Political campaigns have changed drastically over the years. Technology primarily plays a part in driving decisions made during these campaigns due to how social media have changed the strategies and how politicians communicate with their voters.
Most of the candidates, operatives, and advocacy groups are pressured to ensure they are giving off the right message. For instance, Borell and Associates projected how the total political ad spending for digital ads could be more than $1 billion. With that being said, here are some of the ways how social media, or digital advertising in general, are changing politics:
Political campaigns are heavily investing in digital ads
The New York Times reported that the overall digital ad spending will soon surpass the ads spent on traditional media such as TV, magazines, and newspapers. The majority of political campaigns now invest heavily in digital advertising and allocating most of their budget on media buys, including engaging with digital companies offering web hosting SEO services. Times have changed; people no longer want to invest in traditional media marketing as much as digital advertising. Almost any influential individual should at the most have their own website and social media accounts while being extremely active as well. Most voters will be regularly checking the politician’s online presence in order to be updated with the political issues.
Social media builds better accountability
The internet has become a platform for voters to connect and bond on a deeper level with a campaign, especially on social media. Voters are actively participating and engaging with political campaigns through social networking platforms, namely, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. All it takes for a political campaign to be a viral topic is when voters are regularly updating and sharing social media updates. Presidential candidates regularly become a trending topic on Twitter during elections. This is the case for most countries as well, including Asia and the United States. Thus, this puts the political leaders under pressure as they have to ensure they do not make a wrong statement online that could tarnish their image and risk losing votes.
Having an online presence is important
Social media became one of the first sources for information and news, especially related to politics. Hence, all politicians should have some sort of online presence at this point in order to win the votes of the public. If the candidates have little to none online presence, it basically means that they do not exist in the eyes of the voters. A few notable political campaigns are the Black Lives Matter campaign, as well as the Occupy Wall Street campaign. These campaigns grew rapidly with demonstrations and rallies, together with media coverage.
Online platforms drive action
What better way for a voter to be engaged with a campaign other than online? With just a tap of a button, voters are able to donate, complete a survey, RSVP for a political event, place their signature on petitions, and so much more. Everything can be done online, which makes the success of a political campaign much easier as well. A successful online political campaign can be seen through President Obama’s 2012 campaign whereby he successfully raised more than $504 million, solely through digital advertising.
Twitter is the primary source for political campaigns
Among all of the online channels available, Twitter is one of the platforms that drives the most successful political campaigns. You can see politicians communicating with one another through tweets, instead of through a media company or newspapers. Twitter is also one of the best ways to gain support from voters. Donald Trump is a good example of how he uses Twitter to express his opinions freely without any filter from traditional media. Nowadays, politicians and their speeches or sayings can be easily found on social media, instead of having to wait for newspapers to record their words and jot them down, plus waiting for the issue to be published as well. Twitter also became a place for politicians to connect with their voters, such as how Pete Buttigieg shared with his 2 million Twitter followers videos of his shelter dogs. Another politician, Elizabeth Warren made use of her Instagram account by hosting an Instagram live session together with her supporters who contributed to her political campaign. Though these contributions are small, they provide some sort of hope to these politicians as it is a form of support.