Researchers have shown that two related factors can make a big difference in motivating people to vote: the sense that everyone's doing it, and social pressure. Online organizing offers opportunity to harness both of these with easy tactics. Here are a few suggestions:
- Emphasize turnout. Voters are more likely to show up when they hear turnout is high. So emphasize that in your online program. Talk about how many people are voting early if you have early vote. Leading up to E-Day, talk about the excitement your campaign is hearing at the doors. On Election Day, talk about high turnout in your area.
- Crowdsource for social pressure. The real goal online is to get supporters to spread your message, creating social pressure for their friends and networks. So ask people to participate. Invite your online community to share photos on your Facebook page, set up your Flickr to include photos from fans, and provide hashtags for Instagram and Twitter. Don't forget to retweet and share content from your community to reinforce the message!
- Make it easy. You can also ask for photos of specific things. Maybe it's pictures of "I voted" stickers, a filled-in ballot, or people with their friends after they vote. (Suggest a hashtag for each type of picture, and/or for your overall campaign!) When you get lots of people sharing similar pics, it helps build social pressure, gets people excited to participate, and helps your people feel like they're part of a larger community.
Got a tactic to help build turnout online? Share your best ideas in the comments!
Evan Sutton is Communications Director at NOI