Elections and Social Media (Part 1): Why Politicians Use Social Media for Their Campaigns

With the elections around the corner, people are trying to figure who is a good candidate to vote for, which is particularly difficult to do now that every political party, every politician has a Twitter handle and Facebook page. And while I cannot give you that answer, I can tell you about social media and how it will affect the elections so that you can make that decision for yourself. And that is exactly what I will do with my “Elections and Social Media” series.

In the first part of this series, I will be focusing on why politicians and political parties use social media platforms in their campaigns. While the simple answer is ‘because everyone is doing it’, there are various reasons behind the decision of politicians opening Facebook and Twitter accounts. Let’s take a look at a few important ones.

  1. Bigger Reach:

Whatever reach you get by running your campaigns on traditional media like television and radio, you will always reach a lot more people with social media. Thanks to the affordable internet plans and low-cost smartphones, even people in rural areas have access to social media. This is something politicians can take advantage of since it means that they won’t have to personally visit these formerly isolated villages as much.

  1. Real-time Reaction:

Another big advantage of using social media for political campaigns is the fact that people get to give their opinions and views as soon as something is posted online. Through this, politicians can gauge the impact they and their marketing efforts are having in real time.

  1. Appeal to Millennials:

Social media is used by people from all walks of life but it is the millennials and Gen Zers who are more accustomed to it. Since Millennials are in the group of people who are legally allowed to vote, the fact that the candidate they will potentially vote for is an account or page they can follow and keep up with on their favorite social media platforms plays a big role in their decision to vote for a particular individual or party. Also, while most Gen Zers are still not of voting age, political campaigns do make an impact on them which will come into play when they are of voting age.

  1. Generate Conversation:

The number one priority of any political campaign is to make and keep the individual or party relevant throughout the election season. Social media facilitates this a lot more than traditional media because on social media, once a post is created, it will always be there to be liked, shared, commented on. And if it is a politician, there will be a lot of this kind of engagement on their posts from both, the people who support them and the ones who don’t.

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