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.
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.
Of course, you knew Facebook was going to be on this list.
And if it wasn’t first on this list, you’d pretty much know that I was full of it and this article was useless.
Facebook is the Godzilla of social media.
You may not like it, but avoiding it will be done at your own peril.
There are 2.45 billion users on Facebook worldwide — and 223 million users in the United States of America.
With a population of 323 million, that means 69% of Americans are on Facebook.
Users aged 65 and up are the fastest-growing demographic using Facebook.
74% of Facebook users earn $75,000 or more each year and 74% have a college degree.
That means that the most informed and engaged voters in any election are on Facebook.
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.
And since Facebook is the only platform that is allowing political ads at this time, it is the social media platform of choice for political candidates and campaigns.
For more information on marketing on Facebook, see this article from SpoutSocial.
Now to advertise on Facebook you need two things:
1. You need a Facebook Page.
You can’t advertise from your Facebook user profile.
Your campaign needs it’s own Facebook Page.
This isn’t a substitute for a website by the way. That’s your home base.
A Facebook Page is an outpost for your campaign.
2. You need to be authorized to run political ads.
Facebook has taken a lot of flak from the 2016 Election, some of it justified — some of it 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.
Instagram is owned by Facebook, but it’s a much different type of social media experience.
Instagram is all about pictures and videos.
116 million Americans use Instagram.
Unlike its parent company, Instagram skews to a younger demographic.
The largest group of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 34.
If you’re running in a presidential election, Instagram is vital for you to reach the Millenial and Gen Z voters.
And since this platform is also owned by Facebook, your campaign can also advertise on Instagram.
Facebook makes this easy to do but integrating Instagram into its Ad Manager so you can create and target your ads in the same place.
To learn more about Instagram stats, you can visit this article by SproutSocial.
To advertise on Instagram you need to do three things:
1. An Instagram Business Account
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
2. Link your Instagram Business Account to your Facebook Page.
This is done on Facebook and takes barely any time at all.
3. You must be authorized to run political ads on Instagram.
This is very easy to do, relatively speaking.
All you need to do is get your Facebook Page authorized to run ads.
If you’ve linked your Instagram Account to your Page, then you’re authorized to run political ads on Instagram too.
Nextdoor is a hyper-localized app that connects neighbors within a specific community and keeps others out.
According to the Nextdoor website:
“It’s where communities come together to keep a local shopkeeper in business.
Where neighbors exchange recommendations for babysitters, plans for local events, and tips about what to order at that new cafe down the street.
Where local agencies connect with neighbors in need.”
Nextdoor is used by one in five households in the United States.
The conversations that are happening here are right in your very own community — specifically your postal zip code.
Nextdoor is a social media platform where you can literally keep your finger on the pulse of the community where you live.
As a candidate for office, it’s essential that you know what the people you want to represent are really talking about.
Nextdoor is probably the best place for you to be doing this, learning about important issues, and getting to know people.
This isn’t a place for you to be actively campaigning at large.
But you can get your candidacy and your message out to your immediate neighbors.
And these are the voters who you’d likely be talking to first as you start your campaign outreach.
If you’re not already using Nextdoor, tap this link to sign up.
And to learn more about using Nextdoor, check out this article by Hootsuite.
What About Twitter?
Yep, Twitter did not make the list for essential social media platforms for political candidates.
Why’s this you ask?
- If you don’t already have at least ten thousand Twitter followers, no one will be noticing anything you tweet.
- Twitter no longer allows political advertising on its platform.
- Twitter randomly censors political content without clear rhyme or reason.
- Twitter is deleting and banning users engaged in political speech, especially conservatives.
- Twitter users enjoy being casually cruel to anyone with an opinion that differs from their own.
Any one of these reasons is enough for a political candidate to wisely choose to avoid being on Twitter — especially the fact that your campaign can’t advertise on the platform.
All five of these together make an excellent case for staying off of Twitter and spending your time and energy on its competitors.
And the three social media platforms essential mentioned in this article, are exactly where you should be starting.