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Ocasio-Cortez Shows How Politicians Can Become Instagram Stars

Who says Instagram is only for celebrities, influencers, businesses, and selfie lovers? Years ago, nobody would have thought that Instagram would become a stage for politicians. Make no mistake; Instagram and other social media sites are not only for elections and campaigns. Nowadays, many government officials are utilizing online platforms to reach out to their constituents on a daily basis, albeit in different ways. This just shows that having a significant social media presence is now expected among political figures.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Instagram

Take Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as an example. Followers have been watching her journey since she announced her congressional bid in April 2017. At 29 years of age, the Democrat representative from New York is the youngest woman ever elected to the US Congress. If you take a look at her Instagram account—she has 3.2 million followers—you would see how good she is at connecting with her followers and how she adapts the platform to showcase different sides of her personal and political life.

There were light moments, like her Q&A livestream session which she conducted in November 2018, three days after she was elected. That time, she was preparing mac and cheese while chatting with 600,000 people online.

There are also occasions that Ocasio-Cortez showed people a glimpse of her job, like those Instagram Stories when she attended a congressional orientation. She showed behind-the-scenes shots of her meeting fellow neophyte representatives, joking about secret undergrounds and the new member directory, and showing her “swag bag” of secure devices.  

While the quality of these videos isn’t that good (they’re being recorded with a phone’s front camera), it gives the whole thing an authentic feel. Furthermore, Ocasio-Cortez exerted effort to ensure her videos can reach a wider audience. She used a closed-captioning tool to make videos accessible to deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

Ocasio-Cortez is an elected official, so it’s no surprise that she utilizes Instagram to get people involved in the political process. In this post, she urged people to vote in the primaries in New York.

View this post on Instagram

NEW YORKERS: Read this post! ⬇️ . TOMORROW is a very important Primary Election Day! 🗳 If YOU have never voted in a Primary before, I’m talking to you. The most impactful decision a person can make for our community is to choose to vote when they ordinarily wouldn’t have voted. That’s because pollsters don’t EXPECT young people, people of color, and working class people to turn out to vote – so when we do, it changes the game. Here’s how to do it: . 1. Find out where you vote: visit nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search – it’s usually a spot pretty close to where you live. . 2. Pull out your phone calendar and FIND WHEN in the day you’re going to vote. MAKE AN ALARM/EVENT/whatever. Before work is your best shot. I know it’s annoying to wake up early, but we’ve got to save the country. Plus that post-vote glow is great and you get a sticker and everything. If I got a sticker every time I went to the gym maybe I’d go more often too 😂 . 3. VOTE TOMORROW AND BRING A FRIEND. I may have my list of endorsed candidates (see below), but honestly so long as you vote that’s the most important thing. Do your research and decide. . 4. SOCIAL! It’s totally okay to brag that you voted on IG, Twitter, Facebook, etc – even if you don’t want to say for whom! When people see that their friends, family & neighbors are voting, sometimes that’s the nudge or reminder they need to head to the polls themselves. . 5. Last but not least: HAVE FUN & STAY INVOLVED. Sometimes people say “politicians only come around when they want a vote.” For many that’s true, but there’s also a lot of officials out there doing the work but WE need to also check out our community boards, civic associations, grassroots activism, etc to hold up our end of the bargain and pay attention to what’s happening in our own backyard. . 💜💜💜 Get out there and VOTE TOMORROW, Thurs 9/13! . Our endorsed candidates (they have ALL rejected Corporate Lobbyist 💰): State Sen: @biaggi4ny (BX), @salazarforsenate (BK), @barkan4ny (BK) Attorney General: @zephyrteachout Lt. Gov: @jumaane.williams Gov: @cynthiaenixon . (There are LOTS MORE amazing candidates out there, this doesn’t mean they are the only good ones)!

A post shared by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@ocasio2018) on

Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only politician on Instagram

Ocasio-Cortez is not alone on Instagram; Senator Ted Cruz of Texas also uses the platform. With roughly 380,000 followers, he is the top Instagrammer among Republican officials, but he still lags behind Ocasio-Cortez. Moreover, Cruz’s page seems distant and doesn’t evoke the same authentic feel of Ocasio-Cortez’s page.

According to a New York Time’s analysis, Instagram accounts of Democrats generally command more presence than those of their Republican counterparts. The reason? If you look at the demographics of Instagram users, the platform is dominated by younger users like Democratic voters.

What Ocasio-Cortez shows about Instagram and politics

Not a lot of politicians know how to capitalize on social media. Before, Instagram and other online platforms were just a one-way channel for politicians to broadcast their policies, not a place to interact with their constituents. We now know that it must be a two-way conversation.

Ocasio-Cortez’s use of Instagram provides a good case of how anyone—politician, business, or ordinary citizen—can utilize the Instagram platform to get more likes and followers. If people learn the necessary social media skills, they will be able to boost their Instagram accounts and get more engagement. In the end, they can gain more opportunities they can take advantage of and get that competitive advantage in their field.

Date: May 23, 2019 / Categories: Marketing, / Author: Rich Drees


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