With a great deal of fanfare the GOP last week debuted the central component of their social media strategy in the form of the GOP Victory Center Facebook App. It was my sincere hope after months of providing reporting on the crushing blow that Barack Obama and his team have dealt to Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP in the realm of social media that the launch of this strategy would be a light in a very dark tunnel.
Sadly, such is not the case. If the goal of the social media application was to stimulate interest and engagement in the Mitt Romney candidacy and the GOP from independents and the undecided in our country, this attempt was a mighty swing and a miss.
I do think that it is a tad presumptuous and a bit arrogant to brand the application as a “Victory Center.” Only those in a deep sense of denial believe that the GOP and Mitt Romney are closing in on a victory in November. From all of the real data that we have been monitoring over the past six months, the opposite is true.
President Obama’s powerful social media position
It is President Barack Obama who will deal a crushing blow to the Republicans again by leveraging the incredibly powerful position that he currently maintains within the social web. Perhaps if we had branded such an application as the “GOP Bunker” we would have been taken a bit more seriously.
A careful review of the elements of the application really demonstrate the lack of firepower we have on the Republican side. It seems that the GOP wants to make sure that all of us never forget that a primary focus of all communications is that “DONATE” button. Most of the GOP interactive campaigns I have seen in recent months are purely two-dimensional: Slam Obama and Donate to the GOP. The Victory Center provides visitors with “news” articles, local events, volunteer opportunities and discussion groups.
The biggest problem here is that most of these “sections” are not anywhere near fully stocked with any meaningful or compelling content. The goal of the application was to provide the visitor with an arsenal of tools that could build community and support for the suite of GOP candidates. It seems to me that there must have been some heavy pressure to answer the critics of the GOP social media strategy and thus this is the product of a hasty response. This is a Victory Center that was launched before its time.
Needs “hook” for people to visit the site
Effective social media applications are just one component of an integrated digital strategy. What we have here is an application in need of purpose. Maybe it’s just me, but I always thought that the way in which the GOP would win the White House is by convincing those who have not “bought in” to our candidate to move to our side of the pool. The only message that is clear in the GOP Victory Center is that President Obama needs to go. There is no content or hook resident in the application that provides the large community of independent and undecided voters (that many believe will determine the outcome of the election) any impetus to visit this application. It seems that the Victory Center has been built to providing a hitching post for all of the “converted” Republicans to find a sketchy assembly of information. One would think in analyzing the application that the GOP is worried about the consistency and direction of party regulars in this year’s election.
Like it or not, there is always great transparency around the effectiveness of interactive tactics and strategies. A closer look at the “likes” attached to app content and the Victory Center in week one clearly indicates that visitors are underwhelmed. I have this sneaking suspicion that the folks over at the GOP think that now that the Victory Center is up and running they can leave it alone and let the market drive the content , engagement and excitement. For marketers who have built and optimized their social media strategy in recent years, there is a great acknowledgement that in order to create a strong community; relevant, compelling and engaging content needs to be updated in real time. It would be great to know who is going to be stirring the pot for this site.
Links needed from key GOP sites to Victory Center
It is also troubling to me that a review of the sites of Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, Marco Rubio and all of the other heavily trafficked Republican sites shows no “direct link” to the GOP Victory Center.
One would think that if a key component of the success of the Center at a minimum was to assemble this mega community of the converted , the No. 1 element of such a strategy would have been to have markers , buttons, links on every Republican site in the marketplace driving “their” traffic to the central GOP Victory Center. This is such a basic Social Media 101 element of an effective traffic and community building effort on the web. Could it be that folks like Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum etc. haven’t bought into the merits of this strategy? The effort looks totally disjointed.
GOP Social Media Summit needed
In my most recent posts, I have stressed the urgent need for a Republican strategy summit meeting. A work session where al l the teams from all of the major power players on the GOP side come together and craft an integrated strategy that leverages the aggregate power resident in that assembly. It’s time that the leadership in the GOP parked their egos and worked together to bring real interactive professionals into this campaign. As someone who has spent my career in marketing, I cannot believe the freshman mistakes that are being made on a daily basis here. We should know better…and some of us do know better.
I can assure you that nothing that has been done as yet online; including the launch of Victory Center has triggered any alarm within the Chicago Bunker.