Episode 37: Social Media Lessons from the Campaign Trail with Anastasia Golovashkina

Thought Feeder
Thought Feeder
Episode 37: Social Media Lessons from the Campaign Trail with Anastasia Golovashkina
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Anastasia Golovashkina talks about her work in political social media, including Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign.

Episode Transcript

Joel Goodman: Cool. J.S., You want to do the intro?

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Sure. If I can remember how it’s done it’s been awhile. So.

Joel Goodman: Welcome to Thought Feeder. That’s yours.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Welcome to Thought Feeder I’m Jon-Stephen Stansel. And with me as always is the, uh, impeccably bespectacled Joel Goodman. And this week, we are so excited to have Anastasia Golovashkina with us today. Uh, you may know her for many things. She has worked with orgs like When We All Vote, uh, and with, Represent Us and also with Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign.

So, uh, we’ve got a lot to discuss today, uh, about that and how, working with, leaders, can relate to, to, to working with them in, higher ed and, and all the things that go into that. So, uh, welcome to the podcast.

Anastasia Golovashkina: Thank you. Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: We’re glad to have you. So, if you don’t mind, would you just kind of give just a basic introduction to yourself? You know, a bit about who you are, what you do, and how you got started in social media.

Anastasia Golovashkina: Yeah, I think the answer, uh, so hi, Anastasia Golovashkina. I’m currently in, based in Boston, worked as on Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign as Jon-Stephen mentioned. Currently a senior director at Trilogy Interactive and, uh, doing basically the same thing, but like for other companies, campaigns, candidates. And I think the answer to your question about how I got started in social media and also the kind of Venn diagram and its intersection with politics is kind of my life story.

I mean, I’ve been inspired by Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren ever since I first started just paying attention to politics and social media has always been the medium. That’s made politics exciting and engaging for me. And that’s what I hope to do through my work.

So, you know, during the 20 2004 election, that was Jib-jabs, uh, this land is your land. If you remember that, well, quite a throwback. and the, during the 2008 primary, you might remember Obama Girl, uh, singing “Crush on Obama” and it was kind of an early form of social media. Also making politics exciting for me.

And, in 10th grade we had to, I was in speech class, so we had to give a persuasive speech and I just noticed no one signed up about the presidential election. So sure. I’ll sign up. Why Barack Obama should be elected. And, I just went down the full rabbit hole about politics. So I also, I of course gave that speech, but also volunteered for his campaign, joined Youth in Government, ran for student government. Won. Then ran for reelection. Also won, uh, the following year, joined Junior Statesmen of America, and then just went really down the rabbit hole.

And when Barack Obama was elected and he served in office, Elizabeth Warren’s appointment and leadership of the Dodd-Frank congressional oversight panel and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showed me that holding big banks and business accountable for their role in the financial crisis, wasn’t just important, it was possible.

So that’s what inspired me to also go to University of Chicago study Economics, study Public Policy. I came of age around the financial crisis of 2008 and that’s what really got me excited, about political work and social media was really what brought that to me.

Following Barack Obama’s reelection, I worked part time at 270 Strategies for the second two years of, my time in college.

I loved it. And then I moved out to the Bay Area and, uh, worked at Trilogy Interactive, where I’m back now managing, the Social Media department. And then Elizabeth Warren was, thrilled to work on our campaign and really, applied the day she announced she was, just doing an exploratory committee to explore a run for president.

Yeah, I think she’s, uh, she’s fantastic. She’s inspired me my whole life and I’m, I was really thrilled to see her run for president and am still uh, the biggest fan girl of everything she does.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: That’s awesome. Yeah. It’s such like a throwback to think about that, that time around 2004 and that, those early stages of social media

Anastasia Golovashkina: And those viral videos.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: you’re though. Yeah. Yeah. Th there’s for me, I, I, it’s been a long time since I’ve thought about those, but it’s such a long road and interesting to like to come of age and in that time period, or.

I kind of fell into social media as it was not, it exists as a career when I finished college in 2001 right? And, and to kind of look back and see how much it’s developed over that time, and especially with politics too, right. It’s, it’s changed so much. And, and, I think, where leaders like Obama or some of the first to like tap into it now it’s just kind of taken for granted, right.

Got to have a social media presence.

