they subscribe or share content improve internal linking your SEO might say your site is suffering because some of your best articles are too far from the homepage and users would have a hard time finding it we can better internally link to your content to feature it more prominently generate buzz the SEO might say you have great content but not enough people know we can try to get more user interaction and generate buzz perhaps through social media or business relationships this will help us attract more potential customers and perhaps garner natural links to your site learn from the competition your SEO might explain here’s what your competitors do well can you reach parity with this and potentially surpass them in utilities or can you better show customers your business’s unique value again a good SEO will try to prioritize what ideas can bring your business the most improvement for the least investment and what improvements may take more time but help growth in the long term once they talk with you and other members of your team such as developers or marketers they’ll help your business forge a path ahead the last thing I want to mention is that when I talk with SEO s one of the biggest holdups to improving away site isn’t there recommendation but it’s the business making time to implement their ideas if you’re not ready to commit to making SEO improvements while getting an SEO audit may be helpful make sure that your entire organization is on board else your SEO improvements may be non-existent regardless of who you hire so that wraps it up thanks for watching and best of luck to you and your business

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