Viral Marketing: How Florida Voters Overcame a $20m Campaign

Viral Marketing: How Florida Voters Overcame a $20m Campaign 4 min read

Throughout all of the political back-and-forth this week stood an Amendment on the ballot for Solar energy users within the state of Florida. The bill, entitled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice,” was a Utility-backed bill being pushed forward by a $20 million campaign.

 

This misleading title aimed to end tax rebates to solar customers, eliminate the requirement for the utility companies to buy back excess power from solar-powered homes and raise fees for existing users of solar. Bi-partisan opponents quickly sprung into action forming the “Floridians for Solar Choice” organization. Their goal was simple: to outmaneuver the Utility companies with the power of Virality.

 

 

Utility & Strategy

The utility companies were well funded. Their marketing campaign covered all of the bases they needed to:

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM),
  • a basic website to inform the public on their agenda,
  • an aggressive Pay-per Click (PPC) campaign geared at drawing voters to their website (Editors note: I did see an Ad on mobile but failed to capture the screenshot),
  • a social campaign positioned to draw awareness and
  • cohesive yet “deceptive” branding elements across all channels

 

yes-on-1-florida

 

But their Digital Marketing efforts simply weren’t enough.

 

All in all, their social channels (FB, Twitter, Instagram) had over 34,000 followers and page likes.

 

This is a pretty substantial number given the amount of effort involved in growing a community that size with a presence (originally branded Consumers for Smart Solar) that was created just over a year ago in July of 2015.

 

 

Grassroots & Viral

Out of all possible places, I first came across information about the Amendment on Instagram.

 

vote-no-on-1-florida

 

I was intrigued. Someone I know, who isn’t political by nature, posting something against the Amendment. I immediately Googled it to see what it was about, already approaching it with my own bias because it was recommended by a close friend. The Grassroots movement to oppose this Amendment was unfolding…all on social media.

 

People started to tweet about the Amendment. They adopted #SolarUprising as their official hashtag and the message began to spread. Soon news outlets began to pick up the story.

 

 

By the Numbers

Through Tweets and Re-Tweets alone, over 430,000 people were exposed to messaging against Amendment 1. Granted this wasn’t all localized to Florida, but the breadth of the messaging still remains. Take a look at the chart below:

 

Courtesy, http://keyhole.co/

Sample data courtesy of Keyhole (http://keyhole.co). Generated November 9, 2016 at 10:30AM.

 

 

211 accounts, pushed the message to over 400,000 people garnering some 706,000 impressions.

 

 

The voice of a few, helped educate the many.

 

 

Amendment Flop

The Amendment, needing 60% to become Florida law, only got 51% of the vote. A $20 million campaign was upset by a small minority of dedicated individuals.  Let that sit with you for a moment.

 

This is the power of viral content.

 

 

Further Reading

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