Update: The following is an article I wrote prior to the 2016 Presidential Elections. It discusses the state of social media momentum at that time based on each candidate. I think overall, my estimations were pretty relevant.
We are at a very critical time in history and the result of the upcoming US elections could have DRASTIC effects on both the future of our country and the world. The decisions in November could mean the difference between peace, security, economic prosperity or even, depending on the political climate of your particular country, life or death for you and your family. Things are that serious.
The time has come to ignore the cat pictures, the Oscars or whatever Kanye says and pay very close attention to the important topic at hand. It is time to take action and to take responsibility for your actions.
What I want to talk about here is a social strategy that will help your candidate win the election in 2016 and it’s very simple.
You do want them to win, right? Well, if so, keep reading.
Social Media is a Powerful Tool, But…
Social media is currently the primary driver for expressing, changing & manipulating public opinion on a global scale. What we do and say on social media has tremendous power and can directly effect how people share and develop opinions.
In this case, how it effects voting decisions.
The dark side of social media and politics is that what we say on social media is analyzed by government organizations, financial institutions, PR firms, corporations and most importantly, political parties to identify patterns of opportunity using software algorithms and analytics tools. Based on what they discover, they use either teams of people or automated software (bots) to manipulate social momentum on a mass level to promote their business or political agendas.
Despite the powerlessness we can feel by such a massive, corporate-political machine, social media still offers us a great advantage. What I am talking about here is the basic human interactions and opinions with which we can share between friends, family and social connections.
It’s the power of persuasion with people you have personal connections with and who trust your opinions.
Think, Before You Share!
I would encourage everyone to think very seriously about what you post on social media right now regarding politics and how it could potentially impact election results.
One simple post may not seem like much to you, but on a mass, collective level, it has a lot of power.
Unfortunately, WHAT you post, regardless of your intentions, also might have powerful reverse effects.
Conditioning, Conditioning, Conditioning!
Another factor which effects public opinion, especially in the media, is a process called Classical Conditioning, aka the old Pavlov’s Dog effect.
It begins with a simple process of repetition, where the brain begins rewiring itself to release certain chemicals based on a seeing or hearing repeated phrases, actions or stimulus. We see this in marketing with brands such as the red color of Coca Cola, aligning a perfume with sexual imagery, an annoying catchy melody in a terrible pop song, or in this case, political names and slogans.
Conditioning is a core tactic in hypnosis, brainwashing & propaganda, which over time, physically changes the brain chemistry so that it builds patterns of alignment & dependency to whatever has been repeated, even if the subject of the repetition is negative.
It is the first step in building an addiction.
In regards to politics, simply by repeating a candidate’s name, political slogan or sharing a MEME, even if it is negative and you oppose them, causes a conditioned response that gives leverage to that candidate
Sometimes negative MEMEs are even intentionally created to generate exposure to a brand because just by repeatedly seeing a name or image, creates subconscious patterns in people’s brains in connection with that brand or candidate.
The reason is that even a strong connection to a repeated “negative” creates a stronger bond than a non repeated “positive.” The result is that the brain becomes more comfortable by the chemicals it creates by being surrounded by the negative than the confusing, discomfort it feels when faced with the unfamiliar positive.
These patterns of alignment create herd mentality, which then becomes a social norm, which leads to people accepting, or at least living with the idea of a candidate that they don’t support.
We are literally building and spreading a chemical addiction to them on a mass scale, even if we hate them.
Here’s a simple example of how much conditioning is happening per candidate as of the time of this post. Despite political opinion, the numbers make it pretty clear who is in the lead, just by sheer volume.
Not happy with those results? Then you have to change the momentum. Here’s how:
The point here is to understand what is happening and don’t fall for the oldest trick in the book. Resist the urge to participate in the addictive skinner box mentality of sharing every little political “ha ha” moment on social media. Use it as an advantage, not as a virus, not as your controller.
Here’s how to apply this to social media and politics:
- If you want your candidate to win, then don’t contribute to building patterns of momentum for the opposition.
- Stop posting the names of the opposition and reposting their negative material. Let people know the name of the winner.
- Build strong patterns by focussing only on who you want to win and only post positive info on them.
- Fear is a stronger motivator than pleasure. (Sucks but it’s true.) Don’t focus on how bad the opposition is. Instead focus on the benefits of how your candidate will protect from the bad.
