Twitter Ban: How It’s Positive for Voter Engagement
In October, Twitter founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, used his own platform to announce that Twitter will ban all political advertisements, both about candidates as well as political issues. While some fear that this may be a disadvantage to campaigns due to the powerful and effective nature of digital advertising, Dorsey claims that this “power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.”
As daunting as this may sound to political campaigns wanting to influence Twitter users during the upcoming 2020 election, there are other ways for candidates to authentically engage voters and increase voter support.
“We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
– Jack Dorsey, Twitter founder & CEO
Campaign Outreach Strategy: How to Make Yourself Visible
You should continue to get your message out to your Twitter followers. Currently, the algorithm on Twitter allow users to choose between Top Tweets and Latest Tweets, making it easy for them to switch between Tweets that got the most engagement vs. real-time Tweets. Maintain an active presence on Twitter because the more engagement you have with followers, the better. As Twitter states on their blog, “the more often you Tweet, the more likely your audience will see and engage with your content.”
Make your free content more intriguing by adding photos, video or gifs to your Tweets. Think of adding a more human side to your social media – post photos of family life, tweet a video of you inviting constituents to join you in town hall meetings, post a relevant gif or ask followers to participate in a poll.
As your followers engage with your Tweets, it’s more likely to show up in their followers’ feeds, getting you even more visibility.
Whether you meet with them in-person or invite them to speak with you virtually, give voters direct access to you. This allows them to create a relationship with you, learn more about your campaign, plus, get to know who you are and what you stand for. Host meetups at local coffee shops or grocery stores, gathering a smaller group of people to answer their questions in-person. Present your campaign messages at larger town hall meetings, congregating groups of voters together to hear from you, and when you need to reach the most amount of people, host a virtual discussion. Technology, such as Access Live, allows candidates to both call and broadcast an audio or video stream to a large number of voters. Audience members get to have an authentic conversation with you from the comfort of their own home, and you can host from wherever you are on the campaign trail. Easily moderate and answer questions that are on the minds of many voters, and even poll participants to gauge your support. Think about partnering with like-minded associations and unions and virtually meet with their members.
Digital advertising gets you visibility. Conversation gets you support.
Getting press coverage can help you earn support of constituents. Announce via social media and press release your next small, big, or virtual town hall to increase the potential of getting picked up by local news. There are many ways to get your message out through the media, such as giving interviews, writing op-eds and letters-to-the-editor, and inviting journalists to your events. Keep yourself active so your updates get visibility.
Getting the word out to the media about upcoming events = more visibility = you inviting more voters to register, participate, and hear your message.
The announcement of the ban of political Twitter digital ads may have come as a shock to campaigns, but over the next year, candidates and ballot issues can overcome this challenge with strategic thinking and earning their reach in other, more authentic ways.