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How to use Instagram for GOTV efforts

As social media has matured over the past few years, it has become a requirement for political and advocacy campaigns to have a dynamic online presence. Whether Facebook or Twitter, campaigns of all types and sizes have at least attempted to cultivate social media followings.

The numbers

An often overlooked platform that could benefit campaigns is Instagram. You’d be surprised: most political campaigns don’t include Instagram in their social media strategies. Though Twitter and Facebook platforms hold a concentration of the country’s politically-interested monthly users,  Instagram still maintains around 100 million U.S. monthly active users.

Projections also indicate that from  2017 to 2022, U.S. Instagram users will increase from 92.6 million to 130.7 million monthly users. Based on these numbers, campaigns opting to employ a strategy involving Instagram stand to benefit from a growing platform.

The vibe of the content

The platform has changed drastically since its acquisition by Facebook. From user interface to the popularity of content, Instagram is ripe for diversity and viewpoint variety. Many commentators of all stripes utilize Instagram as an additional outlet to communicate their stories outside of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Campaigns and advocacy groups can adopt visual storytelling strategies to create fresh, engaging content for followers. According to Ecanvasser, creating content that resonates with professional and personal appeals often results in engaging accounts.

It is also an excellent campaign tool and also gives you the opportunity to switch off.” Conversely, adding your personal, offline life into a content plan adds a human side to the campaign or the persona of a candidate.

Content types

Campaigns should have a content plan that communicates promotional, informational, and GOTV content. Promotional content includes advancing a candidate, message, and event. Valuable content showcases content advocating voter registration help and informational announcements, among other similar pieces. And, GOTV content includes calls to action, donor drives, and grassroots mobilization.

Once you identify the type of content that you wish to push forth, utilizing strategic hashtags will increase engagement. To identify the best hashtags, strategists should study competitors and top influencers. Keep in mind that linking content to external landing pages is restricted on Instagram, as well. The only workaround that is currently available is to post a link to the organization’s website in the profile description.

Examples of effective GOTV content

Other types of GOTV content can be seen in various forms. For example, candidates could take an infamous “ballot selfie” while marking their name. On a post like this, the text description could potentially read: “Do your duty. Join the movement.” Or, there are other examples of copy that assert the need for an individual’s vote for a particular movement or candidate.

One other example of effective GOTV content could be a hashtag-focused initiative. Utilizing hashtags such as #Resist, #MAGA, or generically #Vote, could be a means to push a voting drive under a like-minded, internally popular social network community.  Also, positively interacting with others who support you online is a great way to encourage continued support and drive folks to the polls come election day.

Other Resources

  1. “How Political Campaigns can use Instagram to win elections” – Ecanvasser
  2. “Social media guide for political campaigns” – Sprout Social
  3. “The political potential of Instagram” – The Washington Post
  4. “How to Not Suck at Instagram Hashtags in 2018” – Sprout Social

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