The Essential Social Media Platforms for Political Candidates

Social media is an incredible development that allows everyone to keep in touch with individuals they know, connect with people they’ve never met before, and share their opinions and views on any and every topic.

That’s why having a presence on social media is a must for political candidates.

But there are so many platforms these days and you can’t be on them all — at least not effectively.

And not all social media platforms are equal.

So where should you as a candidate for public office be investing your time, energy, and resources when it comes to social media?

At this time there are three social media platforms that your campaign needs to be using.

1. Facebook

Of course, you knew Facebook was going to be on this list.

Facebook is the Godzilla of social media.

  • Facebook is the third most visited site in the world
  • Over 243 million Americans are on Facebook
  • 2/3rds of Facebook users are on the platform daily
  • Americans spend on average 30 minutes each day on Facebook
  • Facebook is a top sight for many users to get their news

On top of that, Facebook also has an incredible ad service that allows you to target voters at a very specific level.

You can even import voter lists into Facebook’s Ads Manager to ensure you’re only communicating with voters.

However, campaigns cannot advertise on Facebook from a personal user profile.

Your campaign needs it’s own Facebook Page.

This isn’t a substitute for a website by the way.  Your website is your campaign’s digital home base.

A Facebook Page is merely an outpost for your campaign.

Facebook has taken a lot of flak from the 2016 Election, some of it justified but the most egregious stories were fabricated to fit a political narrative.

To prevent this, Facebook has created a complicated and overly convoluted process for people to authenticate who they are before running political or issues ads.

So if you don’t have a Facebook Page for your campaign and/or your page isn’t authorized to run ads, as soon as you finish reading this article, you need to tap this link and get authorized to run political ads on Facebook without further delay.

For more on Facebook, check out this information from SpoutSocial.

2. Instagram

Instagram is owned by Meta which also owns Facebook, but it’s a much different type of social media experience.

Instagram is all about pictures and videos.  And most people say they are on Instagram to be entertained, so keep that in mind as you share on the platform.

  • Over 169 million Americans are on Instagram
  • Adult Americans average spending 33 minutes each day on Instagram
  • Instagram Reels (short videos) have the best reach on the platform.
  • Short narrative type Stories are the most popular type of content
  • The platform is more male than female, and mostly younger adults

Since Instagram is part of Meta and Facebook, your campaign can also advertise here.

Facebook makes this easy to do by integrating Instagram into its Ad Manager and Meta Business Suite. In one place you can create and target your campaign ads.

You want to set up an Instagram business account for your campaign.

This can be done by either creating a business account specifically for your campaign or by converting your personal Instagram account into a business account

After you set up your campaign’s Instagram account, you want to link it to your campaign’s Facebook page.

This is done within Facebook and takes barely any time at all.

And to get authorized to run political ads on Instagram, all you need to do is get your Facebook Page authorized to run those ads.

If you’ve linked your Instagram Account to your Page, then you’re authorized to run political ads on Instagram too.

To learn more about Instagram stats, you can visit this article by SproutSocial.

3. You Tube

Yes, You Tube is a social media platform.

It’s also the second most visited website only behind Google which is number one.

Oh and since Google owns You Tube it makes sense that with Google being the top search engine, You Tube is also the second most popular search engine. Sorry Bing.

  • People spend 48.7 minutes each day on You Tube
  • The United States drives the most You Tube traffic
  • You Tube ads are considered more relevant than regular TV ads
  • You Tube it the top platform for the viewing of live content
  • Baby Shark Dance is the most viewed video on You Tube of all time with over 14,000,000,000 views.

Your campaign needs to be on You Tube.  You must have a channel for your campaign.  This is where you will post both your long and short form videos.

You Tube also makes it simple embed your videos and its player into your website (as I did with the video above) so no only do they want you to use their tools, they make it easy to do.

What About Twitter?

You mean X?

I don’t consider X (the social media platform formerly known as Twitter) to be a place where a political candidate must have a presences.

That’s Twitter did not make the list for essential social media platforms for political candidates.

Why’s this you ask?

  1. If you don’t already have at least ten thousand X followers, no one will be noticing anything you tweet.
  2. X relies on real time news, information, and interactions. Being on any social media platform constantly is a waste of a candidate’s precious time.
  3. X users enjoy being casually cruel to anyone with an opinion that differs from their own.

But don’t sweat not having an account on X.  The other three social media have plenty of options to occupy your time and those platforms reach many voters in America.