Published: June 8, 2020
Social media platforms provide free and creative marketing tools for candidates, especially as voters socially distance and spend more time scrolling, clicking, and “like”ing.
Authenticity and honesty make for the most interesting and captivating content, which are keys to winning over voters.
Harnessing the power of social media is not just about scrolling and re-posting. All of the major platforms prize new content. Whether it comes as written blogs, selfies, graphically-designed posts or video, the logarithms promote what’s new.
The entire point of introducing a candidate on social media is to increase name awareness and drive traffic back to the appropriate website landing page. One way to create original, shareable content is adding a section to your campaign website that replicates a blog (though no reason to call it a blog since blogs are so…bloggy). Slightly less-formal content (e.g. “reflections from the campaign trail”) translates to original content that can be published on Facebook and LinkedIn or combined with an image for Instagram and Pinterest.
Keep in mind that most well-performing social media content accomplishes these specific goals:
Political candidates can share their vision easily and economically by harnessing the many different platforms, as long as they spend time engaging with followers (which is equally important to posting) and playing by the platform’s ground rules (i.e. what works on Twitter doesn’t necessarily work on Facebook).
A quick recap of platforms available to candidates:
Gets a bad rap these days for being for boomers, but folks: everyone’s on it, it’s the easiest to share, and you can repost almost everything from other platforms onto it.
Has a high amount of BIPOC. You may use it as a press release platform. Also, humor loves brevity.
Skews greatly female and slightly higher usage by white people.
Skews slightly male, but is used by more people than even Facebook.
Skews slightly male and white, but can be effective in dispersing position papers and newsworthy items.
Skews slightly female and is used heavily across all demographics.
Used intensively by younger folks (read: new voters)
We all know what a force TT is and how it favors the youth.
Here are twenty steps for getting started on the social media sites to win your campaign during COVID-19:
Make a social media calendar for regular posting.
Post weekly on all platforms on a scheduled basis.
Set aside 15 minutes per day to engage with your platforms—especially FB, IG and Twitter. Schedule it and make it intentional and focused.
Make a 30 second introduction video:
“Hi, I’m _____ and I’m running for ______ because 1. ____, 2._____, 3.____. You can learn more on my website at ______.”
Post your introductory video on FB, IG (including stories), YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest (now accepts videos), and TikTok (with text and overlays). Whenever possible, “pin” your video to the top of the social feed.
Have a folder on a phone or computer to store quotes, photos and memes for evergreen content.
Spend an hour following thought leaders across all channels—consider politicians, celebrities, influencers and brands that align (or even do not align) with the campaign.
Spend fifteen minutes per day engaging with and commenting on the posts of followers.
Have a friend record bits of campaign speeches (even on zoom) and post.
Snap a few pictures of local businesses and favorite aspects of the candidate’s neighborhood. Occasionally share and highlight these and share thoughts on them.
Make a campaign platform top 10 list (or top 5? Or top 15?) and divide into singular graphics to post repeatedly across platforms. These may be reposted every few weeks.
Make sure IG feed and stories automatically post to FB feed to eliminate one step in the cross-feed.
Have friends make a testimonial video to post to IG feed “Why I’m supporting _____ for ____”.
Post pictures of campaign signs on all social platforms. Make it “Where’s Waldo”-esque.
Do NOT take pictures with beer, wine or liquor in hand.
Remind people of voting/registering/vote-by-mail deadlines in video and written form.
You the candidate are a thought leader. People want to know what you think—keep it positive, constructive and informative (no need to be negative).
Don’t overthink social media. Just create content. Know facts, be humble. But don’t overthink it.