- Create your own posts, MEMEs and hashtags and share them instead of reposting others. If you don’t do it, the bots will and they sometimes have an alternative agenda.
- Follow your candidate. Unfollow the opposition. Post about them often. Numbers count.
- Use every social platform at your disposal. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, pinterest, forums, chats and messengers, dating sites, etc. Any place where you can potentially reach a lot of people. If it is on a personal and emotional level, even better.
- Make #hastags that promote your candidate, not the opposition.
- Spread your message globally. Some countries dont use or have access to the same social platforms we use in the west. China uses WeChat and Weibo for everything. In Japan, Line is popular. Global opinions matter.
Don’t contribute to the problem, contribute to the solution. Generate positive patterns that build strong chemical bonds which align to your chosen candidate. In a world where we feel powerless to determine world affairs, we still hold the power of our connections and our ability to influence them.
Thats how you win with technology and thats how you win elections.
Retweet this Post
If you like this post, then please share it or retweet it using the hashtag #howtowin2016
Let’s see what happens and best of luck in the elections.
I did a little experiment yesterday using some strategically targeted hashtags to promote my art on Instagram.
How did it work out? Lets just say the results were instant and dramatic.
BTW, If you are not using Instagram yet to promote your art, you should jump on it! As you will see below, including some strategic #hashtags to your Instagram posts is where the real promotional power is at.
Normally, I would just add two or three hashtags as an afterthought just to get the images positioned and seen. Since my work is primarily pin-up, I would use: #pinup #pinupart #vintage & #retro but would normally stop there. Just by doing so, I would get a couple likes and followers. First, a few immediately, then one or two a week as the exposure trailed off. Nothing spectacular, but they worked ok.
After reading a post over on Art Marketing Resources, I decided to take their advice on using some popular artist related hashtags and put them to the test.
Obviously, you can add whatever hashtags you want, however, the ones that primarily interested me were hashtags related to lists where art buyers might be regularly and casually browsing. In particular, hashtags that are related to buyers who might be looking for ideas for decorating their homes, and more importantly might be inspired to see and purchase art prints.
This was the real “AH HA!” moment.
The strategy behind this is targeting hashtags based on where the BUYERS are, not just the artists or fans. My feeling on this is also that you want to use hashtags for lists where people really do want to browse for inspiration, not just random related hashtags that people add to posts to be funny.
Interesting Hashtags for Art Buyers:
Here are some of the hashtags I used:
#homedecor #interiordesign #architecture #realestate #decorating #fashion #officedecor #style #auction #investment
I also added a few of the more popular general hashtags that were related to pinup art. These are also topics where I am sure people browse on a regular basis:
#girls #babes #love #hotties #redheads #lingerie #rockabilly
Within a 24 hour period of adding these, I received 92 likes, 7 new followers and 2 mailing list signups. This was all done by updating old art posts with more hashtags. As I type this 2 days later, my Instagram notifications are still going off.
You can experiment by either adding all hashtags at once for the “big bang” effect, or try adding a couple each week to stretch out the duration. Not sure yet which approach is best but, so far, the second option seems to be working well. It also makes it more manageable to keep posts visible during peak Instagram usage times. (Still researching and experimenting with what the peak usage times actually are)
I’m going to continue to experiment and I’ll be sure to post more results as they happen.
Do you have any favorite power hashtags? If so, feel free to share.
Oh yeah, while you’re at it, be sure to Follow Me on Instagram! I’ll totally follow you back.
Writers, authors and publishers have been influencing technology and culture since the written word was invented. I am constantly reminded of this every day on my commute to work, when my train crosses over the river and passes thought Mainz Germany, which is the birthplace of Johannes Gutenberg, the father of the movable type printing press.
This invention was one of the key catalysts for starting the Renaissance and the scientific revolution. It’s creation occurred over 500 years ago, and yet I am shocked and amazed when I think of all of the revolutionary events that have occurred because of it, just in the span of my lifetime.
In the past few years we have experienced a new renaissance of sorts, in the growth of ebooks, ebook sales, ereader devices and the self publishing industry.
It is now possible for an author to write, self publish and sell their own books online, literally from a mobile device and are able to make a decent living from it. Some are making millions from it.
The Good News
The good news is, that no longer are we restricted to having to rely entirely on a publishing company as a gatekeeper to successfully promote and sell our books.