Anastasia Golovashkina: I’m pretty sure that Barack Obama was the first president to be on Twitter. And he also followed so many accounts to get those follow backs. I didn’t launch my Twitter account around his first term, but, um, I know that that was a big part of his strategy and that’s actually also why Twitter now limits the number of accounts that you can follow during a given day, because he basically did that first, his campaign did.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: It’s interesting to see how the strategy has developed to where that’s kind of become a little passe, but in those early days, like, yeah, that’s, that’s what you did. It’s changed so much. So when you were working on the Warren campaign. which was absolutely amazing. Right. And I can only imagine like the level of responsibility and pressure of managing an account like that.

Like from a brand standpoint, like brand accounts are screwed, held under an extreme amount of scrutiny. Like if you’re working for, I don’t know Denny’s or whatever, right. You still have like approval process, but with the president. Campaign where the media is going to pick apart every single post. And there’s gotta be a lot of, uh, a lot of pressure in a lot of, uh, a lot of approval process going through that.

Can you tell us a little bit about what that was like and, and how you managed to stay on top of it all? Because it I’m a fan as well, so I was, I’m going to say that account was flawless.

Anastasia Golovashkina: Thank you. Thank you. So I think there’s a couple of different angles to, what you’re speaking about. The first kind of approval approval process. Overall first content went to, myself and my deputy and we had to review it before it went to an approval process of three folks. So we always had Policy, Communications, and Research sign off on every single post that went out, or accounts we’d follow and all of that.

And before we posted, we always had a screenshot of the posts that would go out, always posted natively, always posted in real time and having someone else to review it. One thing I often say is that when someone is, reviewing their own work, even like you’re editing your own writing, if you’re reading it back pretty close to when you wrote it, you will read back what you think you wrote, not what you actually wrote, and that’s how you end up with emails that are like, I would like AA or, you know, all those other typos that are so common.

So we were very careful about avoiding those kinds of mistakes and also making sure that we had the proper approval and also be it for rapid response or be it for a bit more planned content.

And the biggest thing overall, though, with all of our social media was making sure we would bring Elizabeth Warren to people through that medium. So it’d be, I mean, for example, we posted more video content than any other presidential candidate, but not just during debates and town halls, but also overall, we actually looked at this and, that’s one example and also with, for instance, seeking out folks that she would call to thank them for their donations, or reach out to we coordinate.

No treats that she would reply to, or cause that she would commit to making on social media to also what the candidate was actually doing in the real world. And we wanted that parallel to exist and, and really bring that online, offline and vice versa.

In terms of was the approval process difficult? Sometimes. But we really wanted to make sure, especially for such a policy heavy campaign that we wanted to get it right. And we wanted to make sure to reflect that on her social media.

One other anecdote about how important social media was for this campaign. There were many press releases that we sent out as a campaign that were just screenshots of her tweets. So, uh, this, uh, made the press release process more concise, but also it really made social media, really the front lines of just getting out the word about anything and especially important to get it right. And the thing also with a presidential candidate, but also so many brands is. There’s a lot of people who have post notifications turned on for someone of that high visibility.

So that comes back to that QA process. I spoke about you, you only get one chance to get out that content and it must be right. Or someone will see if it’s not. And we, we were very aware of the many, many eyes. I mean, millions of eyes that were watching, our content, but we wanted to make it work and we wanted to do right for Elizabeth

But speaking of screenshots, so one suggestion I do have there is very often, and especially now a lot of times folks want, especially on Twitter to debunk various tweets that may go out that, um, there’s a lot of folks, in the political space who may say, Hey, promote misinformation or disinformation, be it about, COVID be it just about masks, about anything in general.

And one thing I would encourage if you really, really want. Really want to talk on that tweet don’t don’t, uh, don’t quote, tweet it and share your opinion on it. That will only promote engagement with it and visibility of that original tweet and that misinformation. Rather, if you really want to dunk on it, take a screenshot and share your message, that way separately from the original, uh, original piece of content, that would be promoted because technically if you’re quote tweeting it, you’re giving the engagement and Twitter like, oh, this tweet is great.

It’s getting a lot of engagement. Let’s keep promoting it. So if you absolutely must dunk do a screenshot,

Jon-Stephen Stansel: And screenshots to prevent, you know, preserve it for because so many of those tweets get deleted right? So many times, and I’m shocked sometimes how quickly people do that, like that tweet is up for 30 seconds, but somebody’s already screen grabbed it. It’s, it’s, uh, it’s pretty remarkable how people do that sometimes, but it needs to be done some quite often. So, I have so much to ask because like, uh, my, my, my social media manager heart is just so excited right now because there’s so many things to talk about in that chunk. So

Anastasia Golovashkina: Okay.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: first, first thing I wanted to address, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this is press releases that are just screenshots of tweets.

