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Facebook: A Politician’s Central Hub?

Facebook: A Politician’s Central Hub?

Happy Election Day! The midterm elections are in its home stretch. As we move closer to the 2012 Election, it will be interesting to see how social media will help candidates communicate with voters, raise funds, provide updates and discuss issues.

Out of these channels, Facebook may be the most popular simply because of the variety of information that can be found in one centralized location. Here’s a look at what politicians can do on Facebook to influence voters.

Status Updates

From announcing stops on the campaign trail to rallying the constituency, a status update can do it all and then some. With a character limit of 420, compared to 140 on Twitter, candidates can give more detailed updates and monitor what people are saying about them.

An issue that comes up with status updates is who is writing them. It would be impossible for the candidate to take the time to make every update and answer every comment. The public may be comfortable with the fact that these pages are run by members of the campaign, but seeing some effort from the candidate may help build a sense of trust.

Tabs

A candidates Facebook page can act as a central portal due to the customizable tabs at the top of the page. These tabs can provide detailed information on donating to the campaign or even volunteering. Also, the candidate can create tabs for his or her other social media accounts, like Twitter or Flickr, and even their blog.

When it comes to fundraising, these tabs are crucial. If set up correctly, visitors can easily donate money to the campaign and more importantly, let their friends now.

Events

For anyone that has used Facebook, they know how easy it is to set up events. For politicians, this can be a very valuable tool. Rallys, speeches or debates can be set up quickly and every fan on their page can be invited with just a few clicks. 

Advertisements

The opportunity to be constantly in front of potential voters is immense. Advertising on Facebook isn’t too expensive and with so much information available from profiles, they can be incredibly targeted. Also, whenever someone in a network “likes” a certain candidate it will be relayed on their friend’s News Feeds.

If you were running for office how would you use Facebook? Do you see it becoming more important than setting up a website in the future? Let us know what you think.

By the way, Facebook is tallying the number of users who have voted. Foursquare and Gowalla are offering badges for those who check-in at polling places. So if you haven't yet, go out and vote!

Image: Shayan Sanyal, "Election Day 2008, North San Jose" November 4, 2008, via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.

Posted by Eric Garza on 11/02 at 01:45 PM in Social Media

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