Social media is a powerful, connective means for political candidates to disseminate information to a larger public. It becomes particularly important during election cycles when candidates are seeking to attract voters to win the election and need all the help they can get to accomplish the task.
While a wide variety of tools and behaviors are often lumped together under the “social media” label, research suggests that particular behaviors within the context of a specific social media network is a strong indicator of political advocacy.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found those who participate in Facebook Groups are more likely to try to persuade someone to vote for a specific candidate.
According to the study, “Among these users, participation in Facebook groups, either by being added to a group or adding someone else, is associated with trying to influence someone to vote in a specific way.”
This research finding represents a critical distinction and suggests some important courses of action for anyone managing campaigns of influence, particularly when it comes to political election campaigns.
Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups, while both found within the framework of the Facebook social media networking site, provide for some uniquely different experiences for users.
The Facebook Page provides an opportunity for the Page Admin to share information from the core communication plan of the campaign. It also provides some flexible options in the Page settings that may enhance or limit engagement opportunities for constituents who carry the “Fan” label when they “Like” the Page to show their support. It may also limit the sense of ownership or belonging among the Page Fans.
Facebook Groups, on the other hand, could provide a more dynamic environment for Fans to take on an advocacy role. Since research is suggesting participation in Facebook Groups is associated with trying to influence someone to vote in a specific way, political campaign leadership and organizers need to assess how Facebook Groups fit into the overall communication plan so they may leverage this influence.
Facebook Groups could be used by political campaign leadership as a platform for cultivating volunteer support for the campaign. While the main focus of general communication efforts could be geared toward simply getting people to “Like” the campaign Facebook Page, the Facebook Page is an ideal platform for recruiting the more influential Fans to take one more step toward increasing their level of commitment by joining the campaign’s Facebook Group. Those Fans who take the action of joining the Facebook Group, based upon research, are those who are likely to persuade others to vote for a particular candidate.
Managing multiple communication assets in campaigns is increasingly complex. Kosovich Media Group is able to help political campaign committees and other advocacy initiatives to understand how to optimally use resources to get the most out of social media engagement, aligning technical resources with communication plans.
Kosovich Media Group provides technical integration and communication consulting services that connect your campaign website with your Facebook Page so you can gain maximum efficiency.