Demandbase Connect

You are browsing the archive for Facebook.

Webinar Recap: The Secret of Social Media to Boost Voter Participation

December 16, 2013 9:16 am in Increasing Voter Turnout, Webinar by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

One of the biggest challenges for election administrators is boosting voter participation and increasing turnout. We’re, admittedly, a little bit obsessive about helping our clients increase voter turnout. That’s because the more votes you have behind decisions and candidates, the more those decisions and candidates truly reflect the views of your members and other stakeholders.

Studies show that using social media to spark participation is one of the most effective ways to reach and recruit voters. However, in our survey of associations and nonprofit organizations, social media was way down on the list of election marketing tactics.

We’ve got science behind our suggestion to use social media. On Election Day in 2010, thanks to an experiment run by James Fowler, professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, in cooperation with Facebook, 61 million Facebook users saw a “Today is Election Day” message at the top of their newsfeed. Some of those users saw photos of friends who had already clicked the “I Voted” button, and some didn’t see any photos.

facebook voter mobilization message

People who saw the Election Day message without the photos and references to friends were barely affected by the “get out the vote” message. However, the voter turnout for the people who saw photos of their friends increased by 2.2% — an additional 60,000 votes nationwide. Even more unexpected, 280,000 additional votes were made by Facebook users who merely saw an “I voted” update from a friend – the “social contagion” effect. Fowler said, “I expected friends to matter, but I was surprised how much they matter.”

Online social networks definitely influence political participation, and close relationships matter the most. People do what they see other people doing, especially people they know. You can use this behavioral principle to your advantage for your elections and voting events.

Besides increasing voter participation, this tactic puts your audience (your voters) to work. Voters do some of the marketing for you! We all know that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective marketing – take advantage of that.

Retailers, like Amazon, understand this, and event organizers do too. Think of how many times you’ve seen a Facebook update from a friend saying “I’m attending XYZ event” or “I just purchased X.”

Now you can capture this same benefit of social media with eBallot Social Share. When a voter using eBallot reaches the confirmation page, they’ll see a box with social sharing options for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

eBallot social sharing tool for voting and elections

Once the voter selects an option, other eligible voters will see their “I voted” virtual sticker on Facebook…

Facebook social sharing for elections and voting

…or on Twitter.

Twitter social sharing for elections and voting

And even LinkedIn. Use social media sharing to spread the word about your elections and voting events.

That’s not all! Our new eBallot VoteNow Facebook app lets people vote right from your organization’s Facebook page. You simply attach your organization’s Facebook page to the voting event in the Admin area of eBallot and embed the VoteNow app in the page.

With VoteNow, voters have direct, easy and secure access to your ballot when they’re in Facebook. Considering how many people go on Facebook when they have free time, especially evenings and weekends, why not be there to make voting easy and convenient for them? Turn your organization‘s Facebook page into a vibrant election and voting community.

When you send out election marketing emails, remind voters that they have the option to vote from Facebook too and provide the link to your Facebook page. You can make voting part of the online conversation with social sharing and the VoteNow Facebook app.

Join us for our next Super Tuesday webinar on December 17 at 2:30 p.m. EST. Dr. Melissa R. Michelson, Professor of Political Science at Menlo College, returns for The Messenger Matters: The Power of Email from Trusted Sources to Boost Participation.

eBallot VoteNow Facebook app for elections and voting

New eBallot Social Media Features Offer the Most Social Online Voting Experience

December 04, 2013 9:10 am in Online Voting, Voting Tips and Best Practices by Shelja Purohit, VP Customer Relations

The original voting process in ancient Greece was a social experience.  Athenians and other citizens across ancient Greece came together to cast ballots driven by an obligation to participate that was at the core of the Greek concept of democracy.

Democratic decision-making has come a long way over the centuries with votes now cast via secret ballot and even online voting. However along the way, we have lost much of the participation that was part of the early voting process.  In fact in the 2012 presidential election only 62.3% of eligible citizens voted.

Now, modern technologies such as social media are reinvigorating the voting process and helping drive greater voter participation. New research is being done on how to engage voters and increase participation with social media being one of the best tools for driving Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts. (For more on that, read our post on Using Social Media to Promote Voting and Elections.)

