Guidelines and Greatest Practices for 2023

Social media and politics have been firmly entwined ever since then-candidate Barack Obama used social networks to launch a grassroots 2008 presidential marketing campaign that engaged voters and donors in methods not seen earlier than in federal politics.

In 2008, Obama had 5 million social followers unfold over 15 social networks. In contrast, immediately, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has 8.6 million followers on Instagram alone. Donald Trump has 87.5 million Twitter followers.

It doesn’t matter what you concentrate on the position of social media in politics, it’s secure to say that it has grow to be a important part of political campaigns. Learn on for info, stats, and greatest practices for utilizing social media in politics.

Social media and politics: Stats and info

1. U.S. advertisers have spent $3.79 billion on Meta adverts about “social points, elections or politics” since Could 2018

That’s way back to information goes within the Meta Advert Library, which reveals all advert spending on this particular promoting class. Throughout that point, there have been practically 15 million adverts on this class.

Meta Ad Library Tools

Supply: Meta Advert Library Report

The number-one all-time prime spender is Mike Bloomberg 2020 Inc. The marketing campaign spent greater than $63 million to advertise Mike Bloomberg’s Fb Web page throughout his presidential bid.

2. American political candidates shared practically 14,000 Tweets per day in October 2022

That’s based mostly on a Pew Analysis evaluation. It checked out accounts for greater than 8,000 candidates on the federal, state, and native degree main as much as the midterm elections. Within the 10 months main as much as the midterms, they posted practically 3.4 million Tweets.

3. 38% of Democrats belief social media data, in comparison with 27% of Republicans

General, Individuals are more and more getting their information from social media websites (extra on that later). However they nonetheless don’t belief the knowledge they discover on social to just about the identical diploma as they do data sourced from extra conventional media organizations.

Democrats are more likely to trust national news outlets than Republicans

Supply: Pew Analysis Heart

Nonetheless, Democrats and those that lean left are more likely to belief the knowledge they discover on social media websites than are their Republican counterparts.

Republicans’ view of the influence of social media on politics and the general public opinion typically can also be extra unfavourable than that of Democrats. For instance, 83% of Democrats say social media is an efficient device for elevating public consciousness about political or social points. However solely 71% of Republicans agree.

4. 23% of U.S. social media customers publish about political points

On Twitter, the quantity is far increased: 45% of U.S. adults say they’ve Tweeted about political or social points throughout the final 12 months. And 33% of Twitter content material incorporates some type of political content material.

5. 87% of social media customers in superior economies say social has been a superb factor for democracy

General, individuals say social media has the best constructive influence on being knowledgeable about present occasions – each regionally and around the globe. The best perceived unfavourable influence is the potential for misinformation.

most say that social media has been good for democracy but has had important negative and positive effects on politics and society

Supply: Pew Analysis Heart

6. However 64% of Individuals say social media has been dangerous for democracy

The USA is one among solely three international locations surveyed the place the vast majority of individuals mentioned social media was dangerous for democracy. The others had been the Netherlands (54%) and France (51%).

more Americans see negative political impact of the internet and social media, compared with other countries surveyed

Supply: Pew Analysis Heart

How does social media have an effect on politics?

Social media is a supply of stories

Individuals’ use of social media for information hit a peak through the 2020 lockdowns and has solely dipped barely since. Half of Individuals both generally or usually get their information from social.

graph of news consumption on social media

Supply: Pew Analysis Heart Social Media and Information Truth Sheet

After all, generally social media can also be the supply of political information that results in extra mainstream media information shops. For instance, from early 2016 till his Twitter and Fb accounts had been blocked in January 2021, it was inconceivable to keep away from information protection of Donald Trump’s social media posts, even for those who by no means visited a social media website.

Social media generally is a place to interrupt information or a spot to make information, relying how you utilize it.

Social media is a platform for political campaigns

Social media is an efficient platform for campaigns to get out their message and generate marketing campaign funds.