I, I, I’m a static because I’ve seen the other way around. A tweet, that’s a screenshot of

Anastasia Golovashkina: Oh, God. Yeah, we did that. We did not do.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: exactly. But I, I’ve never heard of it go the other way around. So, can you talk a little bit more about, about, about that and how that happened and, and how that went over? Because I want to do that.

Anastasia Golovashkina: For example, also, also thinking about like when she gave a speech and it wouldn’t be aired in real time on a cable news network, we could just live, stream it on her social media platforms. So the idea with social media, be it a speech, be it. a statement that you want to get out. Social media is the fastest, most efficient way to get it right out, especially on Twitter, where so many reporters are active on there.

So rather than, you know, calling MSNBC and letting them know, just get it out there and send a screenshot of that tweet. Or if it’s a speech that’s not being broadcast on MSNBC, just live, stream it now and get that same or a very comparable audience viewing that speech anyway. And broadly, we really see social media as being kind of a, a workaround for, those, media gatekeepers that can sometimes close various opportunities or really keep a tight lock on, what they broadcast on their platforms.

I mean, this was, I think, a good use of it, but also in a less good use of it. It’s something that you also saw Donald Trump doing a lot directly throughout the, his entire term. For example, announcing he had COVID. He did that on his Twitter account. He, shared many statements and much news happened because of it, his Twitter account.

And also thinking about there were so many news articles that were just based on his tweets as well. So we did kind of the good version of it.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: I think it’s a good, yeah. That’s Warren as a much better example to follow.

Anastasia Golovashkina: Thank you.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: It’s kind of like Warren is famous for, of course being a planner, you know, planning versus chaos. Right? it’s it’s a good, comparison. And another question I have too is you mentioned that all the posts were native to the platform. So you didn’t use a third-party application like hoot suite or sprout social, uh, just, just posting.

Anastasia Golovashkina: We posted natively in real time, we did use sprout social, like pull reports and see that data. But we, yeah, everything was posted in real time and needed to be on the plan.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: And I think a lot of social media in the day of COVID where scheduled treats are even more risky than ever because by the time we get off the recording there’s podcasts, there’s probably some other news item happening today, that everybody needs to be aware of. But, during the time on the campaign, what was the reason for that, that decision?

Anastasia Golovashkina: Presidential campaigns move extremely quickly and we wanted to get it right. And we always want it to be timely with anything that went out. The other piece with, posting natively is you have the best control of what we’ll go out and the expectation of what will happen. Whereas even just introducing a third party tool, there’s something that could go wrong.

The API could mess up. Um, there’s so many different things that could happen, and posting natively and in real time was the best way we could control that experience and make sure things were correct. So for example, Let’s say, she was going on Jimmy Fallon that night also like these, these kinds of news appearances, for example, they can be canceled at the last minute.

I mean, up until the last moment. So that example is making sure that we control the message. If it goes, if it’s going to go out and if it’s canceled last moment, we can hold it and put a stop to it rather than having to unschedule something, have it mess up, et cetera.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: how did, were you able to manage that too as, um, how big was your team?

Anastasia Golovashkina: It was five folks, including myself. Yeah. It definitely, it definitely takes a team, especially where we’re working at that scale. It’s, it’s very important to, there’s so much work that goes into it and it’s important to get it right. And it’s, it’s definitely more than one person, which. There are so many social media teams that are just one person.

I mean, there’s digital teams that are just one person. I, so I, it was such a privilege to have those resources, to have those people, but it was absolutely necessary to do the caliber of work that.

Joel Goodman: so. Also a big fan of Elizabeth Warren and the work that you did, my wife especially was, avid following. And re-tweeting everything that went out, during the campaign. I think one of the bigger questions and probably something that.

A lot of organizations struggle with is how you go about maintaining or even just planning for having cohesive voice through all of this. So especially when you have multiple people working on the management of this, very long digital campaign, which is all communication, how are you maintaining?

Very solid voice because I, I asked this because like, when you look at the various candidates that any year, like any election year that run, campaigns on Twitter and have a very large social media presence, or at least try to. they’re very distinct, some have kind of more dull voices. Some are, you know, we talked about the, Trump campaign is very much more about inflaming and energizing with, more violent language than other candidates would use.

Elizabeth Warren is very, comes across very strong in the messaging that’s used in the words, that are used, but also in a very. Kind caring measured way, right? It’s not trying to be tough. It’s that it’s like we have to stand up and we have to, we have to be energetic and move forward.

And then Barack Obama’s messaging was very much different from that when he was running originally in his first term. And then when he was running for reelection, And we see that change throughout. I mean, she’s Marco Rubio’s Twitter campaign is like the voice that that was used for his election year is way different than everyone else.

