Change: How the Political Season Will Change Social Media – Infographics

This is the first in a series of posts that will look at how the brand as publisher concept and the shareable formats of social marketing will impact and evolve politics in the upcoming election season.  More political campaigns will embrace the tools of social media, bringing those tools deeper into the awareness and understanding of the general population.  And, in turn farther into the marketers toolkit.

One of the tools in the brand publishing toolbox is the infographic. Using pictures to tell a story has been around for a long time.  USAToday made the infographic popular in journalism.  And, today, more brands are using pictures to tell their story and to feed the insatiable social appetite for more content.  While slower to the social game, but catching up quickly, politicians and political campaigns are starting to see the value of the connected conversations of the social Web.  And, many are starting to take a deliberate look at their publishing models.

In the pending context of an election year, the tools of the social publisher, from blogs to Facebook and video to infographics, the strategy of telling your story through multiple channels and in multiple formats will expand.  It’s in this context of need and ability that the infographic will take off as a standard communications vehicle.  The ability to easily tell a story in pictures in a way that conveys data is a natural tool for political campaigns.  There are few places where confusing data meets confounded meaning than in the context of a political campaign.  Conversely, there are few context where clearly conveying a message though a single image can help convert those 63% of people who consider themselves visual learners into activated, educated, engaged and committed voters.

Below is just one of the early examples where an infographic, or data visualization, can be used to convey a political point and message. (No political affiliation implied.) While I can argue that this isn’t a true infographic, I think it’s one of the many formats data can take to help convey the point of it’s message.

Considering Content

The dirty secret of social media is that it requires a lot of content to establish and sustain a brand’s presence.  Content is the lifeblood of a brand’s online conversation.  Whether its a video, photo gallery, Tweet, SlideShare deck or Facebook update, there’s a piece of content that’s initiating or sustaining a conversation between the brand and its consumers.  Relevant, sharable content keeps the brand present in the consumer’s social stream and creates context and relevance for the relationship.  Content is also used to normalize contentious conversations and direct it into areas important to the brand. When creating content – whether you’re using it to initiate a conversation, establish a community or launch a product – should do one or more of the following:

  • Introduce – a theme or concept that others haven’t seen or heard before
  • Inform – people about something new and exciting
  • Inspire – others to think or act differently or to harness their creative passions
  • Incite – action, emotion or some forward-looking experience

With the burden of content growing for brands as they look to manage and grow community, it’s worth developing a deliberate approach.  Above all, content must be interesting enough to grab attention and compelling enough to share.  If no one is interested in your conversation, they won’t waste time talking to you or sharing your message.  Make relevant and compelling content often – your social media success depends on it.