It’s an particularly necessary device for getting youthful voters excited concerning the democratic course of. 47% of 18-to-29-year-olds within the US. say social media has a constructive influence on democracy, in comparison with solely 23% of these over 50. That group of younger adults consists of new voters eligible to take part in elections for the primary time.

Politicians and political campaigns use social media, together with social media political adverts, to garner consideration and assist even outdoors of election cycles. Having a look on the Meta Advert Library reveals which social media political campaigns are operating adverts on Fb and Instagram in actual time.

Facebook political campaign Meta Ad Library

Supply: Meta Advert Library

Social media can assist enhance voter participation

Get out the vote (#GOTV) and voter training campaigns have grow to be a social media staple. Since these campaigns usually purpose to get extra youthful individuals out to vote, social media is a pure platform.

For instance, the nonprofit Symbolize.Us created a social marketing campaign wherein celebrities bought bare to clarify the intricacies of voting by mail (together with the potential for disqualified “bare ballots”).

Rock The Vote has been encouraging youth voter participation since 1990. Social media has grow to be a key pillar of their work, and in 2022 they reached greater than 12 million individuals on social media.


Diddy in 2000 for our #RapTheVote marketing campaign 🗳️ #RockTheVote #BlackHistoryMonth #Diddy #PDiddy #VoteTok #Throwback

♬ authentic sound – Rock The Vote

After which there’s the darkish facet…

It’s inconceivable to speak concerning the energy of social media in politics with out acknowledging the methods wherein it has gone fallacious over time. Maybe the best-known instance is the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Information from hundreds of thousands of Fb customers was secretly harvested and misused to “micro-target” voters within the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Twitter was additionally a supply of problematic content material and misinformation within the 2016 election, together with by means of content material posted by Russian “coordinated affect accounts.”

In response, social platforms bulked up their guidelines for political content material and, particularly, social media political adverts. Fb additionally eradicated sure types of advert concentrating on.

Guidelines and laws for a social media political marketing campaign

Guidelines for political adverts on Fb and Instagram

Meta has a particular algorithm for adverts that fall throughout the class of “social points, elections, or politics.” These embrace adverts for or about political candidates, PACs, elections, voting, social points, and different political promoting.

These adverts should undergo an advert authorization course of that features checking authorities ID and having a residential handle within the nation wherein the adverts will run.

Advertisements on this class will need to have a disclaimer stating who paid for the advert, accessed by means of an “About this advert” button.

about this ad BC Green Party paid for this ad

Supply: Fb

Guidelines for political adverts on Twitter

Guidelines for Twitter political adverts range by nation. In lots of areas, political adverts will not be allowed in any respect.

Nevertheless, in the US, political adverts are allowed so long as they:

  • Don’t embrace false or deceptive content material
  • Adjust to disclosure and content material legal guidelines

U.S. political campaigning adverts can solely be promoted by means of Promoted Advertisements and Follower Advertisements (different Twitter advert varieties are off-limits). Advertisers should be based mostly inside the US and should get pre-approval to run political marketing campaign adverts.

Guidelines for political adverts on TikTok

TikTok doesn’t permit political adverts. It’s necessary to make clear that features political branded content material – paying creators to publish political content material is just not allowed on the platform.

TikTok bans for presidency workers and units

Many governments and authorities companies have outright banned TikTok on office units, and even on workers’ private units if they’re additionally used for work functions. This consists of at the very least 25 U.S. states, all U.S. authorities companies, the U.S. Senate, the Authorities of Canada, and the European Fee.

This impacts many political campaigns, particularly these run by incumbents – whose staffers are authorities workers. Earlier than making a TikTok account, and even downloading the app onto your system, verify together with your employer to see for those who fall below a TikTok ban.

For extra particulars on utilizing social media after being elected, try our posts on social media and authorities and social media compliance.

