Leveraging the Social Networks on Political Campaign Websites

As we gear up for another election season, political candidates have an opportunity to leverage the social networks of their constituents to grow their supporter base and spread their campaign message.

Rob Alexander, a candidate for State Representative in Utah, is making the sign-up process simple by enabling supporters on his site to quickly register using their existing social network or email accounts from Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo!. Janrain Engage powers this functionality.

As political candidates strive to discover ways to engage online with constituents beyond mailing lists, Rob Alexander’s site provides a good template for how to build a vibrant online community in this space.  Once registered, members can create and maintain a personal profile on the site with their demographic information and profile photo pre-populated from a preferred social network.

Members can also participate in discussion board forums to debate issues relevant to the campaign, and create and vote in polls.

As the Obama campaign proved in 2008, investment in social media technologies can help proliferate a candidate’s message to the public and build loyalty among supporters. Candidates can create an online community that facilitates increased membership and engagement by leveraging the social network accounts of their supporters.