This is why we are so excited about the new social media integrations we have introduced in our eBallot online voting and balloting software that are designed to engage voters through social media and use social pressure to drive voter turnout for our Votenet clients.

eBallot’s VoteNow Facebook App provides the most social voting experience ever.

Voting inside Facebook is about as social as it can get.  Now, members and eligible voters can login and vote using eBallot’s VoteNow Facebook AppOur new app puts the entire eBallot process within Facebook so organizations can promote ballots and engage voters directly through Facebook.

Once your admin has configured the ballot, all they have to do is connect your eBallot account to your Facebook page, click a button and your ballot now lives inside Facebook.  Voters can login and vote directly within the Facebook app and there is even an icon installed in the app bar.

The fact is that Facebook is a daily destination for many compared to the web sites of the organizations they belong to. By integrating eBallot with Facebook, your organization can reach potential voters where they spend most of their online time.

Social sharing uses peer pressure to drive Get Out the Vote efforts.

More and more studies are showing how social pressure can encourage others to vote.  We see this “in real life” with the ubiquitous “I Voted” stickers on election-day. But studies of Facebook and voter turnout have shown when that pressure is applied through social media, it becomes an even more powerful tool with the potential to multiply efforts.

“Election participation is a social activity,” Menlo College’s Dr. Melissa Michelson said recently. “Robust scientific research proves that individuals are more likely to vote when they know that their friends have voted, or when they see that many others are doing so.”

That’s why creating tools that allow users to quickly and easily create that social pressure are so important. eBallot’s Social Media Share function now encourages voters to promote their voting behavior (“I Voted!”) through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn directly from the voting confirmation page.

Voters choose a default message or can post a personalized status.  They also have the option of  writing on the organization’s Facebook wall to spark conversation and engagement among the organization’s online community. All social shares include a link to the organization’s voting portal to drive voter participation.

Reducing friction one click at a time.

Our recent webinar with Dave Meslin pointed out that in order to overcome voter apathy (particularly when it comes to voting), organizations need to make the activity relevant, leverage great marketing and improve accessibility.

Our new social features are designed to do just this. By reducing the friction involved in accessing the voting process and turning voters into your engagement evangelists we now have the tools to overcome that apathy.

Of course this is just the start.  Keep an eye out for more details on these new features and even more tools that are in the works.  Or to see these new features in action, feel free to get in touch or sign up for a demo.

Social Media adds some vibrancy to your Get Out the Vote efforts and increases engagement. (Image Credit: Flickr, mkhmarketing)


Tap into the Selfie Craze with #VoterSelfies

November 26, 2013 9:44 am in Increasing Voter Turnout by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

If you’ve spent any time on Instagram, Facebook or pop culture websites, you probably weren’t surprised when you heard the Oxford English Dictionary chose ‘selfie’ as its word of the year. Selfies are everywhere – friends, family, celebrities, even the Mars Rover took a selfie.

The selfie craze isn’t that new; it’s just a new way for people to share self-portraits. Self-portraits have been around since ancient Egypt, but became really popular during the Renaissance. After photography was invented, it wasn’t long before the first sort-of-selfies were developed. Here’s an early one from around 1900. Wikipedia has an even earlier selection from the mid- to late-1800s.

The self-portraits of our time are found on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #selfie — a label that makes the subject’s identity clear. You can tap into your voters’ selfie-taking habit and also increase election awareness and turnout with a #voterselfie campaign.

A #voterselfie campaign would be especially effective with younger generations since a recent poll reported that 30% of all the photos taken by Millennials are selfies. If your voters are students, even better: the Pew Internet & American Life Project says 91% of teens have posted a photo of themselves on social media. 

A #voterselfie campaign also takes advantage of the “social identity” voter mobilization tactic. Behavioral science field experiments have proven that people are more likely to take an action that affirms their social identity as a “superior” or “virtuous” group. What better way for someone to affirm their social identity as a voter than to share #voterselfies with their Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest friends and acquaintances.

That desire to appear as a person of a “superior” group could explain why the North Carolina Museum of Art has collected so many mirror self-portraits (let’s face it, selfies) on Pinterest. It’s also why so many of your Facebook friends share humblebrag photos.

