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How to use Instagram for political campaigns

Not only is Covid19 a terrifying pandemic but it is also changing entirely the way political campaigns do business. So many of the things campaigners take for granted like canvassing, fundraisers, events, even just talking to voters have become off-limits for the time being. What to do?

Let’s start with Instagram. Not only is it completely free, but it’s also easy to use.

What is it?

Instagram functionality:

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Instagram, there are several different photo posting options.

Straight up photo posts - you can feature one photo or a collage of photos that will show up on your follower’s feeds. Document photo-worthy moments on your campaign and to update your following. Real life, personal takes seem to always work well here.

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Stories - You can upload a story (e.g. a video or photo) to your account and decorate it with captions, GIFs, emojis, and more. After 24 hours the story expires. But don’t worry! If you’re feeling particularly attached to a story, you can archive it onto your profile so all your followers can view it beyond the 24-hour window, these are called Highlights

Image Description Use stories to capture specific things that happen over the course of the day that might not necessarily be a perfect photo moment. For example, consider adding a video or a photo to your story of a candidate or team of supporters talking on the road on the way to a rally or event.

Many of our users try to be as creative as possible when starting off on Instagram stories, they usually start to briefly giving a background about them and their reasons for running for office. Weekend outings on the canvassing trail are great opportunities to introduce new team members and video content of positive interactions.

Remember you can showcase many things on your stories as you have an chance to edit whatever you are putting up. Practice until you get comfortable in front of the camera.

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Live Video - Similar to Facebook, you can take live videos. What’s cool about this feature is that all of your followers get a notification when you’re broadcasting a video and they can join the viewing party by just opening the app as well as engage in real-time with your content.

Why do I now need to start using Instagram?

Reach your followers
Now is the best time to start - social media is both a blessing and curse, but approach it with a positive mindset and a plan and you can't really go too far wrong. Remember 'like' attracts 'like' so push your campaign messaging and your supporter base should follow if they are present on the media.

People use social media's such as Instagram because it is an easy to way to produce digestible content for your audience. This audience is the same group who would attend your event in the local hall and hopefully come to the polls and vote for you. Think of these people as your cheerleaders and treat them well.

Show off your personality
Be yourself. Some people develop a personality for mediums like Instagram and Youtube and these never work. People have been around too long now to be conned by a "false" politician on Instagram. Think of the reason you follow any online account. The reasons are usually simple, you enjoy the content, you gain something from viewing or you would like to do something similar in the future. Try to take these guidelines into consideration when you are thinking of content for your page.

Did I mention it’s free
For once, you don't have to pay money for talking about your campaign. It's free advertising if you can use it effectively. It only costs time and commitment. It's not a platform for everyone but it is a platform everyone should try once. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Build a brand online with Instagram but sharing uplifting messaging or friendly snaps from all your meet and greets.

It’s lockdown friendly - we have more time to watch our medias
I have noticed that many people around me are spending more time online and checking their phones. We have never been more dependent on social media for updates. Refreshing your feed to see how people are spending their time is commonplace so I would expect many more politicians to update their feeds with campaign plans in coming months.

Why not use this time to explore a new avenue and still work on your campaign.
For many younger politicians, they found audiences by doing the simple things well. Some share their hobbies such as cooking, some show off their charitable side, attending local sporting events and fundraisers. Share your musical taste, use hashtags, tag other account holders and show that you are connected in real life.

How to build your following on Instagram

Step 1:

You'll need a decent phone and download the app. Find those here;
Android users
Apple users

You can create an account with any email or if you are a Facebook user, just link that account.

Do your videos from your phone. You can record videos from your camera on your phone and then upload these from your gallery later. Remember there is no correct way to shoot content. These are not high quality video's and they are not supposed to be.

Step 2:

Use Instagram photos or stories to set out your stall. What do you want your voters to understand about you campaign that a leaflet would not say? Have a conversation with the camera like you would a real person. Yes, it's weird but everyone feels the same, eventually it will be second nature.

Think of it as being a two way conversation, ask people for feedback. Create a loop that allows you build your platform. Remember you are trying to grow a support chain.

Step 3:

Above all else be natural, use a script if you need to in the beginning but aim to move to a more casual delivery in time. Honesty is a huge thing that has creeped into Instagram stories and posts of late. People appreciate posts they can relate to but I would always advise people to do what feels comfortable for them, don't follow the trend because you think you have to.

Hopefully this helps people get started and any questions, pop us a message through our Instagram page below.

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