In 2008, social media played a big part in the presidential elections as candidates like Obama, Ron Paul, and to some extent McCain utilized sites like Facebook and Twitter to expand their campaigns. This year, they will be even more important and candidates are already working hard to take advantage of every tool they can to get ahead.
Both President Obama’s re-election campaign and Republican contender Mitt Romney’s campaign have adopted the latest tool in political fundraising: Square. Square allows just about anyone, including campaigns, to accept donations from mobile phones (specifically smart phones).
More than that, though, Square could be a game changer as it allows campaigns to give workers and volunteers their own Square app that ties in with the main campaign app, thus making mobile armies of contribution collectors. These people can each individually collect donations for the campaign, automatically keeping proper records, and have the money immediately added to the main campaign Square account.
This means that the individual campaigner for the candidate has no access to the information or money while allowing them to collect on behalf of the campaign safely.
Although in terms of dollar percentages, this tool is not likely to be significant in the monies raised this year, it is a potential game-changer for now and in the future as politics surges ahead with tech. More than that, though, it creates huge possibilities for the grassroots candidate who may have a glut of manpower in the campaign, but be short on capital contributions. Turning an army of volunteers into a mobile contribution solicitation service can mean a lot to a small campaign that would otherwise have little chance.
So while social marketing via social networks may be the huge thing for 2012, this new way of collecting contributions will likely be something that shapes mid-term elections in 2013 and beyond.