Social Media for Political Campaigns
You cannot run a successful political campaign without dipping your toe into the world of social media and supporter engagement. Traditional campaign strategies now include a "social media how to" section. Here at Ecanvasser we always love to encourage our users to explore lots of different platforms (there are new ones cropping up every day). We hope you can find some actionable points in the following Campaign Blueprint resource.
What's Going on With Social Media?
A lot of political activity is now happening online and that is where people are most active, whether that is commenting on a particular news website or Tweeting our support for our local sports team. People are present online and therefore social media is an excellent space to campaign during an election.
Social media sites are popping up daily and the most popular ones are the ever famous Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. For any candidate or nonprofit political software campaigner to make a digital imprint, social media is imperative.
So let's go into a little bit more detail on some of these social media sites.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are most campaigns go-to platforms. Facebook for the push, Twitter for the thoughts, Instagram for the fun and YouTube for useful explainer videos.
Taking some time and investing in growing your social media presence will aid your campaign. Segmenting your political funding to allow for a political digital marketing team is a great starting point. Engagement and building a relationship with your followers before you launch your bid is a solid way to start.
Be sure to go where your audience is and spread the word to them. It wouldn't make sense to post several times a day on a LinkedIn where you have no followers and aren't engaged in a community there.
Facebook is one of the most popular platforms around due to its constant reinvention. It's the best place to start to drive traffic to your campaign website or just boost your campaign activity. In fact, after email, Facebook and Instagram are the most powerful 'share' tools and are responsible for eliciting more contributions to political campaigns than any other social networking tool!
Ask those who have already contributed to share your run on Facebook and in relevant brand friendly Facebook groups. Build this message into the Thank You email message you send to your contributors.
Create Create political campaign Facebook Ads and boost awareness of your campaign and goal within a target audience.
Build as many correct and value adding connections as you can. When we say correct, we mean, consider yourself as a public figure and make friendships that you feel will directly benefit your campaign. People in similar roles and similar industries is a good starting point. Once you have a clear foundation made, then you can expand to reaching out to voters.
Don't be afraid to comment, share and engage. People like when they get notifications from people who they share commonalities with, It shows that you are paying attention to the issues that affect your electorate and community outreach is a driving force of any political campaign.
Create events and use Facebook to grow the attendance. Invite all the connections you have managed to build. Communities live and breath Facebook so you may as well get involved.
Don't believe anyone who tells you that Twitter is dying - it's simply not true!
It's quick, free, direct, and is a great place for you to have casual interactions with your followers. Be sure to share your short-link in your posts, and answer questions or comments about your campaign.
Just like any online forum, there is an opportunity to find yourself on the wrong side of an interaction - negative experiences are more common on Twitter than any other platform.
Be sure you have a pre-determined hashtag to rally your posts around, and include it in each of your posts (on Twitter, but also Facebook, Instagram etc.). We've seen campaigns have great success with their community rallying to post the hashtag, so much that it can trend on Facebook and Twitter! For example; #Don4Mayor or #SarahForSenate, short, sweet and bespoke.
Don't be afraid of current, trending topics. Often, these topics will get the most exposure. On Twitter, there's a sidebar highlighting the key trending topics in your location - get yourself acquainted, it's worth keeping an eye on.
Be brave, share your opinions (but only after you ask yourself, would future me Tweet this?). Be aware of backlash, however, it comes with the territory.
Speaking of which, avoid negativity if you can, the job of being a politician can be overwhelming at times, you don't need to be fighting more battles on your Twitter timeline.
Top 7 Twitter Tips
Many politicians and candidates who aren’t versed in how to run a clean and responsible account come to us and ask us one simple question, how do we share our opinion without upsetting people? This is no easy feat, however here are a few tips that might help.
- Your Twitter account is now to serve your voters/followers, you can no longer be validated by saying "opinion are my own, not those of my employer".
- We don’t mean to silence your own voice, but you must now be considerate of all your followers and overarching campaign goals.
- You have a responsibility to serve those people who may not have voted for you so be wise when choosing what you are saying.
- Don’t set out to antagonize anyone and don’t add yourself to any arguments that may not concern you or align with your political goals.
- Ask people to message you directly if you feel they are trying to confront you on an issue, always look like you are willing to listen.
- Share positive updates but also share your concerns in a democratic manner.
- Some tweets are just reflective of your thoughts at that exact moment, if you think you may change your mind later, don’t tweet it.
Instagram is a valuable social channel for display or image-driven political campaigns. If your story can be told visually or has a strong visual component, consider integrating Instagram into your Facebook and Twitter content strategies. Instagram for politics is more important now than ever, everything from the story feature, reel feature, Live feature, IGTV and guide section are all useful tools when it comes to visual campaigning. You can post quick video updates directly to your users to access any time within a 24hr window and stay on top of trending issues. Reels have proven to be a useful tool when reaching a wide audience. The combination of topic, hashtag, audio and aesthetics means you can boost your views and stay on brand.
Use the story and reels feature to help build your confidence in front of the camera. I find this great especially if you are still trying to solidify your online identity.
You control the content and tone - so use appropriately and always consider your audience.
Engage people in your conversations by tagging them in your stories.
Create Guides for your followers on your campaign goals.
Think about how often people casually search YouTube? It's a lot, isn't it?
It is a great medium where you can share your political campaign video ads and test campaign messaging. Anyone can set up a channel for free and build an audience organically. The number of politicians who have YouTube channels is pretty substantial.
You need to have a decent videographer on your team or at least have it in the budget to hire someone to produce and edit your videos as it is very time-consuming.
Ensure quality is high and that you are a candidate who is comfortable in front of the screen, practice makes perfect.
Frequent uploads are essential because having inactive accounts won't reflect well on you as a candidate.
Listening to our current users, we are aware that there can be an internal struggle of team management when it comes to organizing quickly. To get people out on doors, the back and forth over Whatsapp, Messenger, and other messaging apps, can be endless. We aim to streamline this process for you with Ecanvasser. Now organizers can commit via the Walk app (their canvassing app!) and get notified in the run-up to the event so that they don’t forget. By building it into the door knocking process life has gotten a lot easier for campaign managers.