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‘House of Cards,’ Will Conway and Digital Marketing

house of cards

Don’t worry, no “House of Cards” season 4 spoilers here.

The fourth season of “House of Cards” premiered on Netflix this past weekend, and it was perhaps the most exciting season thus far. As we learned last season, it’s nearly time for the 2016 election (like in the real world, of course). Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, has spent two years in the Oval Office after maneuvering his way to presidency. Now, he is facing fierce opposition in his own Democratic Party. Both politicians and constituents have grown tired of his shady practices and unfaltering pride.

But he’s also facing opposition on the other side of the aisle. Unlike the real world, our Democratic presidential nominee only has to worry about one Republican: Will Conway. He is a young, hotshot politician, and the governor of New York. And unlike Underwood, Conway has taken to the Web to reach his constituents on a more intimate level. He utilizes digital marketing techniques to be more personable and learn more about potential voters. These techniques are sometimes complicated, but are easily applicable to real-world companies.

Understanding and Utilizing Metadata

house of cards will conwayIn the “House of Cards” universe exists a smaller search engine called Pollyhop, comparable to DuckDuckGo in the real world. Conway partners with Pollyhop to mine metadata on potential voters. He explains that users of Pollyhop have nothing to worry about. He is not getting personal information; rather, he is gathering search history from large populations. In Conway’s words, the smallest population he looks at is a state. But, by partnering with Pollyhop, he has access to information Underwood does not.

While this is a general look at metadata, its true nature is something much more complex. Conway was somewhat correct in saying he couldn’t get personal information from the metadata. However, with a bit of digging, this data can turn out information for a single person, such as their name, age, location, etc.

But metadata is so much more than that. Companies can use mined data to figure out what potential clients are searching for. Then, taking those keywords, they can create their own metadata — video descriptions, page titles, etc. — to draw clients to their websites. The concept of understanding and utilizing metadata can become an intensive, intricate venture.

A Personal Touch

house of cards will conway webcastConway first introduces his metadata practices in a webcast on his website. These webcasts are a common practice for the candidate. It seems he puts one out at least weekly. When a national event happens, his first response is to film a live webcast for his site. Often, his family — a wife and two children — are included in the video. He makes a point to show his residence in the first video, proving that he lives in a normal house, not the governor’s mansion. His entire mission seems to be to show he is an average guy who knows the difficulties you face, and knows how to handle them.

If your company is not reaching out to customers on a personal level, you are missing out on a massive market opportunity. One of the easiest ways to do so is through social media. Engaging posts that customers want to comment on and “like” are crucial. It shows the business is run by humans, not robots. However, it can be easy to overdo it. Flooding newsfeeds with your posts can lead to users quickly unfollowing you. Make sure your social media manager knows exactly how much to post so you aren’t losing an audience due to under- or over-posting.

A Level of Transparency

house of cards will conway and wifeIn that same webcast, Conway does something practically unprecedented. He connects his personal cellphone to his website and announces anyone can access it to view texts, phone calls, videos and other information. This could have quickly backfired if an errant photo or text had been found, but instead, it turned out to be a huge success. Within hours, videos showing romance between Conway and his wife went viral.

While you likely don’t want to give customers access to your cellphone, you do want to offer a level of transparency. Hiding everything from curious clients can make you seem shady, to say the least. Allowing customers access can take a few different forms. Something as simple as interviewing different employees, from high level executives to warehouse workers, can give your business a sense of humanity. A video tour of your facilities is a great way to get your clients involved in the process, even on a virtual level. By demonstrating you care for your employees and your product, you demonstrate that you care for your customer base as well.

Where Conway Went Wrong

Besides his partnership with Pollyhop to gather metadata, Conway seems to be running his entire marketing campaign on his own. He films his own webcasts and doesn’t seem to have anyone from his team auditing his phone for potentially damaging information. This could spell disaster for his presidential campaign, especially as he becomes busier and busier.

In the same way, running your own multifaceted marketing campaign can become bungled quickly. Forgetting to reply to a comment on your Facebook page could lead to hurt feelings. Without properly made videos, you could come across as unprofessional. That’s why it’s vital to have an experienced digital marketing company, like EverSpark Interactive, at your side. For more information about the services we offer, visit our website or call us today.