Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (2022)

Like it or not, social media and politics have become inseparable.

That’s because so much of our political discourse happens via social media.

Why, though? Tweets and comments represent the modern-day public forum. Social media’s ability to break news in real-time has transformed the way we absorb information.

Meanwhile, the ability to go back-and-forth with voters and constituents directly is invaluable to politicians looking to sway public opinion.

And so politicians from both sides of the aisle now represent some of the busiest accounts across social (note that two of the most-followed Twitter accounts are American presidents).

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (1)

Navigating social media and politics can be tricky for those responsible for managing public accounts, though. That’s exactly why we put together this guide.

10 best practices for social media and politics

Below we’ve broken down some key topics and best practices when it comes to social media for political campaigns.

From figuring out your content strategy to dealing with trolls, we’ve got you covered.

1. Engage the public via live video

Live video has taken over political social media.

Serving as a sort of alternative to traditional newscasts, social media video empowers politicians to break their own news and have conversations with constituents in real-time.

For example, many politicians have taken to regular live streaming on Facebook and Instagram as a way to interact with voters and non-voters alike. Rather than just talkat voters, live video encourages both meaningful and personable conversations.

MFW I’ve done what feels like 800 livestreams, interviews, zoom calls, FB lives and IG stories this week and someone asks me to make a TikTok pic.twitter.com/YxZYCf9r4o

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 2, 2020

(Video) How Social Media Strategy Changed Election Campaigns

Live social video is especially powerful for smaller, local politicians who need to address issues that might not be receiving mainstream news coverage.

For example, Florida House Representative Anna Eskamani has extensively used Facebook Live throughout the COVID-19 situation to keep voters informed about unemployment benefits and more.

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (2)

From behind-the-scenes footage to virtual town halls, live video is arguably one of the most compelling features of social media that politicians should be taking advantage of.

2. (Fact-)check yourself prior to publishing

This might seem like a no-brainer but it’s worth noting.

Social media serves as a news source for over half of Americans, with many people checking in multiple times daily for updates. To say that political news moves quickly would be an understatement.

That’s why it’s so important to take a proactive approach against misinformation. This also includes making statements or comments that you might need to walk back because you didn’t take the time to fact-check them.

Anyone running social media for political campaigns has a responsibility to be, well, responsible.

False claims and misinformation are difficult to contain once they’ve been made. As such, make sure to put together some sort of approval process or at the very least double-check your sources and wording before making potentially controversial claims.

Remember: social media and politics isn’t a free-for-all. In a day and age where Presidential tweets are considered public record, there are real-world consequences that go along with a politician’s social presence.

3. Don’t count out “younger” social platforms

Twitter and Facebook are the go-to platforms for political accounts.

And based on social media demographics and how age groups traditionally vote, this makes perfect sense.

But don’t count out the likes of millennials and Gen Z, both of which represent growing voter bases interested in activism. We’re seeing more and more congresspeople, senators and governors investing in Instagram, for example.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Democratic Primary saw its first taste of candidates taking to TikTok…

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (3)

…and even Snapchat.

(Video) Social Media Strategies for Political Campaigns

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (4)

The takeaway here is that there is no “single” platform when it comes to social media and politics. This also speaks to the importance of cross-posting your social content to multiple networks when possible for the sake of saving time and reaching more voters.

4. Put your fundraising efforts front-and-center

We already know that platforms like Facebook represent a massive force for fundraising and ad spend. Political ads are no exception.

For reference, you can look up any given political candidate via Facebook’s Ad Library to see how much their campaigns are spending (spoiler alert: a lot).

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (5)

We won’t get into the anatomy of a perfect political ad on Facebook: just know that fundraising is central to social media and politics.

Beyond running Facebook ads, requesting donations via secure links is likewise fair game. For example, many candidates put their donation links in their social bios or as a dedicated “pinned” post.

Congress legislates. Support a congressional candidate that will out-work the corporate lobbyists: https://t.co/6FALlcnuja. Our campaign advanced to the runoffs in Texas! Help us win: 1⃣ Chip in if you can. 2⃣ Phone bank. 3⃣ RT and spread the word! https://t.co/E5syDoMFsA

— Donna Imam (@donnaimamTX) April 10, 2020

Of course, don’t use social media as a place to spam donation messages. Instead, weave them into your content strategy as-needed alongside news and other informational posts.

