Groups, Pages and Politicians – marketing the DA on Facebook

I’ve been playing around with the new developments in Facebook (you can read about them here). I set up a ‘Democratic Alliance’ page. First problem with Facebook (clearly due to the US focus on the personality rather than the party): ‘Political Party’ isn’t an option in the organisation types when you create your page. I had to select ‘Non-profit’ as the closest description…

I’ve also created a Facebook Flyer for the page – just as a pilot at the moment. I set the the bid price at $0.01 cost-per-click, and a limit of $5.00 per day (I’m using my own credit card to play around with it initially). The ad ‘campaign’ (Facebook offering its advertisers delusions of grandeur?) has only been running for a little over 24 hours, but my concerns about being out of pocket were maybe a little misguided (optimistic?). I’ve only had 165 impressions so far, and no click-throughs, so it hasn’t cost me a cent yet. Having read Eric Edelstein’s blog on this topic last week, I should hardly be surprised.

I stuck with a pretty narrow target group – South Africans who listed ‘Politics’ as an interest – comprising 1900 people. (Considering there are well over 2000 members of the ‘Vote Helen Zille for President’ group, my target market should probably be a bit broader than that. Come to think of it, it would be pretty useful if I target people on the basis of the groups they were members of, rather than just the interests they select.

Which brings me to another point. How many groups do you belong to, and how many do you ever visit again after joining? Are you joining a community, or are you just providing your friends with a list of things that pique(d) your interest. For my part, I’ve joined a few just because I liked the sentiment in the name (e.g. Vodacom Meerkat, Crocs), rather than because I wanted to participate in those communities.

The one problem with Groups on Facebook is that, unless the administrators make an effort to communicate with the members of the group (only possible for groups up to 1000 members, I think, so not possible if you’re successful in your marketing), you have to go and visit the group page to get news updates. The great advantage of the Page is that, if you add the shop/politician/non-profit/etc., you can get updates in your newsfeed or in your inbox. And let’s face it, most people don’t go beyond their homepage, status updates and inbox very often.

Another interesting thing about Groups, is that everyone can start their own. Do a search on ‘Democratic Alliance’ or ‘Helen Zille’ and you get a number of Groups (not all related to the DA). Some are sub-groups (e.g. DA Youth or DA Student Organisation), but some are just replicates. One person even created a new group – ‘Vote DA for Real Change’ – and then advertised it on the Wall of the ‘Vote Helen Zille’ group. There’s bound to be a bit of Group-fatigue. Why belong to more than one group that serves the same purpose?

It all makes for an interesting challenge for communicating with our supporters on Facebook.

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4 Responses to “Groups, Pages and Politicians – marketing the DA on Facebook”


  1. 1 ahazell 15 November 2007 at 2:27 pm

    An interesting follow-up: by setting my bid at the minimum (1 US cent), I got 165 impressions in the first 24 hours, but none since. I’ve doubled my bid to see if that makes a difference.

  2. 2 Eric Edelstein 15 November 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Heya – take a look at my new posting on what happened with my google PPC campaign. Most of the Internet Marketing is about test, test, test until you get it right…but some of the time it is just pure luck!

    Good luck with your Facebook (and other internet marketing) efforts – just keep testing till you get it right…(although unfortunately sometimes you have to spend (burn) money to get results / make money).

  3. 3 Dave Duarte 27 November 2007 at 6:48 pm

    I’m a little cautious about expressing my political preferences publically, I still think my vote is private because in that way I’m less subject to coercion. But a Facebook page for DA fans is a good way to get in touch with the people that aren’t afraid to voice their support for you.

    Has Helen Zille joined the group?

  4. 4 ahazell 28 November 2007 at 9:45 am

    I guess becoming a ‘fan’ on Facebook is nailing one’s colours to the mast to quite a great extent. I wont hold it against you if you add another political party when they join Facebook 🙂

    Helen isn’t on Facebook herself yet, but watch this space. She’s getting a new chief-of-staff in 08, and I’ll be meeting him in January to get a few things going in the new year.


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