How do you go about maintaining that solid focused, cohesive voice and keeping that small core group, on task, I guess, or, or within that specific fence? I guess of what, of what the voice is supposed to sound like?

Anastasia Golovashkina: So, you mentioned Donald Trump at the beginning. I think he’s kind of an outlier for so many of these things. Cause I think also he probably. Tweets a lot of his own stuff, which the vast majority of other candidates have, or other campaigns, politicians, leaders they actually have work to do and are prioritizing that above, getting something out on Twitter.

But that’s my 2 cents. Um, there’s many different layers to this, the first is when you’re working on a presidential campaign, especially one, this busy. first of all, people really believe in this work. And also we are very familiar with the candidate and also really want the candidate to be reflected in our source and our social media.

As I spoke to earlier, we really want it to sound like her and to be her. there were of course Elizabeth Warren accounts that came from her, and a lot of them were used lines that for instance, she said in a speech or in a video, so there was a lot of emphasis on reflection.

Her specifically and for especially important posts, like, when we unfortunately had to comment on the passing of certain individuals, we had her personally review that content to make sure that it aligned with what she had in mind and what she felt was appropriate for this. We also had a style guide that we adhere to very strictly.

So if we, if there’s a certain word that we capitalized or hyphenated, we always made sure to do that. With design, a style guide where, these things, certain things, were, communicated visually with consistency. And, we made sure that this was shared. And then if, th there’s new term that needed to be, uh, formatted correctly, made sure to add it to the style guide and made sure to was shared.

And that those also reflected across for other digital platforms. I think I th but I think especially like with the presidential campaign and with Elizabeth Warren in particular, I think the passion is also so important. as you mentioned that this requires a lot of dedication to really, you know, believe in her message and to understand where she’s coming from.

And, there’s a big commitment from the communications piece. And, uh, that is something that is required of all the staff. but I think also the additional layers of approval, the kind of internal approvals. So like me and my deputy that we would review it first before it goes to policy communications and research.

I think that was also necessary, but just the passion really fuels that work and Knowing what she sounds like it being so familiar with her and that also helped us get out. so many different things. For instance, video clips of her, during speeches debates, town halls, uh, really pulling those clips directly from what she said and, and, uh, uh, having that as the accompanying caption for a video, we might share.

so I think it’s it’s systems. So like for instance, those things like the style guide, how we’d format, various words, things, we would say things, we would not say things. Um, for instance, there’s various terms and various phrases that, um, were common in fairly recent history, but we know are no longer appropriate for us to use.

And we made sure to avoid those versus phrases that she just often use. And for instance, big structural change, big one that she loves. And we would make sure to use that often. but then it also there’s the passion. And especially when you’re working something like a presidential campaign that requires long hours, lots of energy.

Uh, what I would also compare it to is like a marathon and a sprint, you know? So it’s both of those in one. I think the passion for, for her and for that work, uh, was so essentially.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: This is going to be one of the few episodes where I’m like legitimately Getty, because like I could talk about social media style guides all day. Uh, a social media specific style guide too. I think so many brands are, or any social media program forgets about that, of like building that consistent voice And and having that written style guide.

So you can point to it and go, no, we don’t say that. Like, that’s not a phrase we

Anastasia Golovashkina: it updated with new additions, new terms and making sure that it stays consistent. Absolutely.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: to be a living document and allow for that voice to evolve over time to, you know, sometimes, you know, my stance on. for a university style guide at one point I was solely anti-immigrant and I’ve changed. Okay. No, maybe we need to introduce that a little bit here and there for, for, for, to, to better facilitate understanding.

But, that’s such an important detail. I think a lot of people forget, and maintaining that. So while we’re on the topic of, social media in higher ed, and we’re talking about. You know, Senator Warren really does understand the importance of using social media, both responsibly and effectively.

So many university presidents themselves now are taking to social and trying to have a better social media presence, some more successful than others, of course, and all kind of taking different approaches, whether or not they’re writing their tweets themselves or having a social media manager handle it or some combination of the two.

So what, what can university presidents in other higher ed leaders as well? Learn, learn from Senator Warren’s social media presence.

Anastasia Golovashkina: Two things come to mind immediately. The first one is what is your goal? Develop your approach. Specifically in a process that gets that content out to align with the goals and objectives that you’re trying to reach with joining social media. I think especially like if you just join social media and expect magic to happen and don’t really know what goals you’re achieving, what you’re targeting, what you’re trying to do, it’s a very easy way to fail because especially if you don’t set those goals in advance, You’re not going to meet them because they don’t exist.