5. Learn how to deal with trolls

It’s common to deal with burnout as a social media manager.

And if you’re managing social media for political campaigns, you know this all too well.

Trolling and harassment. Comment spam. Mass reporting.

Unfortunately, all of the above come with the territory of social media and politics.

Beyond developing a thick skin, perhaps the best advice we can offer is to do your best to ignore such comments and not feed the trolls. Try to emphasize a sense of community in the comments and don’t encourage needless fighting. This all circles back to tip #2.

(Video) The Best Social Media Campaign in The World Costed 0$

As a side note, bear in mind that public officials can’t block people on Facebook. There’s plenty of debate over whether or not doing so is legal or ethical as social media is seen as a public forum.

Leave it to supporters and community members to report inappropriate posts. If possible, try to push more intense disagreements into your DMs or private messages when appropriate. Whatever you do, be civil.

6. Recognize that not everybody is interested in politics

Comparing social media and politics to that of a business or brand is apples and oranges.

Sure, your goal to grow your follower account and increase the exposure of your campaign.

But as noted in our guide to social media and government, political accounts are seen as the most “annoying” by the public at large.

Why? Some people don’t want to engage with politics or the government on social media. Perhaps they’re burnt out, don’t want to argue with anyone or simply aren’t interested.

Heck, some people go out of their way to block and avoid political discussions via social media.

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (6)

Don’t take it personally, though. Attracting followers and support might seem like an uphill battle at times.

And that’s fine. Just focus on your goals and engaging with accounts and followers relevant to your cause first and foremost.

7. Consistently ask (and answer) questions

Asking questions is a proven way to boost engagement on social media.

As highlighted by tip #1, Q&As are the bread and butter of political accounts. Posing topical questions to your follower is a simple way to encourage a bit of back-and-forth. Likewise, it’s a way to show that you’re willing to listen to your constituents.

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (7)

Using platforms such as Instagram Stories, you can vet your questions privately and post the answers publicly to your followers. This allows you to publish more thoughtful responses and likewise serve as something voters can reference in the future.

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (8)

8. Score more shares with visual content

Visual content such as videos and infographics are among the most-shared social content out there. This rings true across pretty much every platform.

If you’re making an important announcement, consider how you can put together a visual to match up with it. For example, you could easily whip up a graphic like the one below with a tool like Canva.

(Video) Setting up Facebook Ads for Political Campaigns

We've identified six key indicators we need to see in order to be confident that we can begin a safe reopening of RI's economy: pic.twitter.com/8S7HBGikqo

— Gina Raimondo (@GovRaimondo) April 20, 2020

Don’t worry about investing a ton of time and energy into editing if you’re looking to get on board with video, by the way. Off-the-cuff cell phone footage has become a staple of political social media, after all.

The benefit of posting visual content is that it’s prime for sharing, which in turn gets your campaign account in front of more voters. In turn, you set yourself up for fresh followers who can learn about your platform and what you stand for. Think of such sharing as a sort of digital word of mouth.

9. Find time for positive, non-partisan posts

With a staggering 91% of Americans agreeing that political tensions are high, we can’t deny the divide that’s apparent when we look at politics and social media.

Not everything has to be partisan, though. Note what we said earlier about the fact that not everyone wants to hear about politics. This might also be the case for people thatdo follow you.

Especially now, a positive story “just because” can be a much-needed break from debates and heavy discussions. Consider some types of content for followers regardless of party affiliation including uplifting local stories and holiday celebrations.

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (9)

10. Make a point to post daily

With so many political campaign strategies made possible by social media, there’s a lot of content to juggle.

Donation requests. Upcoming events and elections. Legislation updates.

And that doesn’t even include real-time news that happens from day-to-day.

Given how quickly the world of politics evolves, it’s important to have your most important updates and content organized and queued up.

That’s where Sprout Social’s publishing toolscan come in handy. Allowing you to schedule and publish content across multiple platforms, you don’t have to second-guess whether or not a crucial update was sent out voters.

Social media and politics: 10 best practices for campaigns to know (10)

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

(Video) Campaign Strategy in 10 steps

Ready to take on the world of social media and politics?

Listen: there’s a lot that goes into any social media political campaign.

Understanding what to post and how to wrangle your responses will ultimately empower you to build support and a sense of community around your candidacy.

