Case Study: Developing Rapid Online Activism for Political Candidates
Solving advocacy issues with digital tactics is common place around the Stoneridge office. Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn’s request: Get citizen activists to put pressure on the legislature to stop Obamacare expansion.
Background: Medicaid expansion was one of the most contentious issues during the Mississippi Legislative Session. The Senate Medicaid bill contained a pathway for expansion, but Speaker Gunn killed it in committee. With no agreement by the end of the Regular Session, the question was not if, but when a Special Session would be called.
Working closely with the Speaker’s staff, the Stoneridge Group implemented the following strategy to recruit new fans and convert them into activists during the Special Session.
1. Online ads:
We knew that an activist base contacting legislators was essential to uniting Republicans and pealing off Democratic support during the debate. Our first step was to recruit them into our network of friends. To do so, we created an online ad focused on the dangers of expansion.
2. Facebook Petition:
Data would be essential to identifying potential activists among our fan base. Once we gained a base of support, we launched an online petition to gain their email addresses. This would allow us to directly communicate with them during the special session, calling them to action. Further, we developed a series of posts promoting the issue and driving people to the online petition. This allowed our fan base to be informed and ready to be called upon.
3. “CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR!”
By the time the Governor called the Special Session, we spent nearly two months building the base of support. Now, we needed them to act. We emailed and posted on Facebook strong calls to action urging our base to call their representative. The Result? Representatives were overwhelmed with thousands of phone calls, at one point even shutting down the House’s phone lines because of the volume of callers. Medicaid expansion was defeated handily.