About Trevor Montgomery

Trevor Montgomery founded Watch Street Consulting in 2009 to empower political campaigns, advocacy groups, and professional associations with beautiful website design, powerful technology, and grassroots strategy. Learn more about Trevor at trevormontgomery.com

FACEBOOK USERS ARE MORE POLITICALLY ACTIVE PEW SAYS


A study released yesterday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds Facebook users are far more likely to be politically engaged:

Our survey was conducted over the November 2010 elections. At that time, 10% of Americans reported that they had attended a political rally, 23% reported that they had tried to convince someone to vote for a specific candidate, and 66% reported that they had or intended to vote. Internet users in general were over twice as likely to attend a political meeting, 78% more likely to try and influence someone’s vote, and 53% more likely to have voted or intended to vote. Compared with other internet users, and users of other SNS platforms, a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day was an additional two and half times more likely to attend a political rally or meeting, 57% more likely to persuade someone on their vote, and an additional 43% more likely to have said they would vote.

From techpresident.com

DOWN HOME DIGITIAL – MOBILE CAMPAIGNING: MAKING IT ON THE MINIATURE SCREEN


by Steve Pearson and Ford O’Connell for Campaigns and Elections magazine.

No matter how big or small your campaign, you need to be thinking about the size of the screen your constituents use to interface with your materials. What was once a race to make things bigger and flashier has shifted to what works best on the mobile devices that people carry around in their pockets and purses. At the same time, mobile campaigning has gone far beyond short text messages to encompass rich interactive media. Here are some tips if you want to put your buzz in voters’ hands.

Our first advice is to take a close look at your website. A display that is eye catching on a computer may be slow (or even invisible) on many mobile devices. (A word to the wise: If your campaign site still sports spinning buttons, potential voters will most likely find themselves spinning their wheels when they visit via smartphone.) Likewise, a website filled with tiny links or drop-down menus is difficult to navigate on a small touchscreen unless you have fingers like toothpicks. Your best bet is to find a developer who understands the need to test your website on the most common devices. It’s no longer enough to get it working in Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome; now you need to make sure it also performs on the iPhone, the BlackBerry, the multiple versions of Android, as well as numerous other mobile platforms.

Your e-mail needs to be crafted with mobile devices in mind as well. As tempting as it may be to include large graphics and lengthy text, consider how these will show up on the small screen. If your messages require readers to thumb through screen after screen, they may end up giving you a thumbs down. Likewise, the links you embed in your emails need to connect with pages that fit on mobile devices. Imagine how disappointing it is for a BlackBerry user to click on a link and land on a page that is unreadable.

Both Facebook and Twitter are aiming squarely at the mobile audience, and you can take advantage of the applications they offer to share your campaign activities in real time with your supporters. You can take pictures, post them on your Facebook page, and update your Twitter stream all before your candidate leaves the podium. If you toss the camera and memory card in your trunk and wait until you get home to upload, you are like the proverbial coyote outraced by the roadrunner. Just be sure to double-check before you hit send—it’s easy to hit the wrong keys on a small device and mistype (or misdirect) your message.

On the cutting edge of the technology, Foursquare and similar location-based check-in services offer intriguing opportunities to encourage supporters to mobilize in a specific location (and to demonstrate the size of their collective action). If you have a specific plan, and more importantly, a specific person who is willing to shepherd a check-in project, your campaign might generate some publicity based on novelty alone. If you’re a smaller campaign and busy with other things, you may want to hold off on this aspect of mobile technology for now.

As we go forward, expect to see campaigns and party organizations investing in custom applications for mobile devices. Games, volunteer coordination, loyalty programs, and information apps will all be put to the test in political campaigns over the next year. For now, the development cost of custom applications puts them out of range for all but the largest and best-funded campaigns. Off-the-shelf applications, particularly those that focus on voter identification and GOTV support, make more sense for today’s small and mid-size campaigns. The key is to devote the staff time to integrate these applications into your campaign plan so there is a real payoff, rather than just throwing a bunch of technology at volunteers and hoping it will magically produce results.

Text messaging may have been the original mobile app, but the richness of the Web, social media, e-mail, and mobile apps make a simple text look like the dots and dashes of a telegraph message. Still, you shouldn’t write it off completely. Sending out carefully targeted text messages to your core volunteers and supporters can be a very effective mobilization tool. After all, nothing says urgent like the buzz of a mobile device in your pocket or purse.

Steve Pearson is the president of CivicNEXT (www.civicnext.com), a provider of practical online communications and social networking solutions for campaigns and organizations. Ford O’Connell, a C&E2010 Rising Star, is the founder of ProjectVirginia.com, winner of the 2010 Reed Award for Best Use of Twitter.

MEDILL REPORTS: FACEBOOK, TWITTER REIGN SUPREME IN POLITICS, BUT WATCH OUT FOR THE IPAD

Watch Street Consulting was recently mentioned in an article about the use of technology on campaigns. An excerpt from the story is below. You can read the full story here.

Challenge: Breaking out of the crowd

But with everyone on the social media bandwagon, it will be more difficult for candidates to stand out, experts say.

“This will be a year where it’s not enough to just have these things, campaigns need to be using them strategically,” said Trevor Montgomery, founder and president of Watch Street Consulting in Chicago.

Effective campaigns will place more emphasis on mobile peer-to-peer communication models, Montgomery said. These models encourage “third party validation” in which voters share their political preferences with other voters.

“Communication is more valuable when it’s coming from someone you know and trust,” Montgomery said. “I think all candidates will be able to use third party validation on a much larger scale with Facebook, text messaging and mobile apps.”

Other trends experts expect to see in 2012 will include text message donations, more Facebook town halls, and an influx of live streaming video debates.

