Can you use social media to connect with voters in a local election? Not really. But….

I spent Saturday at a League of Women’s Voters event, where I discussed my experiences as an elected official and as someone who’s pretty into social media.  At one point, I was asked to give my experiences in terms of using social media to connect with voters in a local election.  Can you do it?

Unless your locality is big enough, or your budget is there, probably not.

Here’s why: first, your locality has to be big enough.  Say you are running in a primary for Borough Council, and you’ve got 12,000 people in your municipality.  Maybe 8,000 of them are registered to vote.  Maybe 1,500 will vote in the primary, and maybe 750 of them are in your party.  Many of them are seniors, who are using Facebook in larger numbers, but still aren’t a big chunk of the electorate.  My point?  If you can get 10% of the people who are going to vote in an election to like your Facebook page, it’s a huge win.

Of course, it’s possible for you to use Facebook ads to target voters in a local election, but that’s probably a waste of money, Facebook’s targeting is good, and there are ways to connect with registered voters through Facebook ads, but they are way to expensive.  A far better use of your money in a local race is targeted mail.

So, do you ignore Facebook in a local election?  Of course not, and that’s why I have the “But….” in the title of this entry.  You can, and should, use Facebook in a local election.  How?

  • Keep your volunteers, friends and family informed:  You can use Facebook to discuss campaign events, news releases, debates, etc.  To that end….
  • Volunteer recruitment:  Get people to like your page, and use the page to get more volunteers.
  • Money:  By showing that you are actively campaigning and selectively uploading pieces of your platform to social media, you can energize your volunteers, and hopefully get them to contribute or volunteer.

There are, of course, other uses, but these are the first few that pop into my head.  What do you think – any other words of wisdom to add?  Let us know in the comments!

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