Washington (CNN) – Using social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, has become the norm for political campaigns. Rep. Joe Sestak's campaign for the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nod had a robust Facebook, Twitter and YouTube strategy. And the underdog campaign's online tool kit also used a lesser-known web tool: Ning.
The platform allows any campaign, company, or individual to create a custom-branded social network.
For Sestak's campaign, the Ning social network acted as a virtual campaign office for active supporters and volunteers. The campaign was able to use its Ning presence as a central hub for people to obtain campaign information and find tools to easily mobilize, like the campaign's virtual phone bank program, a document center, register to vote forms and an easy-to-use Letter to the Editor application.
Tom McDonald, Sestak's new media director responsible for digital strategy and implementation, told CNN his online strategy was similar to Republican Scott Brown's, who also used a Ning network during his Senate race in Massachusetts.
"Ning was a hub for volunteers to speak to one another and for the campaign to get information out to our volunteers," McDonald said. "People could go to one place and understand everything the campaign was asking from them."