The Strangest Campaign Strategy Of All: Silence
Social media is a big part of every campaign and when managed properly it can be one of the most powerful tools for reaching a broad demographic of potential voters. Sometimes though, social media is the place where things get ugly. People tend to say things online that they would never say in person or in public. There seems to be safety behind the screen for those that are sometimes referred to as “keyboard warriors.” Big online, small in person.
We had such a campaign where the opponent invested themselves heavily into their online persona as they busily tried to persuade the majority of voters of a small town to get behind their ill-fated measure. And persuade they did – often very effectively to their credit. So much so that words were skewed and twisted in such as way that no online argument could ever be won. You’ve probably met a few people like that before. No matter what you say, they always have an answer. In that regard, our opponents were winning the digital battle for the hearts and minds of the people.
Predictably though, the main spokesperson for the opposition did not know when to shut up. His narcissistic tendencies and bullish online behavior persisted to the point of looking for fights by calling people out (by tagging them in posts) to draw out the ultimately unwinnable argument.
Our strategy? Radio silence. For nearly a month, our campaign refrained from posting or commenting in the usual forums. And it was maddening to the opposition who kept trying to stir the pot. But it only made them look weak and pathetic – even some of their own supporters were having doubts about the character of the company behind the measure. Going silent was one of the many ways that we adapted our strategy to fit the situation to achieve the biggest gain. The more we refrained from posting, the more desperate the other side became and only made them look bad in the end.
Don’t doubt your spidey senses when managing the online presence for your campaign or business. Sometimes, silence is golden. For the opposite of silence, see Never Underestimate The Power Of A Good Bullhorn.