Live coverage is nothing new, especially in politics. Even before the 24-hour news cycle, presidential debates were broadcast live to home audiences. The Kennedy/Nixon debates during the 1960 election season were so popular that more than a third of the total American population tuned in. Over the decades, however, the number of viewers has gradually dwindled. The 2016 presidential debates, however, began with the strongest showing in debate history. One cause for this change, other than our obvious fascination with human drama, is technology.
Advances in technology have changed the ways we consume media. When Kennedy and Nixon debated in 1960, most families had one television, in front of which the whole household gathered to watch the big event. Today, nearly every member of the house has a smartphone, and most households have more than one TV among their other devices. If we miss the live event, we can catch it the next day on YouTube or play it back on the DVR. We no longer need to sync up our schedules around a one-time live event. And honestly, what difference does it make if we watch candidates live, rather than catch them later at our convenience?
Enter Facebook Live. The world’s biggest social media platform, used by two-thirds of the entire U.S. population, has put live video back on the map (literally, but more on that in a second). Rather than passively watching candidates give press conferences and participate in debates, there is a new opportunity for candidates to use FB Live to truly engage constituents. Every moment that a candidate is broadcasting, users are able to watch in real time, ask questions, have a voice. On the flipside, candidates are able to address individual viewers by name and respond to their questions on the spot for the whole world to see.
There are currently two good ways for users to engage with your campaign through FB Live. First, if users already follow your page, they will get a notification every time you go live. Second, Facebook provides a world map on which users can see every livestream currently being broadcast. This map allows users to see the most popular videos for any area, whether it’s a neighborhood or the entire planet. These methods are not mutually exclusive. They simply allow your live content to be served up to your followers while also remaining discoverable to anyone who might be interested.
The Trump and Clinton campaigns are already taking advantage of FB Live, but neither campaign is using the medium to its full potential. Rather than treating FB Live like another cable channel on which to dump every press conference, candidates have the opportunity to really engage, to provide viewers an active experience. Smaller, local campaigns may find it easier to take advantage of this new medium because their audiences (and the volume of questions and responses) are more easily managed.
Perhaps most important in terms of fundraising, combining Raise The Money’s Facebook plugin with FB Live allows your campaign to deliver messages, address constituents and collect donations all in a single digital venue. User participation is easily tracked, and data collection is both easy and profound compared to a survey or poll. Lastly, your live content is not lost when your event is over. It is archived on your page and will likely continue to gain viewers. This one is a no brainer. Don’t make your constituents come to you. Go to them. Contact Raise The Money today to get started.
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