The other thing I would say is social media is different than for example, a press release. you might notice we, we, uh, during the presidential campaign word for president, we, um, we had as many as three policy release roll-outs, every single week. And we would adapt those to be engaging visually and linguistically on social media.

So that could be a carousel on Instagram. It could be a thread on Twitter. It could be a video. , And we made that content work on social media and we tailored it to every single platform individually. I think that is also so important. We can’t just come to Twitter to Facebook, to these various platforms expecting something that would work in a different space to work well there, it needs to be adapted and ideally it really needs to be native natively tailored to that specific platform.

So really. What your goals are and, and how you can make your message work for that specific class.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: preach. I’m clapping like, yes, that it’s so important that, and I think you’re right. I think a lot of leaders in higher ed and other areas, they, they just think, okay, if I go to social magic will happen. People will follow me. I will get my message out and they don’t really have a goal or they think, well, president of the university down the street is on social media.

So I need to be too, without really having a clearly defined goal. And that that’s not just for individuals’ accounts, that’s for brand accounts as well. Like why, what is your, why, why, what are you trying to accomplish? And if that’s just having a social account, you need to, to step back and reevaluate it a little bit.

Anastasia Golovashkina: Absolutely completely agree. And then also just like, how are you actually trying to make those things happen? Like if you post something and then no one has liked it for days. What did you post? Why are you, why are you doing that? Why are you talking about that? These are such important questions. And so often even clients who approach me instill a, they will just want to dive right into social media.

And it’s really important to pull them back and think about like, know, what are your goals? What are you trying to achieve? what are we really doing? Garrett is such an important question and I’m not, I’m not just saying that it really is important to ask that before just diving right into content creator.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: It makes the content creation easier too, because then you have like a purpose and like an idea to center it around rather than just blindly going. Oh, it’s Tuesday. What are we going to post? It’s what is the social media holiday?

Anastasia Golovashkina: Actually speaking of that, it’s, it’s so much more important to have that strategy and have a purpose rather than just meeting a quota. Like we need to have a post out every single day or every Thursday we’re doing a Throwback Thursday. Have a purpose, have an intention behind that. So much more important than just what is the holiday that we’re going to post about today.

But it’s Thursday, let’s do a throwback post it meaning is so much more important than just hitting a specific, quota for that.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah. The quota thing bothers me to know exact cause. Cause honestly, I think that’s where people run into danger. You have a social media manager who’s been told, okay, you have to post X number of times per day or week. And they’re trying to hit that. number and maybe get out something that you don’t want just because they’re, they’re more, they’re thinking more about the number than they are.

The message.

Anastasia Golovashkina: If you go back to, Elizabeth Warren, social media accounts, or even the team warn accounts that we all. There, you will see that there was some days that we just went quiet because there were certain days that the most appropriate thing to do that aligned with our goals and our strategy and just our, our ethos was going quiet that day.

Sometimes it’s important to just be, be quiet and sometimes that can really align with your with your social media strategy and with what the campaign is trying to do again, I strongly discouraged just having a quota to meet, as part of a social media strategy. And so rarely is there, a requirement to post every single day, no matter what happens,

Jon-Stephen Stansel: exactly. I couldn’t agree more. There’s just times that you just need to be quiet. So.

Joel Goodman: So from there, were there specific metrics that you all were following that you found more helpful to see how effective your messaging was going forward? Like what role did engagement play? Whether that was. People just engaging with, with the messaging that you were putting out or the accounts engaging back, what was kind of the thinking around managing that whole aspect of social?

Anastasia Golovashkina: So there’s quantitative metrics. Like the number of likes the number of responses. And there’s also qualitative that we also looked at. So for instance, who is actually talking about us, what are they saying? And so I’ll just give you some examples. but, there were a variety and that really were based on what the message was.

So one simple example is, if we were sharing videos from a town hall, a debate, a speech, how long do people watch those videos, which videos received the highest number of views, and had those longest average watch times things like debates how many accounts were tweeting about us versus other candidates?

And what were they saying? There’s a one specific debate, for example, where Elizabeth Warren was treated about more or less the same as a different candidate but they were saying very different things. the metrics. Don’t just tell you that really look at what folks are saying about that.

Um, so we, we really looked at a combination of that. and oftentimes these even informed our choices with other facets of the campaign, for example, billionaire tears, milk, you may have heard of that. that was a highly encouraged by a lot of people who supported Elizabeth Warren and were tweeting at us.

