Social networks are becoming a new stage in the development of the transfer and exchange of information between people and a universal way to unite various groups of citizens. Thus, politicians increasingly use social networks during election campaigns. Social media analytics allows candidates to shape electoral promotional marketing strategies as users voluntarily make their data publicly available. According to Greenberg and Page (2018), a prime example of the effective use of social media in the electoral process is the 2008 US presidential election. Obama had been actively involved in creating a website for donations, participating in shows, and running Facebook and Twitter pages, where he communicated with the electorate. It proved effective in 2008 and reinforced the success in 2012.
In turn, in 2016, Trump began to use the social network Twitter actively, making it the leading communication platform and a means of disseminating news and personal statements among voters. Traditional methods of spreading information through the media have faded into the background, and Twitter has proven its effectiveness. Stromer-Galley et al. (2021) note that Clinton ignored Facebook in favor of traditional media. It is noteworthy that the technologies of informational impact on American voters, which positively influenced on the results of the 2016 presidential election for the Republican candidate, lowered Trump’s ratings during the 2020 elections.
Another popular social network used during presidential campaigns is YouTube. Nowadays, Obama, Biden, Clinton, McCain, and Trump have their YouTube channels. The advantage over classical television lies in the greater possibilities for controlling content and reducing the candidate-voter distance. The weak side of online television on YouTube during elections may be the publication of compromising evidence on a candidate by third-party channels. Varol et al. (2017) remark that in 2006, Virginia Senator Allen was defeated in the election because of a YouTube video showing his racist remarks. The video was posted by a member of the headquarters of one of his competitors.
Therefore, social networks today act as the main channel of communication, a brand platform, and the basis for collecting analytics for candidates’ headquarters during the implementation of election campaigns. Social networks are a means of conquering new territories of communication, collecting data, introducing targeted advertising, and a tool that affects the image of a candidate. Based on practical examples, social media can both contribute to the success of the candidate and be an unsuccessful tool.
Greenberg, E. S., & Page, B. I. (2018). The struggle for democracy, 2018 elections and updates edition (12th ed.). Pearson Education.
Stromer-Galley, J., Rossini, P., Hemsley, J., Bolden, S. E., & McKernan, B. (2021). Political messaging over time: A comparison of US presidential candidate Facebook posts and Tweets in 2016 and 2020. Social Media + Society. Web.
Varol, O., Ferrara, E., Menczer, F., & Flammini, A. (2017). Early detection of promoted campaigns on social media. EPJ Data Science, 6(13), 1-19. Web.