Don’t you hate automated phone calls that disturb you during your downtime, especially during the political season? Between this year’s political diversion and the fact that political “robo calls” do not have to honor national “Do Not Call Lists”, expect a torrent of phone calls and get the vote out campaigns from both sides.
With less and less people utilizing traditional home phones, the expense of hiring live phone bank operators, and fewer people actually answering their phones, isn’t there a better way to contact interested voters and leave the remainder of us in peace? Yes there is, and it’s no surprise who is leading that charge.
Text messaging is more powerful than traditional campaign techniques
As Bernie Sanders campaign found, using text messaging to communicate to his supporters enabled him to grow voter’s interest organically and connect with those interested in his campaign. How is Bernie Sanders’ SMS campaign growing? By understanding his target demographics, and for those individuals, text messaging is more powerful and often read than traditional campaign techniques.
In one situation, the Sanders campaign invited 100,000 of his followers into virtual/online house parties from coast to coast, to increase engagement. To do so, he did not solicit email addresses or corral the attendees into a special Facebook groups. Instead, his digital organizing director, Claire Sandberg, asked each participant to send a quick text establishing contact with the campaign.
Text messages with high opt-in rate
According to Sandberg, within hours of their live streamed house party event, which drew more than 100,000 supporters nationwide, Bernie Sanders had received nearly 50,000 mobile phone numbers from supporter’s texting “WORK” to the short code 82623. That’s almost a 50% opt-in rate! That very high level of engagement is unmatched by digital ads, mailers, television, radio, or automated calls, in terms of success and continuing the conversation.
Of course, SMS has more political applications than just connecting supports. Everyone from Rand Paul to Hillary Clinton have used SMS to sign petitions, express support, raise money, and break news. Especially powerful, texting can be useful in reaching younger voters, those without deep political alliances established and traditionally are not the most engaged politically. As Vincent Harris, digital director for Rand Paul’s campaign has said, “A text is almost a sacred thing”.
Limits on the use of robocalls
If you want to stop the other candidates from bothering you read on: Political messaging to voters are at full measure during this 2016 campaign season and the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reminded each political campaign and calling services that there are “clear limits on the use of autodialed calls or texts (known as “robocalls”) and prerecorded voice calls. Since last year, June 2015 the FCC ruled in that telecommunications carriers such as Verizon or AT&T, do not have to connect robo calls to your phone if you, the consumer, doesn’t want them. So contact your wireless carrier and specifically ask to opt out of receiving robo calls.