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What campaigns can learn from Sanders and Warren about social media

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Elizabeth Warren smiles while listening to a question from an audience member. Emblazoned behind her is the Texas flag while silhouettes of the crowd help frame Warren at the center.
Elizabeth Warren in Dallas, TX. Photo by Kidus Solomon.

We’ve entered a new era of advertising - one that some marketers had foreseen for a long time, but too many in politics have not.

If down-ballot campaigns want to engage their digital audience like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they must begin thinking like a media company. That is, they must create original content that is informative, engaging, and adds value to the lives of the people that consume it. Which, of course, is easier said than done.

The key here is that if you want people to give you their time, you must offer something in return. Here’s a perfect example of a recent Bernie video that epitomizes this principle:

Is this video an advertisement for Bernie’s campaign? Of course it is! But did you also learn about something new or interesting? Did you gain new insights about a topic that is relevant to you? The answer is most likely yes - and that is the key.

“But videos like that are too expensive,” you might say. True, but surely you can write! Spend one or two days a month developing a universe of topics you can blog about. Then do your research and begin writing. If you feel you don’t have the time or the skills to do that, hire someone that can provide you with this service (ahem, It may cost money but it’s cheaper than producing a full video series, and the reward is substantial.


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