Using grassroots communication in a social media world

Finding the right balance in communication methods increases employee engagement.

One Monday afternoon this past December in Henderson, Nev., a suburb just outside of Las Vegas, I found myself in a bizarre situation: I was going door-to-door with my father-in-law handing out letters he wrote about why his presidential candidate of choice would best serve the residents. And, if the homeowners weren’t in, we literally rolled up the letter and attached it to the doorknob with a rubber band.

There had to be a better way of getting out the vote, right? With the surge in popularity of all things social media, I was convinced there was a more efficient, likely electronic way of drumming up support from more than 250 homes. My father-in-law, however, disagreed.

“Sometimes, people just want to talk to a real, live human being,” he said.

He was right. By that Friday, he received 67 phone calls or e-mails from inquisitive voters from the letters we so primitively attached to doorknobs with rubber bands. That doesn’t include the 20 or so people we talked to in person who expressed interest—a combined 35 percent return from the face-to-face and grassroots efforts I considered so basic and unsophisticated.

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