Your Facebook Page Isn't A Website

There's a good article out this week in Campaigns & Elections entitled "Your Website Isn't a Facebook Page." Key quote:

The most common fatal error [campaign websites make]: Making it hard for people who visit a site to actually help the campaign. Many sites lacked basic necessities like email signup forms and social media follow buttons. Others hid them away on sub-pages or lost them in visual clutter. Some even skipped a donate button or used one that was hard to spot at a glance.
Every one of these practices is likely to result in the site missing chances to turn a visitor into a long-term supporter — and that means it's failing at its most important task.

It's easy for candidates to get the wrong impression about campaign websites. Except when undecided voters are visiting in the closing days of the campaign, the primary function of websites (and social media, and email) is not persuading voters: it's persuading people who support you to vote, give, and volunteer.

The flip side of this article, of course, is that your campaign Facebook page isn't a website. Though Facebook is quickly adding these functionalities, someone can't sign up or donate on a Facebook page the way they can on a website. While relatively few campaigns try to get Facebook to function as a webpage, they should stop. Even though CRMs like NationBuilder can track supporter activity on your Facebook, there's no replacement for sleek websites that have good content supporters can share on social media, sleek landing pages to increase conversions, and ample places to sign up.

Speaking of NationBuilder, if you're looking for an example of an effective web presence, it hurts my liberal soul to say Pat McCrory has a great website. It's an example of everything done right: it's sleek and simple, but there's an opportunity to sign up and join the campaign everywhere.

The custom NationBuilder theme by Ian Patrick Hines shows off North Carolina without getting in the way of collecting names, emails, and dollars. It's responsive on mobile. The content is focused on the things Pat McCrory wants to talk about - you'll notice there's no issues page. It does a lot more than a Facebook page, but it's also connected to a Facebook page that's casual but consistent in producing content.

This is probably the only time I'll write the following words, but North Carolina Democrats could learn a lot from McCrory's web presence.

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  • commented 2015-04-03 19:55:36 -0700
    Love it. It was a pleasure working on it with you, Ian!
  • commented 2015-04-03 12:23:29 -0700
    Aww… thanks Sam! I really had a lot of fun working on that project, and I’m glad you like how it turned out. I’m very proud of it, and I am really grateful to Governor McCrory and the team at Cornerstone Solutions (who I worked with on that project) for giving me the freedom to experiment with some of that stuff.


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