Twitter has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of politics. Twitter politics have helped shape the world as we know it now. It has elected presidents, started revolutions, and helped people decide on who they are going to vote for.
Not only can you use Twitter to get yourself elected, ordinary people can also use Twitter to get their favorite candidate elected. Barack Obama and Donald Trump both mobilized their people on Twitter to get elected. Whether you are a politician yourself, or someone who wants to influence the outcome of an election, Twitter politics are essential to the success of the political campaign you support.
I'm still asking you to believe – not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours. I believe in change because I believe in you.
— President Obama (@POTUS44) January 20, 2017
Twitter politics: How does Twitter help?
Before you start looking into politics on Twitter too deeply, you need to know the basic functions of Twitter in relation to politics:
- Expanded reach: The global power of Twitter, not just national, and the power of the retweet, can vastly expand the reach of an engaged politician.
- Direct engagement: Twitter allows politicians the chance to directly engage with their constituents in real-time about matters of concern.
- Explain platforms: Twitter forces politicians to explain their platforms simply.
- Organizing rallies: Twitter can organize your supporters on the ground, and more effectively manage their movement.
These are the four main points that you want to focus on as you build your Twitter political campaign. If you are looking to support a politician, you must also look at these for important points and react to your political candidate.
How to use Twitter for politics
The most revolutionary figure in Twitter politics is former President Barack Obama. He used Twitter to rally his supporters, get people to the polls, and to share his latest political developments. He was also the first acting president to tweet. Here it is:
Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.
— President Obama (@POTUS44) May 18, 2015
That was his first tweet as president, using the @POTUS account. His very first tweet came from his original account:
Thinking we're only one signature away from ending the war in Iraq.
Learn more at http://www.barackobama.com
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 29, 2007
You can see that right from the start he was using Twitter the way that you will need to as well. He shared a short piece of information, and then shared a link to where you could learn more and participate.
When you tweet out a link like this, which is trying to get people to click on an important link, you need a little bit of extra help. That little bit of extra help can come from our Twitter Retweet Service. This will help drive more interest towards your links, and help push your political agenda. You can purchase them for your favorite politician and help them get elected.
Turning followers into supporters
The very first thing that you need to do is find your key influencers. These are the people who are most attracted to your political ideology. Once you connect with them on Twitter they will start to take over spreading your message. You are only one person, you can’t do it all yourself.
The first step you can take to find the important Twitter influencers for your target market is to look at hashtags. Take a look at the ones that your political party is using, the ones that are related to your politics, and find the important people who are sharing these hashtags the most, or people commenting on these hashtags who have many followers.
One of the most popular politicians on Twitter is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He’s currently trying to push #SwachhataHiSeva. To help popularize this he could look through the hashtag’s history and find these influential users sharing it:
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) September 26, 2017
— Rajinikanth (@superstarrajini) September 22, 2017
He could then choose to engage with these influencers to get them to further share his hashtag. Twitter is all about personal engagement, and when you personally engaged with important influencers you bring them closer to your side. If you are someone who is supporting a politician, reply to these influencers and thank them for supporting your favorite politician.
Personal connection with influencers
An interesting note is that Prime Minister Modi’s office went to the trouble of sending out letters to key influencers. Perhaps they could’ve looked at pushing it harder on Twitter instead of the real world:
— rajamouli ss (@ssrajamouli) September 22, 2017
Either way, they affirm the influence that can be asserted by key figures in the political and media landscape. Remember that it’s not just about connecting with other politicians. It’s about connecting with those in the media as well:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 25, 2015
The goal of all of this is to help you connect with young voters who are on Twitter. Well she may have lost the election in an embarrassing fashion, there is no doubt that the tweet above helps her to appeal some of her core supporters that appreciated this particular musician.
Appealing to a core of supporters
It will take a bit of time, but you will be able to identify a number of users that are the most engaged with you on Twitter. They will be:
- Replying to your tweets
- Retweeting your content
- @Mentioning your account
- Liking your tweets
- Using your hashtags
Early on, you need to keep these people in mind and engage with them back. Once your campaign starts to take off you are going to need their help on Twitter. You will be too busy to keep things going on your own, and they will be able to support your campaign staff. Perhaps your Twitter influencers will become part of your official team.
While you are appealing to these core supporters you’re going to want to establish a personal connection so that they stay engaged with you longer, and deeper. Tweet about what interests them. Perhaps the most Canadian example of this is Justin Trudeau; the night of the election for him to lead the federal government he tweeted about the Toronto Blue Jays:
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 19, 2015
Tweeting about the Toronto Blue Jays is definitely a way to make a deep and lasting connection with Canadians.
Using Twitter politics to expand your campaign
Your core supporters are going to be your biggest asset on Twitter at this point. The first thing that you are going to want to get them to do is to band under one hashtag. All of the biggest politicians have had one:
Once your campaign starts to take off this will be more than just a hashtag or a slogan. It will be a rallying point. It will be attached to thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of tweets as they help you drive home your political message. To support your favorite politician, you will need to start using this important hashtag as well.
The next thing that you will want to do is to get your core supporters pushing others who are less active to participate in Twitter activism. This is when you start political discussions around your core issues. Your goal is to drive conversations by asking for replies, retweets, and likes.
Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins
— President Obama (@POTUS44) June 26, 2015
— President Obama (@POTUS44) June 26, 2015
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
These are campaign messages, not cute messages to connect with people over sports, they are active political discussions. Even if you can’t get people to actively participate in the discussion, you can get them to retweet and like. Why this might not be as hard-core as your core supporters, but it is getting people aware of issues and taking some sort of the most minimal of action. Some refer to this as Slacktivism. There is negativity associated with it, but there is no doubt that there’s positive impact from it on your campaign.
This is your chance to go beyond only speaking from the podium. This is your chance to know longer be a broadcaster, but instead be a part of a larger discussion. Your core supporters are going to be a huge part of how these messages will spread.
Using Twitter politics to get elected
Twitter politics are a very real aspect of every successful, and unsuccessful, political campaign. Everyone knows that they must use some sort of political Twitter strategy. The points to follow in order to get elected through Twitter include:
- Using the platform to expand your reach
- Directly engaging with influencers while you explain your platforms.
- Organizing rallies and meetings through it.
- Sharing short messages which link to larger discussions on your website.
- Turning your Twitter followers into your core supporters, and using those supporters to drive your discussions.
- Having one key hashtag that you use to drive your online discussion.
- Bringing your political points from the podium to Twitter in order to activate Twitter activism.
You can no longer write off Twitter as something that only young people use. It is being used by people from all walks of life, all age brackets, and all demographics. Being active on Twitter politically can help you get elected, and you can help your favorite politician get elected with your tweets.