We have reached a point where the same promotional, printing, sales and distribution capabilities, once only available to major publishing companies are becoming available to everyone. These tools are free and easily accessible online, which is also, I might add, where the readers are browsing and doing a majority of their shopping.
The Bad News
The bad news is just that. The old ways of browsing for new books in the book stores are rapidly disappearing as major brick and mortar stores are losing out to digital and going out of business. Ebooks are now outselling print books (according to Amazon) and as a result, the majority of the promotional focus is now done online.
The new prime time is no longer sitting around the TV at night with the family or reading the newspaper. It is now online, on the mobile devices, on your Facebook wall, in the blogs and in the apps. If you want to market a product successfully, these new mediums are where you now have to target.
To add to this growing pressure to adapt to all of these changes, consider this:
According to a recent article on Smashing Magazine:
“…if you recorded all human communication from the dawn of time to 2003, it’d take up about 5 billion gigabytes of storage space. Now we’re creating that much data every two days.”
What this means is we are in the middle of an exponential growth curve of garbage content production. People are writing and publishing in droves and without publishers and editors to filter it, “most” of it is pretty bad. Without the help of contextual platforms such as Google, Apple’s Siri, Facebook, and other upcoming services that help to push you relevant information based on your interests, it will soon become impossible to separate the cream from the crap.
As a result, people will continue to rely on these filters to insure that they are receiving relevant content and the ability of authors and writers to stay on the good side of these filters, will require considerable focus on tech and networking.
Welcome To The World of The New Digital Author
Because of all of these changes and challenges, authors are now facing the paradox of both the incredible freedom to control their financial destinies, but also the pressure to adapt, learn and add a whole new mandatory layer of tech, marketing and promotional skills to their toolbox.
It is no longer just a matter of being a good writer these days. In order to stay competitive and earn a decent living as a writer, artist, musician, or any other type of creative profession for that matter, you have to start thinking strategically and you have to think digitally.
Unless you polish your online marketing skills and learn how to compete strategically by making your quality writing, books and products stand out from the masses and index in these new contextual search engines, you will be buried.
Selling digital content is a whole new ballgame. (Just ask the musicians and porn producers!) It requires a digital marketing strategy, an author platform, a mechanism for traffic, discovery, research, lead capture, sales, communication and networking and as a result, an overarching understanding of all the complexities involved. Now, more so than ever, because of the highly competitive ebook prices, it also requires a major focus on the backend strategy and the upsell.
The reality is, if you want to make a living as a writer, you now need a hybrid of BOTH mad writing skills AND ninja digital marketing skills. It is not just a luxury anymore. It is a necessity.
Should you be blogging, using social media, building a platform, and digitizing your work? The answer is YES to all of it. It has been for some time now. It is a moot point.
Sure this is a lot to learn, and I definitely suggest moderation, but just get started. Learn something. Take action and do it NOW!
To summarize, there are a ton of new opportunities for authors for selling and promoting their work, however the down side is that people are jumping on the bandwagon in droves. If you want to stay competitive you need digital marketing skills and you need to start developing them now.
Let me say before I close that I can’t predict the future. In many ways I feel we are reaching a critical mass. I have fears for authors, both published and self published in regards to their means of rising above the noise and growing and maintaining a large enough fan base to be able to make a decent living selling their work.
On one hand, I am full of doom and gloom for the industry. On another hand, part of me is screaming RELAX! Just write good stuff and people will follow.
I think it is a little of both. We need to put continued focus on writing great stuff, however we also need to have the skills to stay in the game or else things will be getting very difficult for authors very quickly.
What are your thoughts on the future of publishing? Do you have a digital strategy? If so, I would love to hear about it.
I like to collect things.
Throughout my entire life, I have always had some sort of collection going. It started with comic books and Matchbox cars, then model rockets, then tropical fish, then action figures, then guitars, then mexican art, then books, then Harley Davidson t-shirts, the list goes on and on.
You see, much like squirrels instinctively hoard nuts and berries for the winter, humans have these instinctive, primal urges hard coded into our brains too. With us, however, it is a little more complex.
With the advent of 24 hour grocery stores and electricity, somewhere down the line, we stopped NEEDING to hunt and gather to survive, or collect pelts or the skulls of our enemies. (more…)