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.
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.
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.
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