Remember when it was “novel” and“fascinating” to see the emergence of digital impacting the political space?
Today, politicians and organizations connect with voters and stakeholders through their screens like never before. Digital platforms aren’t just for communications, it is a prerequisite to win.
At A+G, many of our clients are smaller organizations and campaigns who, while agile, operate on smaller budgets. But it’s important that digital be accessible to good causes of all sizes.
That’s why we’re always trying to help progressive organizations up their digital game.
As they focus on their mission, our job is to make sure they run the most effective and efficient digital campaigns possible within the resources at their disposal. So we put together a list of some of our favorite online marketing tools and apps, which all have a free version, that can help build up a better digital program.
#1: Action Network — Emails, petitions, events, and more
Our first pick is Action Network. They’re a platform for progressive groups and candidates that offers various tools for sending mass emails, pushing out petitions, creating fundraisers, organizing marches, setting up digital widgets, and a ton more. Despite all of its features, Action Network is available for free to individuals and small groups with less than 10,000 emails going out per month. But we’d suggest becoming a partner which starts at just $10 a month and allows you to upload lists, create consistently branded email templates and pages, set up email automation, and more.
The platform additionally sets itself apart by giving you and only you complete ownership over your data. That’s important.
#2: MobilizeAmerica — Connect with a network of volunteers online
To win, especially for smaller campaigns, developing a robust ground operation by involving grassroots supporters is imperative. MobilizeAmerica is a centralized platform for organizing and managing volunteers with features such as creating sign-up systems, sharing events, utilizing analytics to best optimize your efforts, and communicating with your people through systematic email reminders and text messages. On the user-side, volunteers can click on a single link to easily find all kinds of events in their area and connect with other volunteers. During the 2018 midterm elections, MobilzeAmerica activated 370,000 volunteers, 9 million door-knocks, and 10 million calls. That’s a goldmine of like-minded activists your campaign or organization should tap into.
#3: Canva & Over — Create essential design, whoever you are
When you got less than a second to make a first impression in a sea of competing messages, good design is not optional. Obviously, the gold standard for graphic creation is Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, but maybe it’s price prohibitive or you don’t need all the bells and whistles and you’re looking for a free alternative.
To create a well-executed design with Canva and Over, all you need is a bit of creativity and a clear vision of your design. Even with zero design skills, it’s easy to browse through professionally generated layouts and templates then drag-and-drop design elements to produce beautifully polished graphics. And they’re both available on mobile making it convenient when producing an image for a last-minute tweet with little to no effort.
Another great option if all you’re looking for is a quick graphic for social media? Adobe Spark, which offers a free version with a watermark. (Yes, we’re big fans of Adobe products.)
#4: Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay, and Coverr — Free stock photos and video
To fulfill all the different types of graphics you’ll most likely have to create whether it be a social media image or a backdrop for a landing page, you’ll need images. Because we couldn’t pick just one (again), we have three for you: Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay. Bookmark them and search through the vast amount of freely usable images whenever you need them. You can even find free videos on Pexels and on Coverr. Are you as excited as we are!?
#5: TweetDeck — Keep your Twitter madness under control
This tool is one that we use literally every day at A+G. There are numerous tools for social media for listening and scheduling to try out. But if you don’t have the budget we suggest TweetDeck for Twitter. It’s an entirely free Twitter dashboard tool organized by columns of data from your account(s) which you can customize to your needs. Not only is it a scheduling and organizing tool (which we use all the time), but it’s also useful for tasks like searching keywords and phrases in a particular geolocation or digging deeper into user activity and engagement.
#6: Hashtagify — Check your #hashtags before you post
Speaking of digging deeper, hashtags help increase your social media presence and build your brand by joining trending topics — it’s worth doing some quick research on them. To best leverage your hashtag usage, run them through Hashtagify to check how they rank in social channels. When you type your desired hashtag in the search bar, you’ll get the top 10 hashtags related to it, popularity scores, trending scores, and any top Twitter influencers connected to it. The ideal scenario here is to use the most relevant hashtag to get your content involved in high-traffic conversation, which means greater visibility and a greater potential to grow your audience. Just be careful, don’t spam Twitter with hashtags.
Looking for a place to check your Instagram hashtags? Try DisplayPurposes to pick the 30 best hashtags for your gram post or to view maps of locally popular tags and graphs of related tags.
#7: INV Chrome Extension — Invite people to like your Facebook page
The last recommendation we have for you is a Google Chrome extension. It’s a simple and straightforward tool that serves one purpose: inviting Facebook users who’ve liked your posts to like your page. Although simple, the extension saves a lot of time and effort. Instead of manually clicking the invite button next to each Facebook user, automate the process and allow it to complete in the background.
When it comes to digital work, you want to ensure that you exhaust all available (free) tactics out there. This extension will let you turn engagement on posts (including ads) into likes; install it here.
Have you used these apps? Have a must-have app that we didn’t include? Let us know.
We hope you find this list useful. Stay tuned for more digital tips and tricks from A+G here on our Medium blog.
At A+G Digital, we help Democratic candidates and progressive organizations run cutting-edge digital programs. Need help crafting your digital strategy or want to chat? Get in touch at email@example.com.