“In 2012 I think we will see a major presidential debate on Facebook,” Trice said.

Trice also predicts the emergence of more specialized social media jobs in campaigns. For example, there will be designated positions for Tweeters, Flickr picture takers and YouTube videographers.

But no matter how much content candidates produce, they will always be competing with third parties for attention.

“You can’t control user generated content that goes viral,” Trice said. “That’s just the nature of the Internet. Campaigns can’t be afraid of it – they should just embrace it.”

FIVE STEPS TO HITTING A HOMERUN ON FACEBOOK

Reaching people where they are is a cardinal marketing principal. Facebook has over 500 million users and those users are logged in for over 700 billion minutes each month. That means roughly one in six people on earth are on facebook and most of them are spending a tremendous amount of time on the site. Facebook has revolutionized the way individuals communicate, and it is a central meeting place for the world.

So how can you effectively use Facebook?

Facebook recently launched a new streaming channel called Facebook Live. One recent video was particularly helpful for facebook marketers, it is called “Five Steps to Hitting a Home Run on Facebook”. The five practical steps are discussed amongst a facebook expert and two professionals who have used facebook to benefit their businesses.

The Five Steps to Hitting a Home Run on Facebook are:

1) Targeting Your Message

2) Investing in Killer Content

3) Being Authentic

4) Not Doing it Alone

5) Having Fun and Learning

Watch the Full Video Below:

Watch live streaming video from facebookeducation at livestream.com

THREE SIMPLE WAYS TO REACH YOUR CONSTITUENTS ONLINE

When the Chicago City Council is sworn in on May 16th, there will be a total of 18 Alderman starting their first day or their first full term. In light of this massive turnover and yesterday’s election, in which several incumbents lost and a few others held on by the skin of their teeth, it is important for elected officials to address two issues voters all over Chicago (and the country) are talking about – constituent services and transparency.

Voters want to be able to access their elected officials, they want their concerns to be heard, and they want to know what their elected officials are doing. The demands are very straight forward but some elected officials just don’t get it. They’re neglecting the simplest (and most affordable) way of appeasing these demands – through the internet!

Below are three simple, web-based steps elected officials can take to serve their constituents and keep their offices transparent:

Start a Service Website – The website your neighbor built you isn’t going to cut it, you need a service website that is worthy of being your constituents first stop. They need to be able to file service requests, learn about government services, find answers to common questions, read your news updates, find community events, and read about your initiatives at a bare minimum. There’s also a lot more you can do, like using an Instant Message client on your website to save constituents a trip to your office and allow your staff to handle simple requests faster.

Send Regular eNewsletters – What is the easiest way to be transparent? Tell your constituents what you’re doing on a regular basis. You’ll also save time, and a tremendous amount of money, by communicating via email. Building an email list is easier than you think. You can get started by collecting email addresses when people visit your office, using sign-in sheets at community events, and by pulling emails off of that giant stack of business cards you have.

Keep Your Social Networks Active – Facebook has over 500 million users and it is growing every day, there is a good chance that a lot of your constituents are using it. So why not engage them where they are? However, it’s not good enough to start a facebook page and never use it again. People are communicating and getting their news from facebook, keep them updated. It’s also possible to create a custom page so your constituents can fill out service requests, sign up for you email list, and read custom content on facebook.

I hope this helps. If you’d like more information, feel free to contact us.

ELECTION UPDATE FROM WATCH STREET CONSULTING

I am happy to report that the last few months have been filled success for Watch Street Consulting and, even though we just wrapped up the General Election, we are ready to head full-steam into the municipal cycle.

The Municipal Election represent a great opportunity for local campaigns to take advantage of new media strategy. Using new media as a part of your earned and paid media plan is extreme advantageous no matter what the size of your campaign.

Advertising online is extremely affordable and you can target people by district, age, sex and interests. New media allows you to reach voters without paying for those who ignore your ad. And, the people you engage can go on to instantly find more info, volunteer or even donate which is impossible with other forms of media.

Take a look at this article from stltoday.com that highlights how new media played an unprecedented role in Roy Blunt’s victory in the Missouri Senate race.

After you’ve finished reading, please take a look at a few of our highlighted projects from the past cycle. If you have questions or if you are interested in working with us in the Municipal Election cycle, feel free to give me a call of shoot me an email.

Sincerely,

Trevor Montgomery, President
Watch Street Consulting
Cell: (773) 510-0540
Email: Trevor@watchstreetconsulting.com

WSC FOUNDER FEATURED IN NEW CLEAN ENERGY AD

Trevor Montgomery, the founder of Watch Street Consulting, was recently featured in a new ad by the Vote Vets Political Action Committee. The ad supports a National Clean Energy Bill and criticizes Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk (R) for being against a bi-partisan Clean Energy Bill.

POLITICAL WEBSITE DESIGN SUCCESS STORIES

Watch Street Consulting, a full-service website design and new media firm, is wrapping up a successful political website design season heading into the February Primary Election. Prominent clients in the Democratic primary included Terry Link for Lt. Governor, Sharon Dixon for Congress, State Rep. Toni Berrios, Commissioner Edwin Reyes, Alderman Manny Flores, and a wide range of other campaigns.

By |December 20th, 2009|From Our Blog | Watch Street Consulting|0 Comments

WATCH STREET CONSULTING LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

Watch Street Consulting, a full-service website design and new media firm, recently launched a new corporate website. The website highlights the services provided by Watch Street including Website Design, Political Website Design, Non-Profit Website Design, New Media Management, Content Management, Online Fundraising, and Partnerships.

By |December 20th, 2009|From Our Blog | Watch Street Consulting|0 Comments