And if you want help with doing exactly that, we encourage you to check out our social media toolkit! Given how busy political accounts are, having more help is always a plus.

FAQs

How social media is used in politics? ›

A communication platform such as social media is persuasive, and often works to change or influence opinions when it comes to political views because of the abundance of ideas, thoughts, and opinions circulating through the social media platform.

Why is social media good for campaigns? ›

Social media enables you to add value to your stakeholders in a targeted way, allowing you to communicate faster, more often and with greater relevance. Satisfied customers are more likely to share their experiences with others online which will in turn help to promote your brand and bring in new customers.

What's a social media campaign? ›

Definition: A social media campaign is a coordinated marketing effort to reinforce or assist with a business goal using one or more social media platforms. Campaigns differ from everyday social media efforts because of their increased focus, targeting and measurability.

What is the impact of social media on society? ›

In today's world, it is undeniable that social media plays an important role in impacting our culture, our economy and our overall view of the world. Social media is a new forum that brings people to exchange idea, connect with, relate to, and mobilize for a cause, seek advice, and offer guidance.

In what ways is media responsible for promoting the public good? ›

The media also promote the public good by offering a platform for public debate and improving citizen awareness. Network news informs the electorate about national issues, elections, and international news.

How is social media used in campaign management? ›

  1. Step 1: Define Your Social Media Campaign Goals. ...
  2. Step 2: Identify the Social Media Channels You'll Use. ...
  3. Step 3: Plan Your Social Media Campaign Strategies. ...
  4. Step 4: Choose the Metrics You Want To Monitor. ...
  5. Step 5: Create a Social Media Content Calendar. ...
  6. Step 6: Design Your Marketing Assets Using Free Online Tools.
Mar 1, 2021

How do you make a successful campaign? ›

Top 10 key components to a successful marketing campaign
  1. Clearly define your target audience.
  2. Establish your goals.
  3. Define your budget.
  4. Create targeted content.
  5. Engage with your audience.
  6. Offer something valuable.
  7. Up your chances of going viral.
  8. Distribute and promote your campaign.

What are some awareness campaigns? ›

Top Five Public Awareness Campaigns
  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The Ice Bucket Challenge was random, let's be honest. ...
  • No Make-Up Selfie. This social media campaign began and the UK and spread virally throughout Australia. ...
  • ControlArms.org. ...
  • Stop The Traffik – Sex Worker Dance Video. ...
  • Water is Life – First World Problems.

How effective is social media promotion? ›

According to HubSpot, social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing tactics. That could be because every post you make and each interaction you have on your social media channels is an opportunity to convert an interested lead into a happy customer.

What is the importance of awareness campaign? ›

Awareness campaigns can address groups of people in a region affected by a particular climate threat, groups of stakeholders, the general public, etc. The ultimate aim of such campaigns is to achieve long-term lasting behavioural changes. Awareness raising addresses the knowledge of individuals and organisations.

What is the best way to raise awareness? ›

Here's how you can raise awareness for it.
  1. Wear It. Clothing and accessories such as t-shirts, caps, rubber or silicone wristbands, and button pins are among the most common items you can use to display your support for a cause. ...
  2. Raise Funds. ...
  3. Donate. ...
  4. Volunteer and Participate. ...
  5. Talk About It Online. ...
  6. Research. ...
  7. Recruit.

How do you start a campaign? ›

How to Launch a Marketing Campaign for Your Small Business in 7 Easy Steps
  1. What is a Marketing Campaign? ...
  2. Step 1: Choose Your End Goal. ...
  3. Step 2: Set Your Campaign Budget. ...
  4. Step 3: Identify Your Target Audience. ...
  5. Step 4: Design Your Content. ...
  6. Step 5: Choose Your Channels. ...
  7. Step 6: Launch and Monitor. ...
  8. Step 7: Analyze the Results.

When did politicians start using social media? ›

In recent years, political figures have been using Twitter more often, but Facebook remains to be a frequently-used social media platform. The 2008 presidential election was the first election where candidates used the Internet and social media as a campaign tool.

How do politicians most use the media to win elections and to perform better as policymakers quizlet? ›

How do politicians most use the media to win elections and to perform better as policymakers? They use the media to share their ideas and to sell their political messages and ideas to voters. Which best describes why candidates and politicians use the Internet? They must use the same media that citizens use.