On Election Day in New York City, WNYC asked their audience to take a #voterselfie and share it on Twitter or Instagram. You could do the same with your election or voting event. Ask your voters to share their selfies using a hashtag made up of your organization’s acronym plus ‘selfie.’ For example, if you’re the Association for Voter Selfie Professionals, the hashtag would be #avspselfie.

To ensure a fair election, tell folks they can’t take photos of the ballot or candidates. You want to share that they voted, not whom or what they voted for.

Make the election campaign even more fun with a #voterselfie contest. Pick finalists and winners for #voterselfies in one or more of the following categories:

  • Oddest location
  • Most beautiful location
  • Best homemade “I voted” badge or sticker
  • Best #voterselfie photobomb 
  • Best #voterselfie with friend
  • Best #voterselfie at the office
  • Best #voterselfie with pet
  • Best #voterselfie with original haiku

Elections are serious business. However, they can also be enjoyable, communal experiences that celebrate organizational democracy. Spark interest, spread awareness and increase participation with a #voterselfie campaign.

Photo by Zen Sutherland/Flickr CC license


Webinar Recap: Facebook and Your Voter Mobilization Strategy

October 10, 2013 9:18 am in Webinar by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

Voting and speeding – they have more in common than you think. Of course, one we encourage and the other we don’t.

I realized this during our first Super Tuesday webinar this week with Dr. Melissa R. Michelson, Professor of Political Science at Menlo College. She explained how to use Facebook to increase social pressure, drive voter engagement and increase voter turnout.

First, let’s take a more scientific look at behavior like voting or obeying the speed limit — it will help us understand why Facebook works so well. Voting is what’s called a “normative behavior” — it adheres to certain social norms or standards. We vote because we feel compelled to adhere to an “injunctive norm” – what we’re supposed to do according to society. We’re supposed to do our civic duty and vote. We’re supposed to obey traffic laws.

The “descriptive norm” also influences our behavior – it’s how people actually behave. We’ve conformed to descriptive norms since we were young – just remember your mother asking, “If everyone else jumped off the bridge, would you?” Seeing or hearing about other people voting makes us want to vote too. We’re okay with driving six miles over the speed limit because the people around us are driving at least that fast. Injunctive and descriptive norms influence how we behave.

In 2010, behavioral scientists teamed up with Facebook to study a specific normative behavior – voting. In an experiment involving 61 million Facebook users, scientists used a special Election Day newsfeed update that sometimes included profile photos to find out if people are more likely to vote when they see photos of friends that have already voted.

The newsfeed updates that included photos of friends generated 60,000 more votes nationwide, a 2.2% increase in verified votes. Even more unexpected, 280,000 additional votes were spurred by friends of friends — the “social contagion” effect that happens when users share messages with friends.

Why do Facebook newsfeed updates work so well? Because the injunctive norm (you should vote) combined with the descriptive norm (your friends and acquaintances are voting) is boosted by having an ambient environment where messages about voting keep popping up in the newsfeed.

Facebook “likes” of other people’s “I voted” messages also show up in the newsfeed and contribute to this ambient environment. The more people endorse (or “like”) voting updates, the more voting is seen as a descriptive norm – voting is popular and I should do it too.

How can you make this work for your organization’s elections and votes?

Use social media platforms to post both injunctive and descriptive updates about voting. The injunctive update reminds voters why voting is so important to the organization and something they should do. The descriptive update encourages them to join their colleagues who have already voted – it’s the socially popular thing to do.

Create an ambient environment where eligible voters see messages from those who have already voted or plan to vote. Encourage voters to tweet, share and “like” your Facebook updates about voting. Find out who’s sharing and liking those updates and send them a thank you or give them a discount to an upcoming event.

Share links on your Facebook page to the ballot site, candidate profiles, information about the issues on the ballot and any other events related to the election or vote.

On your ballot, ask voters to share an “I voted” message on Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Twitter. Votenet’s eBallot will have this new social sharing function in the update rolling out at the end of October.

Our next Super Tuesday webinar on October 15 will discuss the days and times that are best for starting and ending ballots. Until then, take a look at your Facebook page and see what you can do to make it more meaningful to your voters. You’ll want to have their attention before your election or voting event arrives.

Photo by Ialja/Flickr CC license

Why was Facebook’s Vote Such a Dud?

