Social media communicates with people in a new way. It reaches them in their everyday lives, and therefore election campaigning should also be moved to "where the people are".
In this team blog post, we share with you our social media marketing experiences in running an election campaign and three reasons why you SHOULD treat social media as an essential element of your election campaign. .
In January and February of 2022, we were responsible for the social media campaign of a new election list for the city of Landeck for the local council elections in Tyrol.
The list's social media outlets were pretty much in the beginning, as the list was new and merged from two old lists. After the introduction of our concept idea and meetings with some list members, the social media campaign started on January 27th - precisely a month before the upcoming election.
Based on this experience, we would like to share with you three reasons why social media is indispensable in political elections.
Reason #1 - Communicating with people in their everyday lives.
The world moves fast. People are taking less and less time for various tasks - this includes informing ourselves about electoral lists and their programs, particularly when it comes to smaller, local elections.
So to reach people you have to maneuver your campaign into their everyday lives. Banners at a traffic light or advertisements in the newspaper could be one example. However, the more effective way to communicate with people is through social media. You appear on people's screens while scrolling through social media on the train or in the waiting room at the doctor's office.
For the list 'Zukunft Landeck' we have been aiming through regular postings, as well as through sharing the postings in stories, to reach the people repeatedly and to emerge in their everyday life. Equally, the sharing by interested people has helped, a point that we will discuss in more depth in reason #2.
Reason #2 - Creating exchange and a new, additional recognition value.
In our social media election campaign we observed and used also the interactive sharing of content with friends and followers.
What billboards and advertisements in newspapers can't offer? Immediate interaction.
If people like your ideas, your concepts or your way of thinking, they share them on their own social media channel and are very likely to reach even more people in the area and thus possible voters.
Additionally, the list members have applied this rule to make their friends more aware of the fact that they are in the running themselves.
Another major factor is the visual appearance of the content - people don't share posts that don't appeal to them visually.
Reason #3 - Reaching and encouraging the youth.
The last but by no means least important reason for social media marketing in an election is to reach young people and especially first-time voters. You can use it to inform, motivate and encourage them.
It is also important to create awareness that their vote can make a difference.
The results of the municipal elections in Landeck following our campaign clearly showed that the votes of young people were a significant part of the outcome.
A glimpse into our realization
We used tension building through storytelling and there were three posts a week during peak hours on Instagram and Facebook, plus everything was shared in Story. We also wanted to publish generally informative video animations (Instagarm-Reels) to inform how an election works and explain what a first-time voter should know.
Naturally, we also utilized sharing of posts through list members and focused on natural growth of follower numbers through manual and locally targeted follower generation.
The election results of the list for which we have worked out a campaign were very successful and the list was able to achieve 9 mandates and 45% of the votes. This was a great success for the new list (previously the two lists that formed the new list had 4+1 mandates).
This was also a big success for us and we were all cheering along. In addition, the almost surprising results showed how important a social media campaign is and what a difference it can make.