Hey, you should launch your billionaire tears mug. So we did, I remember one, specific one specific woman tweeted, uh, does Elizabeth Warren have a plan for my love life? So we drafted a response to her and then also had, Elizabeth Warren call her personally figure out, the plan for that.

cause we have a plan for that and her plans included, uh, let’s see, canceling her student loans. So she would have more money to dedicate to. Developing that love life. and down the road also, for instance, investing in childcare and in making that more accessible. So, uh, does Elizabeth Warren have a plan for my love life?

Sure, sure does. And they talked about that. Um, so yeah, so the, big answer to the question is, a combination of qualitative and quantitative one other actually example that comes to mind is also folks sharing their stories in ways that we didn’t even expect. Sometimes that was, share your story with like a specific hashtag and see them in your responses.

We got. But for instance, when Elizabeth Warren was accused of flying about being, let go from her public school job, because she got pregnant, there were so many women who chimed in and just said, no, that, that happened to me too. I was let go several decades ago because I got pregnant and I, my drop as well.

And so speaking to that, access, sexism, misogyny, and we looked at that data and that informed. Filming a video with Elizabeth Warren, personally, reading some of those stories on video and sharing that. we, again, broad answer qualitative quantitative, and it also that data informed broader facets of what campaign.

Joel Goodman: I think that’s really important. I think a lot of times people. Organizations, especially don’t have that last piece. They don’t see it as a feedback loop, right? They look at, here’s a bunch of data. Now I hand this off to my boss to show how good of a job I’m doing. But the real value in that is being able to take what you’re seeing and pull insights out of it, and then affect what you say in the future, how you react to things in the future to bring better impact to, whatever your goals are, whatever your, campaign.

Anastasia Golovashkina: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think that’s something that we all organizations, all, all accounts can do. It’s not just a presidential campaign that can look that information and. Is that kind of feedback loop, no matter what kind of account you’re running, you can look at how folks are responding to it. Um, the, the qualitative data who’s responding to it and also the numbers, uh, in which folks are responding to it and inform other facets of the work that you do and the organization.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: I another issue to address, you know, and a major part of your role working with, with org. Like When We All Vote is, is galvanizing young people to take action and, and vote, you know? And, and what, what strategies have you taken to, to reach this demographic and motivate them to take action?

I think that’s something in higher ed where it may not be voting. It might be going to get your vaccine or signing up for class on a certain date, but, but motivating that younger demographic to take action, is, a constant challenge. So, so what, what advice do you have in that area?

Anastasia Golovashkina: I think, um, actually anyone who’s listening to this, I would format it that way. Each and every one of us has an important story to tell it important experience to share through our own social media platforms. What I mean by that when people log into their Facebook and you are friends with them, they will see things that you’re posting.

And you’re a real person that they know. And if you post about getting a vaccine shot, signing up for classes, any of them. News item. or supporting Elizabeth Warren, for example, it takes it from being this abstract idea that they might see in the news like, oh, I should get a vaccine.

Oh, I should vote in the presidential primary. And it makes it accessible. And directly someone they know is doing this. and it’s not just me saying this. This is, this is how so many issues have, especially recently have really. escalated in support. So for instance, uh, same-sex marriage really, received more and more support over the last few decades because people realize that they knew people that had good close friends and their networks in their communities who were part of the LGBTQ plus community where they hadn’t even considered that before. It takes it from this abstract idea that, you know, something will legalize this thing or, this is a policy that is happening in the news and it makes it. That’s my good friend who I’ve gone to class with, who I know personally so well, who I could just send a text message to.

They are affected by this too. And it takes it from that big picture impersonal issue, and it really makes it personal. So for example, with vaccines, share a photo of yourself getting that stated if you have that or a photo of your vaccine card with hiding certain personal information, because we’ve seen that too, but, making that.

Big picture in personal issue. Personal is so powerful, and is something that I encourage everyone to do really use your social media platforms to talk about. What’s important to you and about developments that are happening in the news that mattered to you. That affect you personally. Again, make them less take, take away the impersonal big picture quality and make it something that people in your network will see is affecting you personally.

And it’s something that you support or that you feel strongly about.

I think the other thing that comes to mind with, the rise of influencers with social media content that you might see from major organizations that can partner with those, that’s also of way of making that impersonal issue. Personal. It’s not just supporting this organization that literally has vote in their name when we all vote. People who I’ve been following for a decade. I’ve been watching their beauty vlogs and I, so I’ve supported them. And I kind of almost have that para-social relationship where they feel like my friend in some way, through that social content, seeing them support that issue, support that organization also takes it from this big picture and personal issue and something truly personal that you can grab onto.

