It???s time for Romney to wage smart social media warfare

With 71 days until Election Day, Mitt Romney and the Republicans need to spend every waking hour reviewing the success of their current campaign marketing strategy to understand what???s working and what???s not.

As someone who has been monitoring this effort for the last six months, all of the data validates that Team Obama is crushing Romney and the Republicans within the interactive/social media arena.  We have a choice at this juncture: either raise the white flag and surrender this incredibly important communications channel to the president OR wage social media warfare in the next 11-plus weeks.

As for me, there is no choice. This election is too important to our country and our children for any of us to give up. It???s time to wage a smart battle for the White House.

1. GOP, tea party must collaborate in social media

In order to get this done, Republicans are going to need the immediate and unwavering support of leaders in the GOP and tea party. We need to call an emergency session of all those who truly committed to defeating Barack Obama. Every hour of every day is important.  If we all park our collective self interests and egos at the door for the next 70 days, we can harness the immense power of the aggregate universe of Republican voices in our country and defeat this president and put our country back on the right track.

We will not win the White House by conducting a knock down, drag out fistfight in battleground states with competing 30 television second spots. We must wage a strategy that is focused, targeted and hyper relevant from the perspective of voters in the swing states that will make or break this election.  The war can be won within the Internet and social media arena. I continue to see flaws in both parties??? efforts  online that  lead me to believe that a concerted effort against these gaps will give us a margin of victory in November.

Let???s look at the potential in harnessing the power that a consortium of top-ranking Republicans have within this massive community of interested voters.

When we combine the Facebook Likes of Rep. Ron Paul,  former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty,  former vice presidential pick Sarah Palin, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Michele Bachmann,  Texas Gov. Rick Perry,  talk show host Mike Huckabee and the Republican National Committee, the social media reach is an astounding  8.5 million voters.  This is an incredible power base to launch a concerted attack on the Obama campaign.

2. GOP needs uniform messaging strategy

Marco Rubio is the only leader in this group that has done anything creative and significant to support Mitt Romney on his page.  Sarah Palin has a long letter that congratulates Mitt on the selection of Paul Ryan, but most of the copy is buried beneath a ???more??? link that most visitors won???t click.

We need the Republican Party to be united from a messaging standpoint. It???s simply not enough to do the stump speeches and interview shows and think that you are supporting the candidate. The party must execute a uniform messaging strategy and then convert all content on GOP websites and Social Media venues to a consistent and orchestrated drumbeat.  The message: I believe in Mitt Romney, I believe in his vision. I want you our loyal followers to understand the key differences between Romney and Obama. I want your help spreading the word to all you know about Mitt Romney. On Election Day, I want you to vote for Mitt Romney.

Most disheartening and disturbing: Right now, there is no such messaging anywhere on GOP sites.

3. Massive and targeted online media campaign to supportive constituencies

We need a massive and targeted online media campaign that focuses on key voter segments by their affinity to social demographics.

Here???s just one example. If we combine the reach of the Fox News, NASCAR, Country Music and Las Vegas social media venues, the visitor reach is more than 15 million potential voters for Mitt Romney.

As I write this, there is absolutely no messaging from the Republicans and/or Mitt Romney anywhere on any of these sites. 

What are we waiting for? Each of these sites has a robust collection of email newsletters that reaches their audience with varying levels of frequency. Readers subscribe to these newsletters because they have a high interest in related content.  Mitt Romney and the GOP need to buy ad space in each and every newsletter in each of these categories as soon as possible and tell our story effectively.  Run ads in every issue between now and Election Day. I can assure you that Mitt and the GOP have the cash to afford it.  Right now on the Fox News site the insurance company Amica is running home page advertising.  Crazy. Buy roadblock ad units on all of these highly visited websites tomorrow.

What about the relationship between country music and the GOP?  These folks have always been great supporters of the party. Let???s make sure that we do all we can to reach them and tap into the collective power that they can provide in swing states this election.

If we combine the fan base of Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Hank Williams, Jr. and Charlie Daniels we can reach of 24,827,394 potential voters! Each of these artists has a fan page. Each of these artists has an email list. Tonight there is absolutely NO advertising from the GOP or Mitt Romney on any of these pages in any substantive manner.  Are we that dang sure that we have this group locked in that we aren???t going to message to them during crunch time in this election cycle?

4. Hitting the battleground states via email

The Swing States that will determine the White House winner on November 6th are Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia. I am sure that both candidates are stocking their warchest with major cash for an assault on these states post their party???s convention.

Local and National TV stations are salivating about the P&L impact that all this spending will have on their year.  Would it surprise you to know that across 10 states, there are more than 14,563,972 opt-in, permission-based email addresses of voters available for rent at approximately $30 per thousand.  If the Romney camp began mailing this list of swing state voters on a daily basis for the next 70 days, they would spend about $35 million of their budget. A very small price to pay for the intense level of targeting and relevancy to the campaign.

While I don???t believe that sending an email every day to nearly 15 million swing state voters makes sense, there is no doubt that we need to change the game in these states and should be open to doing all that we can to take leverage email marketing in these states.

5. Ditch the boring email template

While we are at it, get rid of the agency that designed that ???one size fits all??? email template that the campaign is using. It???s boring, dated and has become like wall paper. We need a creative team that understands how to do kick-ass creative that gets readers to open and engage with content.  Sending email without a focus on message and engagement is a total waste of money. Kinda like buying commercial time on TV stations and not knowing whether anyone is watching them.

In this battle that we fight, now is not the time to look in the rear view mirror and lament on the missed opportunities of the past. Paul Ryan has shown that he can instill a new spark into the campaign and our potential to win back the White House. Neither he nor Mitt Romney can do this alone. Each Republican leader, Each Republican must do their part to wage war effectively to create the comeback that we all desire. We need our elected officials to truly work together with a consistent message, focus and purpose.  For the next 80 days, there is no greater mission than the election of Mitt Romney. It???s time that everyone stood up and be counted on their commitment to that cause.