Social Media & Your Elections
How to choose the right social media platform to promote your election
Many people hear the words “social media management” and “election” and want to run in the other direction. But member organizations see increasing levels of success every day promoting their elections, nominations and volunteer opportunities via social media channels.
More than 70 percent of adults in the United States use at least one social media platform. The highest percentage of people on social media is, unsurprisingly, people ages 18 to 29, but at least 64 percent of people between the ages 45 to 65 use at least one social media platform as well. And, contrary to what some may believe, rural residents utilize social media at high rates as well – more than 65 percent of rural residents are on at least one social media site, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
The most popular social media sites in the U.S. are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. To determine which is the best, most effective use of your time to promote your election, it is helpful to know the demographics of your members.
Facebook: There are more women using Facebook than men, but the network is popular with men ages 25 to 34. The network is particularly popular with users in rural areas.
Twitter: Twitter is most popular with younger (ages 18 to 29) users in urban and suburban areas.
Instagram: Instagram is a highly visual social platform more popular with college-educated women, ages 18 to 49, particularly in urban areas.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is largely a professional social network with broad popularity across gender, age and location, though most users are in urban and suburban areas.
If your organization already has social media accounts, focus on the social networks where you have the most fans/followers and, importantly, the most interaction. Also, ask your members! A brief survey can help you determine which social spaces they’re already in and where they’d like to see updates from your organization and election-related content.
When you are in social spaces, you demonstrate to your members that the organization is willing to be where they are and make interaction convenient. Not only can you utilize social media to share information about upcoming elections and candidates, you can also share information about programs, services and create a personal connection with your members
Plan for the long game – work on building community in the social spaces you’re in, and also think strategically about how you’ll utilize the social platform(s) your organization is on.
Facebook: Facebook Live offers a great opportunity for virtual events such as “meet the candidates” forums. And the Facebook Events feature allows people to RSVP for your election, get reminders and, if your election offers an online voting option, links can be posted online to the voting portal.
Twitter: Create an account dedicated to your election and encourage members to follow for updates, post event and election tweets, add links and do live updates, where possible.
Instagram: As a highly visual platform, Instagram requires catchy visual content. And don’t forget to add strategic hashtags as well as a location tag.
LinkedIn: Promote networking opportunities, communicate open board positions and volunteer committee opportunities, guest speaker events and event partners and sponsors. This is also a good place to discuss your elections process and why voting is important.
Still stuck on which social platforms you should be a part of and what you should do when you’re there? Connect with SBS! We’re on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For more in-depth information, download our Social Media and Your Election eBook, or contact us about our election marketing services. We’re here to help!