Instagram has opened the doors for people of any kind to start using the platform as a means to gain exposure and catch the eye of the people. Even politicians realize the potential of the visual-based social media site, and even The Washington Post has acknowledged the importance of politics on Instagram. Before Barack Obama, many past candidates didn't realize the full effect that social media has on the younger generation, the one we rely on to make decisions for our country in the coming years. With the large majority of Instagrammers being on the younger side of the age spectrum, reaching these developing minds is becoming a crucial part of increasing campaign engagement for politicians that are running for office.
So, how exactly are politicians using Instagram to their benefit? Well, one pretty painfully obvious example is Donald Trump, whose Twitter and Instagram presences have gained him countless instances of free advertising and has gotten him trending several times. Was it always in a positive light? No, but advertising is advertising, and it clearly got him somewhere. While many politicians are known to buy Instagram followers, in this post we’ll discuss some of their more organic strategies.
Using Donald Trump as an example, we'll start to look at what politicians are doing to use Instagram to reach their targeted audience.
- Advertising - A common use for Instagram is to remind people of important events, speeches, debates, or voting times. Instagram is free and sees more engagement than any other website, even Facebook. You don't have to waste campaign funds, and you're getting free advertising with every "like" and comment.
- Spreading awareness - Many young people aren't deeply connected to the political side of life, so using something relevant to them like Instagram is a good way to get the word out about what you stand for as a politician. Make brief posts about your beliefs, things you aspire to change, and ideas.
- Recapping - Not everyone has time to tune in to debates, speeches, and interviews, or read the latest article that breaks down your newest campaign and ideas. Posting brief video clips of the highlights of your speech that will impact your audience or even just candid images with a quote, are a great way to reach those who didn't originally see the speech. Instagram is memorable, and you'll stay fresh in their minds with captivating images.
- Learning - By asking questions, reading comments, and getting involved in the Instagram community, politicians are learning so much more about the issues and desires in the younger generation. It's more important than ever to target these young minds and influence them as they grow to be of voting age.
- Getting personal. People want to believe in someone they trust. Someone they look up to and admire. Giving a little look into the things that are personal to you are a way to share a private part of your life, one that wouldn't be seen otherwise.
Politicians are realizing more and more that support from younger voters is crucial to success. It also gives the voters a great platform to learn about the various candidates. This will only increase as time goes on and more and more politicians understand the importance of connecting on social media.