Rob Willington presents at the Manning Centre conference

Rob Willington is the brains behind the campaign that got the GOP’s 41st Senate vote in the Massachusetts special Senate election.

He gave a lunch time presentation on social media and how the MA republicans used online technologies to elect Scott Brown to the senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy, a Democrat.

On Facebook, Brown advised that politicians should engage potential voters not just with political content but with non-political content as well.

With YouTube, Willington advised to use YouTube as a publisher as a search engine. This means to promote relevant keywords and content.

Twitter was used as an example to use every facet of a social media strategy to promote means by which a campaign can collect data about its supporters.

The Brown campaign was one of the first national campaigns to use Google Docs to manage data flow into spreadsheets to manage RSVP lists and donor lists. Forms feeding into spreadsheets automatically populate your lists.

Google News alerts are appropriate for campaigns to gather new information as its posted on your candidate and their opponents.

Data is gold in a campaign. Data collection can be done via petitions, polls and events.

In the US, talk radio is dominated by conservatives. The Brown campaign collected 70,000 mobile numbers from advertising short codes on lawn signs and twitter. The Brown campaign would send texts when their opponent was on radio on would include a call-in number to jam the lines with Brown supporters.

Ning was used to create the “Brown brigade” to create local groups. Ning is like Facebook but a whitelabel solution to mobilize local cells in your campaign.

Willington was able to target online ads to activists inside and outside of the state discretely. For ads inside the state the ad would be for volunteers. For outside the state, the ad would be to make calls from home to voters within the state. GOTV ads would be visible to Repubican heavy areas on election day.

By the end of the campaign, voluteers were waiting an hour and a half in line outside of the campaign office to make calls.

Willington advised that volunteers have more skills than licking envelopes and making calls. Find skillsets in your volunteers (iphone app development, final cut pro) and put them to work.

Moneybombs were successful for the Ron Paul and Scott Brown. The Brown campaign invented the “Voter Bomb” where people could sign in and claim responsibility for bringing out a number of their friends to vote for Brown.

The Brown campaign changed how campaigners win elections online. Willington gave a great presentation.