The days of “distant”, “too serious”, “too formal” politicians who talk to their supporters and wider audience via classical media such as TV or radio once a month once something important happens are over.
With the rise of social media in the past decade, the way we all communicate changed. Social media, even though it has some perks, has enormously helped us enhance our communication. Besides making it easier to talk to our friends and family, it made it possible to talk to anyone, anywhere in the world.
The politicians are no exception. In fact, they are the ones who can profit the most out of social media. If they know how to use it right.
Politicians are able to promote their political ideas to larger audiences, directly hear feedback from supporters and from those who don’t necessarily agree with their political moves. Many politicians and their PR teams know this. That’s why there are a lot of politicians who try to stay up-to-date with the newest technology and social media platforms to get the most out of them. We’ve already written about the importance of political social media strategy in our previous blog.
In this blog, we will cover a few examples of politicians and political pages who use their social media accounts in the best way possible. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll put aside their political views and (dis)agreement with them. Rather, we will focus only on how they communicate via their social media accounts. But first, to understand why it’s important for politicians to be active on social media, let’s see what the data says about social media in general.
What does the data say?
According to statistics,
- 53.6% of the world’s population uses social media (source)
- the average daily usage is 2 hours and 25 minutes (source)
- 5.22 billion people are unique mobile users (source)
As Statista shows, the world’s most popular social media platforms are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are also high in the chart of social network popularity (3rd and 4th place). But, it is better not to count the two messaging apps as social media apps. To read more about why it’s important to separate messaging apps from social media, check out Medium’s article.
- Twitter generates the biggest amount of followers to almost all politicians. YouTube brings them the least amount of followers (source)
- In 2020, most popular politicians on social media were Barack Obama, Narendra Modi and Donald Trump. (Trump has since been banned from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) (source)
Now that we’ve got some statistical insight into the world of social media, let’s see a few examples of interesting political social media accounts. We’ll start off with politicians who are using social media in the right way.
Bernie Sanders, U.S. senator and former candidate for the U.S. President, took social media to his advantage in the best possible way.
He uses Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok to reach out to the public, especially to younger voters whose attention is usually harder to attain when it comes to politics. He gets his message across in various forms. Sanders uses videos, posts, and even memes – another great way to connect with a younger, sometimes apolitical, audience. (As some stats show, the majority of USA’s TikTok users are between the age of 16 and 24).
The U.S. senator uses his platform as a mixture of educational and promotional communication, mostly to explain the issues he sees with worker’s rights and human rights in the USA.
Some of his TikToks (a.k.a. TikTok videos) are even made by his fans, as he mentions on his page. That’s a smart way to show gratitude to your voters. And, he has 661.8K followers on TikTok. Not bad for someone who is five times the age of an average TikTok user. An extra reason why Sanders deserves praise for his social media skills.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the UK’s Conservative Party, is another impressive example of a politician using various forms of social media to reach out to the public. Johnson is active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
On these platforms, UK’s Prime Minister posts regularly. His posts are about various topics which concern his nation and worldwide politics, such as the coronavirus measures, economic situation, or, of course, Euro 2020 and England’s football team.
(But, despite Johnson’s wishes, football did not come home).
Who is better at handling social media than the millennial U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Cortez is active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Although she doesn’t have a TikTok account like her political ally Bernie Sanders, she still finds a way to stay up to date with the latest TikTok trends. She uses the form of TikTok videos to spread her message across, as seen below.
Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, is very popular on social media. She has 8.7 million Instagram followers, 12.7 million Twitter followers, and 1.8 million likes on Facebook. Great numbers, especially considering she officially entered the political arena 3 years ago.
If I was writing this blog a year ago, I would definitely have to mention Donald Trump. We’ve mentioned the former USA president in the beginning of this blog, as he was one of the most popular politicians on social media in 2020.
Love him or hate him, Trump definitely recognized the power of social media and how to use it to his advantage. And, he was probably one of the most active politicians on Twitter ever. Just remember all those tweets he would send out to the Americans and the world daily.
But, Trump has since been banned from the biggest social media platforms. So, we’ll leave his social media strategy in the past (for now?). Instead, we can mention other politicians who are very active on social media and whose social media strategy should be checked out, such as France’s president Emmanuel Macron or member of the European parliament Terry Reintke.
Other interesting social media political accounts: NowThisPolitics, Politico, Vox
Even though politicians sometimes use social media to educate the public on various political topics, they mostly use their accounts to promote their own ideas. Some even use it to manipulate the public.
Therefore, the importance of objective news reporting organizations is clear. But, news reporting on political topics can sometimes seem boring or complicated to those who are not too familiar with certain political topics or events. In the age of social media, there is a lot of ways to make politics cool.
We will now check out some interesting social media accounts which are covering political topics in a refreshing way.
So, you don’t really have the time to catch up with topics like gentrification, gas prices, the USA’s voting system, or vaccine passports? No problem, millennials have a solution.
We all know that political topics can sometimes be a bit complicated to understand, so a team of 25 millennials came up with a great idea – they launched NowThisSimplified.
NowThisSimplified is a webpage, and Instagram profile through which, using video and infographic explainers, they expound (geo)politics in a simple (hence the name) and fun manner.
NowThisNews, a news organization that is focused on sharing the news via various social media platforms, created NowThisPolitics. NowThisPolitics is an Instagram and Facebook page about politics-related news and topics.
Even though NowThisPolitics posts mainly about US-related political topics, their page can serve as a great example of reporting on political news in a more fun way. They post daily news in a form of interesting visuals, infographics, and videos.
When talking about great examples of reporting the news in a fun and educational way, we also have to mention classical news portals who understood the assignment of bringing the politics closer to people via social media – Politico and Vox.
Vox produces short educational YouTube videos on various topics which have millions of views. Actually, the videos gained so much popularity that Vox even teamed up with Netflix in 2018 to create Explained, a documentary series on topics such as voting, the wage gap, political correctness, and so on.
Political satire – a more laid back approach to politics
Besides sometimes being hard to understand, politics can also be rough. And, politicians can talk about very hard topics on their social media platforms.
So, to end this blog on a merry note, and to show that politics don’t have to be too serious or boring, I have to mention the New Yorker’s political satire articles. But, with a little warning. If you are going to enter the house of political satire, it might be best to leave your political beliefs at the front door and allow yourself to have an innocent laugh at the expense of your favorite (or least favorite) politicians. 🙂
The age of social media changed the way we communicate with each other and the rest of the world.
As we have shown in this blog, the ways the politicians communicate with us also drastically changed. The days of always serious-faced politicians who only address the public via classical media such as radio or TV once a month are over. Nowadays, politicians understand the importance of a better connection with the public. They also understand that there is no better tool for connection than social media. We’ve shown a few examples of politicians who know how to get the best out of social media, but also the political news pages who know how to cover political news and topics in a fun and educational way, showing us that politics don’t have to be too serious or hard to explain.
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