The Best and Worst Facebook Page Campaign Strategies for Politicians

The following is an excerpt of an entry in our Facebook Marketing Bible. The full version contains additional analysis on the sign up, user generated content, video, and landing tab apps of Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Herman Cain, as well as suggestions for how they could improve their campaigns.

Politicians are gearing up for the 2012 elections and we’ve been tracking their campaign efforts on Facebook through the 2012 Inside Facebook Election Tracker. The web app charts the Like counts and compares candidates in the presidential primaries as well as the House, Senate, and Governor races.

Many candidates are using custom Facebook Page tab applications to drive awareness, gain fans, solicit donations, and spread their message. Here we’ll look at some of the best strategies and worst mistakes in how Page tab apps are being employed by four of the presidential primary candidates — Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain. Our analysis can help political candidates, as well as any brand learn how to promote themselves through Facebook Pages.

Barack Obama’s “Are You In?” Invite App

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is using a Page tab app called “Are You In?” to get users to invite their friends to support his campaign. The app is installed on Obama’s main Page that has 23.7 million fans, as well as swing-state campaign Pages including Obama for America — Colorado, Ohio, and Iowa.

When users first visit the app and click the “I’m In” button, they’re given a chance to authorize the app. It then prompts them to publish a news feed story about supporting Obama that states “[User name} is in. Join the campaign”. Users are wall post entry fields for the profiles of several friends which they can use to tell them they’re “in” and invite them to the app. Users can also view all of their friends that are already “in” and a count of how many were inspired to join by their wall posts.

The campaign app is simple to use, employs both news feed and wall posts for virality, and uses a leaderboard-style gamification mechanic to encourage users to spread the word. Rather than cluttering the app and shared stories with specifics about policy or how to participate, its lightweight, concise approach makes it appealing to the widest possible audience — perfect for raising awareness of the campaign.

Obama also features a Donate tab to take in campaign contributions for his main Page. To keep his 23 million fans engaged, he frequently publishes links to campaign news, inspirational quotes, and descriptions of campaign merchandise available in his store.

Ron Paul’s Confusing Landing Tab

Republican presidential primary candidate Ron Paul has made a few mistakes with his Facebook Page that currently has 563,000 Likes. His Page features a “Support Ron Paul” landing tab app, though its not actually set as the Page’s default landing tab. It displays a fake Like button image in a banner next to the real Like button on his Page that could confuse potential supporters that click it and see nothing happen.

The Support Ron Paul tab is actually a Like-gated app that changes from the banner to showing links to donate or volunteer, but this is not clearly indicated to users. The app needs to explain that users gain access to special links or content in exchange for their Like, otherwise they might think they’re just looking at a static image.

The Ron Paul Facebook Promoter tab app hosted on the candidates Page has potential but is also confusing…

Access Facebook political campaign analysis and strategies, including reviews of more Page apps from Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain in the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s comprehensive guide to marketing, promotion, and advertising on Facebook.