And it’s part of why we’re seeing a rise in influencer marketing as part of what is being done on social media and as a big trend, that is being supported and engaged with, by multiple brands and even, presidential or other campaigns like Joe Biden’s campaign was very active with also engaging influencers.

again, to make that impersonal big picture issue, personal in a variety of different ways.

Joel Goodman: Do you think the appeal or usage of influencers in particular is affecting that desire for authenticity, that has always seemed to be like the core tenant of ma of managing a social media account. Like, you know, we’re all told that in marketing, everyone wants authenticity in social media. But to some extent, those influencers are not authentic. Like they’re, you know, they’re being engaged to, to be shills for something, whether it’s good or not. how, I don’t know, like, it feels like it’s kind of being wavy in terms of like how effective that’s going to be going, going forward.

Anastasia Golovashkina: I think that’s true. And I think the most effective partnerships be influencers. Be it anything the most effective content is content that’s true and authentic to you. So for example, Elizabeth Warren, coming back to her, that social media presence, we didn’t pretend. She was someone she wasn’t, um, we shared exactly who she was and I mean, it was in some ways, an uncool, a little bit wonky, wonky, a lady who’s really passionate about what she was doing, but she wasn’t going to pretend to have like the coolest outfit and, uh, be the coolest person.

But, you know, she was really passionate. She is really passionate about her, uh, her golden retriever Bailey and actually fun fact. She, the vast majority of photos and captions about that, about Bailey, she wrote, and she took those photos. Basically she’s everyone who’s managing your social media is going to be out of a job because they were fantastic.

But coming back to that, That authenticity is important and that’s also where the most effective partnerships come from. So for instance, with one vote, it’s from influencers who are actually passionate about voting and actually want to turn out and do that and are speaking from the heart about that passion.

That’s also reflected in, for instance, for when we all vote. For instance, there’s an influencer who does YouTube videos. And at the end of every single video, she mentions that she has, uh, she has linked at the bottom on her description to encourage folks to register to vote.

And this is something that she’s been doing for years and including in her descriptions and ending her videos with. So it was a natural partnership because it’s something she’s passionate about that her audience has heard from her. And we wanted to partner with her specifically because this is something that already clearly matters to her.

And so I think you’re exactly right. That, yeah, there are influencers who aren’t. As authentic as we’d like them to be. And I don’t recommend pairing with them. I recommend authentic partnerships that truly mattered to you. be it for a presidential campaign, for instance, like likewise, we, we partnered with folks, for Warren for President who were genuinely passionate about electing Elizabeth Warren.

And weren’t just looking for more cloud for themselves or other benefits.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Influencers can be so tricky too. It’s, it’s tough to find one that works for you. And a lot of times you do need you, you’ve got to hold their hands throughout the process of making sure that, they’re posting. What represents you. Uh, it gets you towards the goal. They’re posting the proper links, the right hashtags tagging the right people.

Uh, it’s surprising, you know, how, how, you know, some are better than others, of course, but it does require a lot of guidance as well.

Anastasia Golovashkina: And I think with that also folks who manage those relationships, it’s important to have someone who understands the space and who understands the influencers. They’re partnering. So for instance, don’t wanna throw anyone under the bus, but there’s various influencers who have made certain missteps and you wouldn’t want to reach out to them to support a campaign that is specifically targeting that, for example.

And, it’s so important to bring in folks who understand that space, to manage those relationships. And to understand that, you know, this one person might have more followers, but they’re not someone we want to partner with for this specific initiative for.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: right. And, and more followers doesn’t always mean more influence either technically, which seems a little counterintuitive, but it’s true.

Anastasia Golovashkina: Truly, and this is something we actually speak about with, various clients. Th those like ads, for example, at Facebook, they’re so popular, but. Getting a lake on Facebook. Isn’t a guarantee that person will see that content far from it. Right. and that’s why we look at quantitative and qualitative data.

It’s there is more than just, I have this many number of followers that there is so much more to social media than that.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: as you know, I can talk about this all day and to take all of your time. I want to leave with one question. Cause I think this is really important to talk about. We don’t talk about it enough. Like, so social media is a high pressure job and it’s constant. It never stops, you know, you’re getting slack messages on into the night, things happen.