6 ideas for operating an efficient social media political marketing campaign

1. Know the place your viewers is energetic

Any efficient social media marketing campaign begins with viewers analysis. The place is your viewers spending most of their time on social media?

This chart from Pew Analysis is an efficient place to begin. For instance, Fb and YouTube have bigger representations of Republican and Republican-leaning voters, whereas Reddit and Snapchat are most popular by Democrats.

demographic profiles and party identification of regular social media news consumers in the U.S.

Supply: Pew Analysis Heart Social Media and Information Truth Sheet

A strong social listening technique will assist you to higher perceive who’s already speaking about your candidate or social difficulty on-line, and which platforms they’re utilizing.

2. Publish constantly

It is likely to be tempting to blast your social channels with content material within the weeks or months surrounding an election and fall silent afterwards. This might trigger followers to tune you out (and even mute you) throughout your content material blitz and neglect about you when your account goes dormant.

As a substitute, create a social media content material calendar and posting schedule to unfold your content material out in a extra constant method. Sure, you’ll doubtless nonetheless be extra energetic main as much as an election, however until your candidate or trigger is gone from public life altogether, posting usually retains your followers engaged so that they’re there the following time you want them.

After all, this generally is a problem for grassroots campaigns and candidates with a restricted staff. Social media scheduling instruments like Hootsuite can assist benefit from your time by permitting you to bulk add content material and schedule social media posts prematurely.

Hootsuite additionally gives personalized suggestions on the greatest time to publish, so you may get the utmost consideration in your efforts.

3. Use social media for fundraising

Social channels are an necessary part of any political fundraising technique. Attempt a hyperlink to your donation platform in your bio, and create content material that explains how donations are used to additional your political objectives.

You too can use the “Donate Now” call-to-action button in Meta adverts to bolster your fundraising marketing campaign.

BC Green Party ad Donate Now button

Supply: BC Inexperienced Social gathering on Fb

Word that TikTok is a vital exception right here. TikTok insurance policies prohibit marketing campaign fundraising in any kind. Particular examples TikTok mentions embrace “a video from a politician asking for donations, or a political get together directing individuals to a donation web page on their web site.” Politics and cash don’t combine on TikTok, so hold this in thoughts when planning your social media political marketing campaign proposal.

4. Publish content material that’s straightforward to reshare

Almost ⅔ of American adults’ political Tweets are actually retweets, with no extra enter from the consumer. An extra 9% had been quote Tweets and 25% had been replies. Solely 4% had been totally authentic Tweets.

majority of political tweets from U.S. adults are retweets

Supply: Pew Analysis Heart

Make it straightforward for individuals to amplify your message with social content material that’s enjoyable or inspiring to share, whether or not that’s a unusual Tweet:

Or a screencap-sharable Instagram story:

I Voted Instagram Story


5. To get journalists’ consideration, use Twitter

69% of U.S journalists say Twitter is the social media website they use most or second-most for his or her job. Fb is subsequent at 52%.

As well as, a current educational evaluation discovered that politics and the economic system was the commonest topic space wherein information publications used Twitter as a supply.

In the event you’re making an attempt to make or break information on social media, Twitter is the place to be.

6. Use the precise tone for every platform

Consumer demographics range considerably among the many social platforms. In consequence, it’s necessary to check your tone and messaging on every platform you intend to make use of.

For instance, analysis on political social posts main as much as the 2020 U.S. election discovered that images of candidates trying joyful carried out greatest on Instagram, whereas images wherein the candidates appeared calm fared greatest on Fb.

Moderately than posting the identical content material to all of your social accounts, use customized cross-posting that tailors your content material and messaging to every platform. Put a social media testing plan in place to refine your platform-specific technique over time.

Save time constructing a sensible presence—and an engaged viewers—on social media with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you possibly can simply:

  • Plan, create, and schedule posts to each community
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Guide a customized, no-pressure demo to see how Hootsuite helps governments and companies:

→ Interact residents
→ Handle disaster communications
→ Ship companies effectively