JAKARTA – Just under 100 days until the midterm elections, the US Democratic Party is equipping TikTok influencers and content creators with digital tools to reach voters on the internet with party-sponsored content.
As election season approaches, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is building an online organizing center to push the party's message beyond its own social channels. The Hub creates a central online destination for influencers, surrogates, and supporters to receive party-sponsored talking points, messaging, and a wide variety of digital content to post on their own social media feeds.
“Our goal is to equip supporters and grassroots volunteers with the tools to share our message with their own network and to become a trusted messenger,” Shelby Cole, deputy head of digital and creative content marketing for DNC, told The Verge on Monday, 8 August. "Wherever you want to meet, we will meet you."
The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the way political groups and politicians interact with voters. With face-to-face events unlikely in early 2020, candidates in both parties are starting to focus messages on the online platforms that voters use at home.
The Joe Biden campaign experimented with the Fortnite map, Animal Crossing: New Horizons Islands, and celebrity screaming app Cameo to reach voters across demographics.
Since implementing an online organizing program in February, DNC has generated more than 83 million impressions, including an increase of 16.7 million in the second quarter of this year alone. Officials have also recruited and trained nearly 1,000 supporters on how to use the hub so far this year.
Greenfly, a content distribution platform, serves as the main hub platform for hosting content. DNC's digital and coalition-building team is looking for potential influencers from across the party's support spectrum, including young voters and members of the Black and LGBTQ-plus communities.
Once a supporter is contacted, they are asked to attend an online training seminar before they then join the Greenfly platform and the DNC Slack community for party ambassadors.
While Democratic party officials continue to connect with TikTok creators and influencers via Slack and in private messaging groups, DNC's partnership with Greenfly has dramatically increased the scale at which the party can instantly push content to volunteers, a Democratic official told The Verge on Tuesday. Monday.
Once supporters download the Greenfly app, they can access a number of DNC galleries featuring content for them to download and repost in their own feed.
The type of content ranges in topics, from pressing policy explanations on issues like abortion rights to imagery touting the success stories of the Biden administration such as the Senate's recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, an official said Monday.
Greenfly also allows DNC to send push notifications to users to make more urgent sharing requests for certain content, which could help in the party's rapid response messaging program leading up to the midterm and 2024 presidential election cycle, an official said.
Several Democratic campaigns and political groups have moved to share official content with supporters online over the past few years. But unlike Google Docs which can be shared with sample messaging and links to positive news coverage, Greenfly gives Democratic officials more insight into what content is being shared the most and receiving the most engagement across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
That information has led Democrats' digital operations to build content better suited to the platforms their supporters are using. For example, the creators of TikTok used square images that are better suited for Instagram grid posts in videos. After Democratic officials saw the trend, they started designing background graphics in custom dimensions for TikTok, an official told The Verge on Monday.
DNC has previously experimented with Greenfly in the past, using it as a means to connect with supporters during important party events such as the 2020 national convention.
President Joe Biden's presidential campaign is also using Greenfly to share campaign-specific content with supporters in real time. Greenfly's website says that more than 80 percent of Biden are "substitutes for sharing digital content on social media."
Over the past few years, political groups have taken steps to capitalize on the growth of online influencer marketing. In April, the pro-Biden super PAC launched a six-figure paid advertising program to amplify the content it creates with TikTok and Instagram creators. Conservative groups such as Turning Point USA and PragerU continue to build online ambassador programs, encouraging affiliated content creators to post conservative-friendly content across their social media accounts.
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