Facebook Joins Attentive.ly in Targeting Political Influencers

Our friends at Facebook recently released a new feature which identifies people generically talking about a political topic on Facebook with the goal of converting them into word of mouth advocates for political oriented campaigns.

Hot button political topics are engagement goldmines for political campaigns. First, they are issues that people actually talk about, which gives you tremendous insight into how people feel about the candidates and issues like the environment, economy and jobs, in realtime. Second, it affords campaigns the opportunity to engage their base while this hot issue is top of mind.


Welcome to the club, Facebook

Truth be known, we love this approach.  So much that we created Attentive.ly a few years ago to show organizations what people in their CRM are saying on social media and help them identify their existing influencers for better targeting via email and social media.

Why We Love Targeting Political Influencers

According Fast Company, Facebook classifies “political influencers as people who click on political ads, like lots of politics-themed pages, and share content from political groups. The goal is to target political obsessives on both sides of the political spectrum on Facebook in the hope that they post about specific candidates or causes.”

While we define “influencers” as people with more than 500 connections who talk about relevant content on social media, the theory of change is generally the same.

Ads Created From Social Mentions, Not Static Data

When someone talks about a race, key issues, or a candidate on social media, it demonstrates their active interest in the issue and more importantly, their ability to share your message, since they’re already talking about it.

Social engagement based on search terms allows communicators to send messages based on what your people are actually talking about, in real-time. It’s a fairly new move in marketing that savvy digital teams use to segment their lists to deliver personalized content.

In addition to creating custom audiences with behavioral, CRM, and demographic data, you can layer it with social listening, which targets people already talking about key terms on social media.

This means you could send ads to people who are active supporters and talk about key issues frequently online. Using Attentive.ly, you can also segment by Klout score to personalize your ads to your VIP, Professional, and Everyday influencers.

Content Sharing From Friends Is Powerful

Word of mouth marketing is THE most trusted referral source which fuels engagement with your social audience. There are a ton of findings that support this fact like Neilson’s 2015  Global Trust in Advertising Report which found that 83 percent of respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family.

People who talk about your campaign on Facebook or Twitter are prime to share your message, donate, vote, volunteer, and get their friends involved.

In the same Fast Company article, Facebook’s VP of Monetization explained the deeper role of people who talk about your campaign social media:

“Those people play an important role in the social network’s ecosystem: word of mouth. They can help spread the word about candidates to Facebook friends who may still be undecided, as well as introduce new issues to their networks.”

We agree and recommend that campaigns pay close attention to existing social media influencers so they share your message with their networks and get their friends involved.

Sending Facebook ads to people talking about key campaign terms is an excellent influencer marketing tactic which should compliment a larger influencer powered campaign.

Look to identify the 3 types of influencers who have the reach and topic relevance and read our Guide on How to Identify and Engage Your Influencers for more tips on getting started.

Personalized, Multi-channel, Real-time Communications

That’s a mouthful, so let’s break it down.

While Facebook’s new ad features allow you to target political influencers from a broad category of people who talk a lot about politics, we take it a step further so you’re able to do the following:

Personalize Your Content – Sending ads based on a social mention is a great example of personalized content, because a supporter is actively discussing this issue. If they mention #FeeltheBern, you send them an ad about Bernie Sanders – why you love him, why you hate him or how whatever you’re up to relates to the mention.

Send Multi-Channel – A few years ago, your campaign would engage supporters with various calls to action via email, social, and direct mail throughout the year. Now, campaigns can segment social mentions in their CRM’s, then automate multi-channel responses like this:

  • Send a FB ad. Any time a supporter says “#FeeltheBern” (or whatever makes sense for your campaign), put them into a group that receives a Facebook Ad the next day about Bernie.
  • Send an email. Set up a rule (using Attentive.ly) that sends them an automated email within a few hours about the campaign. This could be a donation request, a recent blog post, new report, etc.
  • Engage on social. Set up daily notifications about everyone who mentioned “#FeeltheBern” and give them some social love.
  • Direct Mail. While you won’t use this tactic much, you now have the option of creating direct mail content based on social mentions.

Identify Political Influencers in Your CRM… and yes, you have them.

First, identify people in your CRM talking about politics or key terms that relate to your campaign. Keep in mind this doesn’t need to be an actual political campaign; you can look for any term that relates to your program or marketing “campaign”. For the sake of this theme, we’ll stick with a political campaign.

Here’s what we found for people talking about the Dems. In the past 7 days, there were 664 mentions of “Clinton,” “Bernie,” and “#FeeltheBern” from our own CRM.  Just imagine how many people would be talking politics if we worked directly on campaigns!

Keep in mind that Twitter is the platform of choice for the politically engaged so it’s key to have the ability pull search terms from Twitter in addition to Facebook.  This gives you the power to segment, and run ads in Facebook, using with search terms from both Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Segment by Search Terms from Twitter and Facebook Feeds in Your CRM


Send a Facebook ad to everyone talking about #gopdebates

Here’s the deal with Facebook ads and political fundraising. Fundraising emails are more successful when prospects see a Facebook ad a few days before the ask. Imagine how successful your appeal would be if a supporter saw an ad that related to a political search term your supporter just talked about?

In Attentive.ly, simply segment everyone who mentioned #gopdebate. Then, create a custom Facebook audience, with look-a-likes, for your ad.

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Jeanette Russell
About Jeanette Russell

Passionate to engage stakeholders to solve technical and political issues through transformational initiatives. My deep understanding of technology, partnerships, marketing, advocacy, fundraising, nonprofits, startups and self-directed nature is my brand. I’ve created extensive partner networks, coalitions, spearheaded innovative campaigns and significantly increased revenue/funding for purpose driven ventures.