January 14, 2013 8:42 am in Increasing Voter Turnout by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

In December, Facebook gave users the opportunity to vote for or against specific changes to its privacy policy. The proposed changes would affect how Facebook shares user data and whether users would be able to vote on future policy.

Less than one-tenth of one percent of Facebook’s one billion users voted. Of the people who did vote, 88% of them voted against the policy changes. But, for a vote to be binding, at least 30% of users had to vote. Consequently, Facebook implemented a new privacy policy and users lost their right to vote on future policy.

The turnout for Facebook’s vote could have been much higher if Facebook had implemented the best practices we recommend to organizations.

Tell voters why they should care.

People don’t vote because they don’t care enough or know enough about the issues at stake. Many users probably assume that whatever Facebook wants, Facebook gets, unless Congress or a court rules otherwise. Yet, they had a chance to affect Facebook policy if only enough of them had risen to the occasion.

Voter turnout increases when voters know why their vote matters. With enough marketing and communication, apathy turns into action.

Educate voters to dispel confusion.

Facebook missed an opportunity to clear up the confusion caused by a fake privacy notice spreading through users’ News Feeds. Many people fell for a hoax that instructed them to copy and paste a notice on their wall that supposedly would protect their updates and data from unauthorized copying. Facebook could have set users straight while using the incident as a way to promote the policy vote.

Stay away from December.

If only they asked us! December is not the month to run an election. It’s too difficult to compete for attention and a place on someone’s ‘to do’ list.

Lengthen the voting period.

The most effective election period is 15 to 24 days, according to the data in our forthcoming Votenet Index of Association and Non-Profit Voting and Election Trends. Facebook’s election period was seven days, not long enough for users to take notice and take action.

Communicate often to raise awareness.

Facebook sent only one email asking users to review the proposed changes and cast their vote. Was that enough? Apparently not because I missed it and many others did too. And how many people thought the email was spam?

Before and during the voting period, Facebook should have communicated with users more frequently and blatantly. Many people didn’t even know a vote was pending, or if they did, they didn’t sense any urgency to vote.

Facebook could have also promoted the vote in News Feed headers and Messages. Social sharing would have added an element of peer pressure.

Remove barriers to voting.

Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s Vice President of Communications, Public Policy and Marketing, said, “We made significant efforts to make voting easy and accessible – including translating the documents and voting application into several of the world’s most popular languages…”

That’s a commendable start, but they could have had a frictionless vote with more effective communication and easier access to the ballot, for example, allowing users to vote from their News Feed.

Because of its new policy Facebook will no longer ask users to vote on policy, instead it will gather feedback via likes and comments. Facebook can do better than that by giving users non-binding, advisory voting privileges. Organizations earn more loyalty and good will when members and users have a voice and a vote.


Announcing Election Impact 4.0: Facebook Integration & Registration in 7 Languages

July 18, 2012 2:26 pm in Online Voting, Voting Trends by Michael Tuteur, Votenet CEO

Today, we are proud to announce the latest release of “Election Impact” online voter registration system. With this release, Election Impact becomes the first white label social voter registration application that can be used by any organization, including unions, nonprofits, associations, candidates and corporations, to create their very own Timeline App and register voters directly from their own Facebook fan pages.

Other new social features added to Election Impact include the ability for users to post messages to their social media profiles and invite friends to register, and mobile compatibility that optimizes the registration process for Android and Apple iOS mobile devices.

We designed this latest update to Election Impact with one goal – to help organizations increase the number of registered voters supporting their cause and get more of them to the polls on Election Day. The most reliable and efficient way to increase voter turnout on Election Day is by holding a voter registration drive and now organizations can do this through Facebook. Election Impact 4.0’s other new features include:

Foreign Languages: Citizens can now register in all of the languages supported by the federal government: English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

Customization: Organizations can customize the look and feel of Election Impact to match their brand or coalition by incorporating multiple logos and additional fields to capture email addresses, phone numbers during the registration process.

API Toolkit: Election impact offers developers a fully documented API that allows for custom integration into other websites and applications.

Campaign Reports: Customizable online reports and charts detailing usage trends, referral traffic analysis, demographic information and profiles of registrants.

Mobile Compatibility: Any organization can register voters through their own website via smart phones or tablet computers running the Android or Apple iOS operating systems.