Sep 21

A multi-platform approach to constituent communications

With Election Day right around the corner, municipalities around the country are in the process of communicating voting information so constituents are well informed before casting their ballots on Nov. 3.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and more states utilizing no-reason absentee voting, there have been a lot of questions surrounding the voting process for the primary election. For this reason, it’s critical for municipalities to take a step back and determine which platforms can be most effective to educate voters.

By implementing a multi-platform communications strategy, you increase your message exposure while keeping content fresh and engaging. Using a combination of tools lets you reach voters who get their information from different preferred resources, such as social media, newsletters, videos, websites and more.

Following is a list of tips on how you can put together an effective, multi-platform constituent communications plan for the primary election – and beyond.

Develop your messaging

Similar to other communications plans, it’s important to develop a list of key messages that are most important to voters and can be adapted to a variety of platforms. Before creating your constituent communications plan, sit down with elections staff and create a Word document with your most frequently asked questions and key points you want voters to know. Make sure you cast a wide net while gathering your key messages – read comments on social media posts, track emails and calls to elections staff and archive questions asked by residents who stop by Township Hall.

Another great way to create key messages is to monitor content distributed by your state’s Secretary of State or Voting Information Center – these resources will give you an idea of what questions voters are asking outside your city or township. After all, if voters outside your community have specific questions, the odds are voters in your community have the same questions, too.

Choose your platforms

Once you’ve solidified your voting key messages, it’s time to decide how you’re going to communicate them. As I previously mentioned, it’s important to use multiple platforms to expand your reach and reinforce your messaging so it sticks in the minds of your voters.

Take a look at the platforms you use – or haven’t used – during previous elections. Dive into your website, social media, newsletters, signage and think about which platforms can work together to effectively reach the most voters.

For the Nov. 3 election, we are helping our friends at Cascade Township communicate their most-asked questions using a variety of platforms. At the end of the August election, Cascade election staff created a list of questions and answers that were turned into an FAQ video. Our constituent communication plan started with the video, but we added more platforms, including website and e-newsletter copy, along with social media graphics, so we could expand our voter reach. The more platforms utilized, the more times voters are exposed to the messages.

Make sure content is consistent

To avoid confusion and mixed messaging, make sure you are consistent across all platforms. As we look ahead to an Election Day that will be a bit different than what voters are used to, it’s critical to review each of your platforms to ensure an FAQ on your webpage matches what’s in your latest Facebook status.

Inconsistent information can lead to more questions than answers, meaning your election staff will have to spend more time on the phone or responding to emails with clarifications. Consistent messaging also eliminates incorrect information spreading from voter to voter.

Measure your success with every platform

Measuring the effectiveness of your constituent communications tactics is the key to determining your success and what needs to be improved before the next election.

The more platforms you add to your plan, the more data and metrics you will have to review and gain insights from. There are ways to measure every platform, from webpage visits and click-throughs to video plays and social media interaction; every piece of data provides ROI and information on how you can improve your next plan.

I hope these tips help you the next time you are creating a multi-platform constituent communications plan. Which platforms have you found to be the most successful in communicating voter information?

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