Facebook for Political Campaigns 101

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In today’s political arena, an online presence is an essential part of any campaign. With the vast majority of American adults on social media, using platforms like Facebook for political campaigns is an invaluable way to make connections with voters, supporters, volunteers, and donors.  

When you make the leap and run for office, mastering campaign outreach via social media can be tricky. Luckily, we’re here to give you a helping hand!

In this post, we’ll go over some of the best practices for engaging with users on Facebook for political campaigns in a way that is effective, efficient, and strategic. Let’s get started!

Why Facebook for Political Campaigns?

Using Facebook for your campaign is strategic. The platform is by far the widest reaching social network in the United States and therefore should be the one your campaign spends the majority, or all, of its social media time and attention on. If you only have time for one social media platform, it should be Facebook.

You might have a great personal Facebook friend group and following, which is an awesome start. But using Facebook for your campaign is going to be a little different.

If you don’t use Facebook often in your normal life, that’s okay too. Regardless of your level of experience, we’ll help you craft a winning social media strategy.

Considerations for Posting on Facebook

Once you’ve set up your campaign’s Facebook page, it’s time to create a plan to reach out to voters.

One of the biggest considerations in using Facebook for political campaigns is the algorithm or formula that determines what followers actually see.

As you’ll know if you use Facebook personally, users don’t see all posts by their friends and pages they follow on their newsfeed. That would be too overwhelming. So, Facebook has a computer algorithm as a set of rules to determine which ones they see and which posts are on the top of their newsfeed.

Facebook’s algorithm uses a few pieces of data to guess which post a user wants to see and shows them in priority order. On average, only six percent of your page’s followers will see a given post.

Understanding the algorithm and designing your content with it in mind can help you get your posts to be seen by as much as ten percent of your followers.

Major Factors in Facebook Algorithm

Facebook’s algorithm uses four primary factors when considering which posts a user will see:

  1. How frequently the user interacts with your page. If someone commented on or put an emoji reaction on your page’s post before, they’re more likely to see your page’s post later. Facebook is more likely to show people content from pages they’ve engaged with in the past.
  2. How much activity the post has already generated. If some folks, particularly user’s friends, have already shared, commented on, or liked a post, a user is more likely to see it. Basically, if it’s popular, it shows up more. If it falls flat, it falls off the new feed.
  3. The type of post. Is the post a video (uploaded directly to Facebook), link, image, or a status update? Video is seen much more than other types of content, so try to incorporate some video into your social media strategy.
  4. The number of times a user has interacted with that type of content previously. If a specific user always scrolls right past videos, Facebook won’t show them as many videos. But if a user clicks through to a live article and shares them, they’re more likely to see linked content.

When and How Often Should I Post?

It’s important to determine the timing and frequency of your posting. This will be slightly different for each page, so you need to test what frequency and timing is right for you and your audience.

As a rule of thumb, you should post on Facebook at least once a day. The beginning and end of your campaign are times to ramp it up a bit – maybe aim for three times a day if you have that much engaging content to share.

Early stages of your campaign are a good time to be on the higher end. High engagement helps you expand your audience. Once a day will keep you in folks’ feeds and should be manageable for you.

In the final weeks of the campaign (known as the “Get Out the Vote” stage), throw these rules out the window. During this stage, you’ll want to post as much engaging content as you can, especially during the final week before the election. This way, you can remind people to take the time to volunteer and vote.

What Should I Post?

When you’re posting, put yourself in your target audience’s shoes and think about whether it’s something they would want to see and react to or share.

Your posts don’t need to be fancy. You can just use your iPhone, or share a Facebook Live video of yourself walking down the block, knocking on doors, or speaking up on a key issue at a public meeting. But, be sure to mix it up, see what your audience reacts to and engages with.

In addition, try to keep posts short and to the point. Users scrolling through their feed won’t want to stop and read a dense post. Videos, photos, and short updates about the campaign’s progress will be more palatable.

Facebook for Political Campaigns

Facebook is a critical element of a modern campaign operation. By sticking to these best practices, you can make sure your campaign has an online presence that helps you engage with people in your community. Without a doubt, Facebook is the most important part of your digital strategy and it can also be really fun.

Want to learn more about digital strategy for political campaigns? Check out NDTC’s Digital 101 course!

Best of luck and happy posting!

  Communications   Digital

About

Conor is a seventh-generation Oregonian, born and raised in the Central Oregon town of Redmond. While he has deep roots in both the Northwest and Midwest, he currently lives most of the year in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, where he studies Political Science at Boston College. At NDTC, Conor is a member of the Communications team.