New Amherst, NY Supervisor Brian Kulpa is sworn into office

I don’t do a lot of hands-on, day-to-day campaigns anymore, having moved on to the broader Campaign Coach Program, which allows me to help more local candidates, all across the country. But, occasionally, I will be asked to participate more actively in a campaign for a candidate that I very much believe in, and I’ll agree.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the swearing-in ceremony for a good friend and former Campaign Coach Podcast guest, Brian Kulpa, who officially became Supervisor for the Town of Amherst, in my backyard in Western New York. I’ve known Brian for many years through my private sector work, and in the role he’s just leaving, Mayor of the Village of Williamsville.

Supervisor Kulpa, who is one of the most forward-thinking elected leaders I’ve met in 20 years of being involved with campaigns, came to me in the spring of this year and asked for my help on the communications side. I was pleased to say yes.

Local Campaigns and Social Media

Around the time that this campaign started, Facebook made significant changes to their targeting capabilities for boosts and sponsored ads. Early on, I asked Brian for a small budget and the freedom to test the new parameters. He agreed, and we went on a whirlwind tour of Facebook targeting, to see how much of an impact we could have. Let’s just say that this project has caused me to completely rewrite the social media section of the Campaign Coach’s Complete Campaign Kit.

We exist in a world right now where the President of the United States admittedly utilizes social media to “get around” the mainstream media’s interpretive coverage of everything that happens in politics – proudly proclaiming Twitter to be an avenue for him to talk directly to the American people (his use of that access aside). In a local race, the same concept applies… Not necessarily to skirt the media, but to supplement it. It’s not the media’s interpretation in its coverage of local races that’s usually the problem, but its lack of it altogether. Media coverage of local campaigns is often relegated to an introductory article, and a candidates’ profile close to the election. Very difficult to get your message out through the media these days.

But social media allows you that opportunity: to talk directly to the voter. Which becomes all the more important when you have something to say. Supervisor Kulpa, who is an architect and urban planner by trade, was one of the few candidates I’ve worked with who went into the campaign with a fully-laid-out plan for what he would do once elected. Believe me, as a consultant, it was like a dream. He provided more fodder than we could use.

But how do you communicate the technical details of running a municipality to Joe Voter in an effective way? You get the candidate every opportunity that you can to talk about them. Here’s a video that we put together with Brian during the campaign. No flash. No fancy graphics. Just the candidate talking to constituents about his plans.

The results? 1,862 views of the video (with more than 500 people watching the whole 7+ minute video), for a whopping price of $.02 per view. Which means that not only did we have success in “boosting” the video, but people shared it on their own, as well. Plus, we heard numerous face-to-face comments about the video while the candidate walked door-to-door.

We had similar (and even better) results with other posts, as well, and you can do it in your campaign, too.

You want some real numbers?

When Brian had asked me what we needed for the social media campaign, I told him that between Sept. 1 and Election Day, if he could authorize $750, it would give me what we need to get the job done. He did, and we ended up spending $712. Here are the results we got for that amount:

Reach: 23,662 people (number of people who saw the ads/posts more than once)

Impressions: 89,587 (how often the ads were on screen for our target audience)

That’s $.03 per person and less than $.01 per impression. I will tell you that you can’t put a postcard in people’s mailboxes for anywhere near that price.

Is that a good budget number for you? It’s probably high. Amherst, NY is a larger town, with a population of 120,000, and it was a higher turnout than normal year because of a state ballot issue. And, of course, the key to everything is good content – because you can spend a bunch of money on content that no one cares about. Social media outlets reward you for getting (and keeping) people’s attention. In the Campaign Coach Membership Program, we dig more deeply into social media for campaigns, including how to determine a viable budget and create worthy content.

Your Swearing In is Just the Beginning

While it probably seems that being sworn into office is the conclusion of a long and tiring journey, it’s actually the beginning. The job is just starting. Which is why I’ve crafted The Campaign Coach Program a little bit differently than other consulting programs. As important as it is to me that you win your campaign, it’s equally as important to me that you’re an effective leader once in office.

If that’s your ultimate goal, we have a lot to talk about… Start here.