What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 6, 2013

The Peduto Primary Win - How He Did It (The Social Media Edition)

By now we all know who won the recent primary in May.  As the P-G wrote:
With a convincing win for the Democratic nomination for mayor of Pittsburgh Tuesday, Bill Peduto...
And so on.

We must remember, of course, that the election hasn't happened yet.  There still is a Republican ticket with a Republican running on it: Josh Wander.  Though as he pointed out to Bob Mayo:
The Squirrel Hill resident admitted city Democrats' registration edge stacks the odds against him.

"My only chance of actually winning is the race is if the Democratic nominee drops dead, but then there's a possibility I'll still lose because there's a demographic of dead voters out there that still may vote him in," Wander joked.
Ha.  Funny.  A voter fraud joke.  Wow.  Cutting edge political humor.  Still not true, of course, but he's a republican so I guess he's constitutionally incapable of not telling it so I guess I'll let it pass.

Not a big deal.  Not like it's the end of civilization or anything.  Ha, I'm just joshing.

Back to the primary election.

Being a "social media" sort of guy, I was curious about how the Peduto campaign used it to connect with its supporters and how important he thought it was for his primary win.  We had an old-school "phone call" to discuss the topic. 

Learned a lit - it was very enlightening.

Hey, did you know that the Maria, the OPJ, was a very important player on Peduto's social media team?  Peduto said she was the campaign's "Social Media Consultant" and she worked the content while John Carman, of Avenue Design, was the tech guy.  If you have the time, you can watch this Podcamp video of "a very 101 session" (his words) on using Social Media.  The web based video was from Chris Ivey.  The whole PR team answered to Sonya Toler.

Necessary disclaimer:  Just as there were discussions on the campaign side about any possible conflicts of interest arising from having a prominent local blogger working for a prominent local politician, there were some similar discussions, if I recall correctly, here at this blog.  Maria's solution was to disclose on her blog posts, whenever and as often as she could, this (or something very close to it):
Disclaimer: Yes, I am a member of Peduto's cyber staff.
And whenever I (who had no connection to the campaign at all) wrote about Peduto or the race, Maria and I would have no communication about it whatsoever.  Full disclosure.

The first thing I learned was that the campaign's social media infrastructure is not something they threw together in a few weeks.  Peduto said his campaign website was set up in 2009 (though Reform Pittsburgh Now was put up just after he pulled out of the 2007 mayoral race) and it was initially updated each week but as the primary drew closer, the updates became more frequent - and this is where Maria did her work.  That's 4 years' momentum for the campaign.  By the time of the primary, the website was updated daily and 17,000 people received emails from the campaign every day as well.  Then there were those 100 policy papers posted one per day.  The email list was compiled over a long period of time (people stopping by the website or recommending friends and so on).

Peduto's tweets were his own, as was his facebook status updates, though a few staffers with "People for Peduto" were able to tweet on the campaign's behalf.

But that's the past.  What would the social media thumbprint look like in a Peduto administration?  He said we can expect more information being transmitted to the city more quickly via twitter and facebook and emails.  Info on street closings, street pavings, storm warnings.  It would be a far cry from what he said was the rather small amount of info being transmitted currently.

With the greater use of social media, we can probably expect a new position in the mayor's office: someone to coordinate all that information to the public.

The amount of up to date information available to the public (as well as the rate at which it was released) was something new (certainly for local politics) and if Peduto wins the election in November, we can expect to see the same sort of connectedness with the public as we saw in his primary campaign.

Coda: I had to ask the Peduto about this video:


Had he seen it?  Did it come from the campaign?  What did he think of it?

The answers (in order) are:
  • Yes 
  • No, it's from Megan Lindsey (she, of the local HOT DOG source Franktuary, and the local band Goodnight, States)
  • He loved it - says they're thinking of posting it as "the ad we never aired."
All in all I have to say that his campaign's use of social media was a lot of work, day in day out, accumulated over a long period of time - and obviously, it paid off.  Bill Peduto won the primary.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

As a social media manager myself, I kept thinking -- I gotta have a mayor that uses and understands SM/Twitter. It's such an important way of reaching some of your constituents. Oddly enough, [Almost] Mayor Peduto introduced me to iJustine many, many, many moons ago when he met with Barbara Luderowski of the Mattress Factory to talk about how communications were rapidly changing in our digital world. He gets it and he got my vote.