The Role of Social Media in Political Campaigns
The introduction of social media has transformed the way campaigns are conducted in different parts of the world. This trend has attracted policy makers and academic researchers to analyze how social media is used and its impact in a country’s political campaigns. Most of the findings from this processes provide a basis for the formulations or policies and regulations on the use of social media. Authors such as Gosman (2016) indicated that social media is a powerful tool in political campaigns because of its role in strategic communication. Therefore, different stakeholders in political campaigns use social media to share, gain access to information and influence the target audience.
More Tweets Means More Votes
DiGrazia, McKelvey, Bollen and Rojas, (2013) posits that social media allows political campaigns to gain access to the crucial data on thetarget audience (voters). It is easy to identify trends through the analysis ofuser engagement, comments, clicks, shares and different types of reactions. One can determine the influence of a political candidate depending on follower count, shares, comments and reactions on their post.
The social media platforms allows a political candidate to develop different sets of identities depending on the perception of the audience. Each person has different types of audiences starting from the base, switch, swing and new categories of followers. Framing different types of social media political campaigns allow the candidate to appeal to the groups (Bennett, 2012). It paves way for ‘digital activism’ which spreads information to different types of online social groups.
Millennials and Their Influence On Social Media
Analysis reveals that millennialS are among the majority groups using social media in their daily lives (Lenhart, Madden, Smith, & Macgill, 2009). This age group is comprised of mostly college and university students. The strategists of political campaigns on social media should not ignore this age group given their numbers and frequency of using social media. They can ensure a topic trends and becomes a part of their conversation on social media. They are also conversant with the use of multiple platforms and thus, easy to reach.
Social Media Trends In Political Campaigns
Technology innovation has allowed social media platforms to introduce different sophisticated methods that enhances user experience. These features can also be integrated in the communication strategy of political campaigns on social media. For example, Geyser (2021) reports that there is an additional of the live streaming features on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It allows political candidates to have real-time engagement with their followers. This tool reduces the gap existing between the candidate and voters. It also eliminates doubts on the social media account ownership making it a reliable source of information for the candidate.
Social media platforms such as Facebook have a ‘status’ option that allows account owners to temporarily share updates about the campaign process. This section is used to air interesting and attractive content that will draw the attention of the of the target audience (Geyser, 2021). In most cases, it entails a combination of both pictures and short video clips. Most of the social media users are attracted more to animated images and video clips than plain text. This trend informs campaign strategists on how to frame their message on social media platforms.
Geyser (2021) further indicates that the use of celebrity endorsement is still significant as influential people have a massive following on social media. The celebrities can be paid to promote the posts or views in a political campaign to reach the target audience. It implies that the selection of the celebrities is based on the target audience in the political campaigns. Celebrities have multiple social media platforms that are used in this process. In the long run, the information will reach more people as compared to the use of organic posts on individual candidates.
Political campaigns have integrated social media strategy as the approach for information sharing and gaining influence over the masses. Social media presence contributes to increased awareness during the political campaigns. Innovations such as the introduction of the Livestream feature on the social media platforms have also enhanced how campaigns can be conducted. Therefore, a careful analysis of the audience engagement could play a significant role in understanding the voters and making relevant decisions.
Bennett, W. L. (2012). The personalization of politics: Political identity, social media, and changing patterns of participation. The ANNALS ofthe American Academy of Political and Social Science, 644(1), 20-39
DiGrazia, J., McKelvey, K., Bollen, J., & Rojas, F. (2013). More tweets, more votes: Social media as a quantitative indicator of political behavior. PloS one, 8(11), e79449.
Geyser.W. (2021). 16 Social Media Trends for 2021 and Beyond. Retrieved from https://influencermarketinghub.com/social-media-trends/
Gosman, A. (2016, October 20). Real life lessons: Social media andthe 2016 presidential election. Nasdaq Corporate Solutions. Retrieved from https://business.nasdaq.com/marketinsite/2016/Real-Life-Lessons-Social-Media-and-the-2016-Presidential-Election.html
Lenhart, A., Madden, M., Smith, A., & Macgill, A. R. (2009).Teens and social media: An overview. Washington, DC: Pew Internet and AmericanLife, 97-119.