In 2008 Barack Obama changed the face of elections forever when his campaign brought social media into mainstream campaigning. Today it’s unheard of for a candidate not to have at least some presence on social media, but what hasn’t changed is the value of the endorsement of their supporters. Now more than ever your voice can support the candidates and issues you believe in, especially online, but there are things you can do to make sure your voice is heard clearly.
Be strategic with your content
The personal endorsement of a supporter can do more for a campaign than any other paid or earned media because it shows that you not only support a candidate but gave the time and energy to explain why and share it with the people you know. Once you’ve decided to post online about the candidate or issue you support, remember that every social media platform favors different media types. So rather than posting the same message across all platforms, start by planning out your post, then create versions based on the platform you’re using.
Facebook: Try to include a photo or video and try not to include a link. Instead tag the candidate or organization’s Facebook page using the “@” sign.
Twitter: Keep your message short and include relevant hashtags only since your hashtags count against your character limit. Adding pictures to your tweet can be helpful as well.
Instagram: Post your photos and videos on Instagram and use relevant hashtags. Don’t include a link in your post because viewers won’t be able to click it. Tag the candidate if possible using the “@” sign.
Plan Your Message
When you’re sharing your support for a candidate or issue online, be sure to plan your message before you post for maximum impact. Make sure your message clearly includes the name of the person, organization or issue you are advocating for, give the reasons for your support and close with a call to action.
Use Photos and Videos
You’ve probably heard that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and that is true on social media as well. Not only does the current social media algorithm favor photos and videos, it does so because that’s what viewers want to see. If you can share your message about the campaign you support in a video, it is more likely to beat the algorithm and get you more views and interactions.
Photos of you in a campaign t-shirt, with a yard sign, or volunteering are great visuals. If you’re using a video, plan out the message you want to share. Make sure to record in a quiet location and speak clearly.
Hashtag for Reach
Hashtags can be triggered using the “#” sign when you create your post and are a great way to expose your message to a greater audience; however, hashtags should be used strategically to accomplish your goals. If the candidate or community has a hashtag, be sure to include it, which will help to be sure it is seen by a local audience. If you’re including a national hashtag and your message is local, it may be lost in the noise, so just because the hashtag has a large following, it might not be helpful to the campaign you support.
There is huge potential to support campaigns online when you may not be able to volunteer in person, and social media will continue to be a growing outlet for campaign messaging. By backing your message with a plan, you will generate the most impact possible for the causes you support.