Grassroots campaigns are much like social media campaigns. Or at least, they should be. Here’s a quick story.
Two people with clipboards are flanking the grocery store exit. I steel myself to avoid eye contact. One takes a half step toward me. “Do you believe in ….?”
Grr, shake, turning away. Wait: “What did you say?”
He repeats. It’s a political question. And Yes. I do believe. I stop.
Nice catch, bearded grassroots guy.
But after his spiel — which was not necessary, I already said Yes — he wants a credit card. And a daily ongoing forever donation of just pennies. Not a signature, like I’m expecting. Now I’m antsy to go. Come on, I have yogurt in my cart, and I’m not giving some guy in the parking lot my credit card and permission to charge it forever.
“Do you have a Web site?” I ask. This is a crazy world we live in when I’m more apt to donate to a machine than a person with green eyes. “I’ll donate there, and send all my friends, too.”
He sinks. “This is a grassroots effort,” he says. “Pledge today with me and your donation will go directly to San Diego efforts.”
Sigh. Clearly, he gets credit in person. But not online.
“A check works,” he suggests.
A check? That’s my only alternative? Who carries checks?
I memorize the Web site URL and promise to visit later. Which I do. And it turns out to have a simple and safe donation system set up and a strong social network. So the grassroots effort worked. They got one more person.
But why not hundreds of people from that one interaction? A big gap exists between their grassroots and social media campaigns. Working together, they could go really big.
Four Grassroots/Social Media Lessons to Go BIG
Here’s what I learned from my bearded grassroots guy interaction:
- Customize the Message. Know when to stop selling. I’m hooked and my yogurt is curdling. Jump to the action, mister.
- Guide Me to the Primary Desired Action, but Also Provide Alternatives. Everyone shops/pays differently. I was ready to walk away at the mention of a credit card, but willing to pay online and tell all my Facebook friends as well.
- Connect the Pieces of Your Campaign. Why couldn’t the grassroots guy get credit for sending people online? A code would do it. And why couldn’t I donate online specifically toward San Diego efforts? I might donate more if I know it’s local.
- Remind Me. Don’t count on me to remember you. Why not ask for my email addy on the spot, so you can remind me later to donate? Then you’re giving me another way to tell my friends. At the very least, provide a contact card so you seem legit and I’ll find you in my pocket later.
My final takeaway is a bit of a surprise to me — grassroots efforts are not dead. Hooray for true eye-to-eye social marketing.