While you’re trying to get to, to sleep, et cetera. How do you, how do you balance balance it and how, how do you, take care of yourself and prevent burnout. And, um, and especially when you’re dealing with something as high stakes, as a presidential campaign,

Anastasia Golovashkina: I think the one thing I might also add to the list of pressures is also social media changes a lot. And what you might think as like a TikTok right now. I mean, TikTok has grown so much over the past two years. That’s not even a good example, but that’s why I also recommend, you know, reserving your username on various social media platforms, because you truly never know how big a specific platform that might be smaller now is going to be in a year, two years, et cetera.

In terms of how to prevent burnout, it varies. I think, I think it ultimately comes down to setting boundaries, into being clear and setting them in advance. So it’s not a surprise that. you want to take Saturday to go hiking. It’s more than something that’s been discussed in advance that you’ve established an advance.

That’s important to you, for example. but I want to acknowledge that. Yeah, it is tough. I do also think that, with so many studies about burnout, they’ve shown that it doesn’t necessarily come from the volume of work you have, but rather feeling like you’re doing something in not getting anything personally from it, you’re not pouring your creativity.

You’re, you’re not interested in that work and you’re not seeing the returns of it. And I think that’s also why be it for a run for president? Be the focus I managed therapy, at children. It’s so important to give folks something they’re passionate about and work that they can really feel creatively involved in and a leader in, in making an important impact in rather than just a cog in a machine.

It’s so important to do that so that you truly feel that personal ownership of your work and that pride. So I think it’s both of those things. I think it’s doing work that is meaningful and it’s also setting good boundaries. Now, granted, especially for, you know, a presidential campaign, it’s uniquely hard to set those kinds of boundaries because the new cycle is moving so quickly and things come up at any moment.

And I think that’s also where just the broader boundaries, like it’s, it’s something that, you know, presidential campaigns they’re going to happen every four years. Don’t Limit the number, uh, the kind of work that you have back to back, for example, and it’s, um, I think it’s about the personal thing of like, if, if you wrap one role giving yourself time to rest and relax and rejuvenate yourself.

with that also with, with all of this, it’s realizing that rest is not nothing it’s so important to rest and recharge, and Time spent doing nothing is not He is important for rejuvenating yourself, recharging yourself. And it’s not a waste of time is what’s that quote it’s like waste of time.

It’s not a waste of time. It’s it’s, it’s, it’s getting it that it’s it’s that it’s, it’s so important to restaurant juvenate and to feel passionate about the work that you do, and to also set clear boundaries, I wish I had a perfect answer here. I know that social media can move quickly. And I think also acknowledging that and acknowledging that this work can be stressful.

And also just setting that in advance the expectation that, yeah, there will be some days where we have to work past 5:00 PM or we even have to do some, a little bit of work on the weekend. I think that’s, that’s so simple.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah, I think that that’s absolutely right. And I think it’s doubly important. I think the rest is so important in social media where there’s a lot of creativity involved and sometimes that time. While you were physically resting or doing something else, your brain is still working on some of those problems and needs that time away from the screen or the phone or whatever, to, build and work those things out.

Anastasia Golovashkina: I think about how many great ideas you’ve come up with in the shower or in the gym or while cooking. It’s not a mistake that happens. And that’s making time for that is important, not just in general for your wellbeing, but just also forgetting the work done!

Jon-Stephen Stansel: I think the quote, I like it is we don’t work so we can rest. We rest so we can work. the two go hand in hand, you’ve got to have both, but social media can make kind of hard sometimes to, uh, and I, I think sometimes we do put that a bit on ourselves to where we’re just like, oh, I can, I can make this tweet.

I can, I can do it, but you’ve got to set those boundaries. So that’s really important.

I want to talk for another hour, but I know you’ve got, got the things to do, so, we’ll wrap up and give you a chance to, to plug in anything you want to plug.

Joel Goodman: Thank you so much for listening to the Thought Feeder podcast. If you liked our episode, please subscribe at apple podcasts or Spotify or anywhere you get your podcasts. You can also visit us at thoughtfeederpod.com to find all of our back episodes and transcripts for every episode. We would love to see you on the site.

Also, we would love for you to follow us on Twitter at thought, feed pod, ask us questions, suggest people to be on the show with us in the future, or just suggest new ideas for future topics. We’d love to hear them all.

We want to thank Anastasia Golovashkina for being on the show today. NSA. Thank you so much. It was a pleasure talking to you.

Anastasia Golovashkina: Likewise. It was, it was such a pleasure to join you. If folks want to find me online, uh, my last name, it’s not easy to pronounce, but the good thing is it helps with getting all those usernames on social media. So, uh, feel free to find me on Twitter, just my last name and, uh, excited to see you online.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Thank you so much for joining us.


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