What effect does social media have on democracy? ›

Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google hold the potential to alter civic engagement, thus essentially hijacking democracy, by influencing individuals toward a particular way of thinking.

What is the role of the media in democratic society? ›

First, it ensures that citizens make responsible, informed choices rather than acting out of ignorance or misinformation. Second, information serves a “checking function” by ensuring that elected representatives uphold their oaths of office and carry out the wishes of those who elected them.

What is the purpose of political communication? ›

Political communication is a subfield of communication and political science that is concerned with how information spreads and influences politics, policy makers, the news media, and citizens.

How does social media affect elections and campaigns quizlet? ›

Social media can help voters get more informed about politics, but it can also provide false information that could affect the voters' opinions in a negative way. It can stir up trouble and cause friendships to end over contradicting political beliefs.

How media and information provides economic opportunities? ›

Media improves the efficiency of the economy by providing actors more and better information with which to make decisions and improving stability. III. Media catalyzes positive changes in society by providing the information that influences public opinion.

Why is it important to have media coverage of government elections quizlet? ›

It helps people have a comprehensive understanding of all of the issues. It introduces the public to only the candidates who have the best chance of winning. It encourages people to vote for the right candidate based on the media's informed opinions.

Which best describes how media coverage influences elections quizlet? ›

Which best describes how media coverage influence elections? It gives voters an impression of the candidates.

How has the Internet revolutionized political campaigns quizlet? ›

How has the Internet revolutionized political campaigns? It has drastically reduced the need for traditional forms of advertising. It has increased foreign participation in elections. It has increased competition between candidates.

Which social media platform is the most effective? ›

Instagram

Instagram has well surpassed 1 billion monthly users, which is no surprise considering how the app blends the personal and professional with each new feature. If you're wondering whether a meaningful segment of your audience spends time on the platform, the answer is most likely a resounding yes.

What are the benefits of social media? ›

Here are five benefits of using social media:
  • Build relationships. Social media is not just about brands connecting with their customers. ...
  • Share your expertise. Social media gives you an opportunity to talk about what you know and what you want to be known for. ...
  • Increase your visibility. ...
  • Educate yourself. ...
  • Connect anytime.
Apr 22, 2014

In what way social media violates human rights? ›

Social media has been weaponized to spread disinformation, interfere in elections, and promote and incite violence. And websites and apps are continuously collecting broad swaths of data on their users — often without them being aware of it, or of how or where their personal information is being used or stored.

How did media contribute to our society? ›

Purpose of Media

The purpose of a media is to give information about current news, gossips, Fashion, and the latest gadgets in the marketplace of the people. The role of a media has to be one way trading and marketing of products, and prejudices. It gives geographical knowledge about how people divided.

How does the media promote democracy? ›

The media has given political parties the tools to reach large numbers of people and inform them on key issues ranging from policies to elections. The media can be seen as an enabler for democracy; having better-educated voters would lead to a more legitimate government.

How does media protect the democratic interests of the public? ›

Answer: The Media protects the democratic interest by spreading awareness about the problems and benefits of existing system, which helps them in their decision making about public affairs.

Videos

1. What is the best for Election Campaign Social Media or Digital Media Marketing I Sanjay Ahluwalia
(Sanjay Ahluwalia)
2. 5 Social Media Campaign Examples From Big Brands You Want to Be
(They Ask, You Answer taught by IMPACT)
3. Digital Marketing for Politicians - Best Digital Marketing Strategy for Political Campaigns in 2021
(Digital Journey with Siddharth)
4. How to Develop a Social Media Strategy Step by Step
(Latasha James)
5. 9 Social Media Video Tips for Marketers
(Visme)
6. PDF CEE Talks “Election campaigns on social networks. What needs to change”
(Fundacja Moje Państwo)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Arielle Torp

Last Updated: 08/13/2022

Views: 6347

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Arielle Torp

Birthday: 1997-09-20

Address: 87313 Erdman Vista, North Dustinborough, WA 37563

Phone: +97216742823598

Job: Central Technology Officer

Hobby: Taekwondo, Macrame, Foreign language learning, Kite flying, Cooking, Skiing, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Arielle Torp, I am a comfortable, kind, zealous, lovely, jolly, colorful, adventurous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.