This year, social media has influenced politics more than ever. Ted Cruz used Periscope to live stream his appearances. Rubio broadcasted Snapchat stories, Bernie Sanders has attracted nearly 2 million Facebook fans and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are discussing their views through Twitter.
Supporters of both political parties are equally likely to follow political figures on social media, 18% of Republicans and 15% of Democrats. 21% of voters ages 30-49 follow political figures on social media according to the PEW Research Center. Americans who follow political figures on social media tend to be highly engaged with the election campaigns. Most people follow politicians on social media because they get to find out news before other people.
Creating a social media strategy for use during political campaigns has been an essential part of every candidate’s plan. Since people are using smartphones and social media for news, the election is becoming another social media stream that is going through people’s devices. Politicians are communicating with voters and altering their tone. Most are trying to grab voter’s attention through social media platforms and some are succeeding. They are competing for attention and using social media to put out their message in a different way. From now on, social media will have a huge impact on elections.
If you’re interested in leveraging a political campaign through social media, here are a few best practices:
- Plan each post with strategy in mind and be consistent. Have a very targeted campaign that focuses on specific issues and topics. Don’t just do random posts.
- Use some platforms to include other related material. On Pinterest, Clinton has posted inspiring women, family photos and some campaign photos.
- Humanize yourself to make yourself more relatable.
- If you join a social media network, you have to be active. Decide what platforms you want to use and stick with it.
- Learn how to communicate on each different platform. Not all social media is equal.
- Listen to your audience and don’t blast your message to the world. Communicate with your voters and create a social media strategy.
- Use social advertising to connect with the best audiences. This shows that Facebook ads have proven to make or break an election.
- Photos are key. A photograph or infographic is a great way to get more response on social media.