Capitalizing on the Social Media Activity of Elected Officials

Many of us in the government and public relations profession can recall a time when receiving a shout out from an elected representative of thousands, or even millions, of citizens required a significant amount of groundwork and often close connections with the official or their staff. With the advent of social media, the game began to change. Fast forward to 2020 and the use of social media by our federal officials to communicate with the public eclipses the traditional reliance on press releases or other more conventional mediums.

At Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, we consistently partner with elected officials to amplify critical information on behalf of our clients. Our team simplifies this process by providing officials with social media content, videos and articles that officials can quickly and easily share with the multitude of citizens who’ve elected these leaders to represent them.

We are all likely aware of the frequent tweets sent out by our nation’s leaders, and their role in diminishing the importance or need for frequent media briefings and formal press events. However, the ability to quantify the use of social media by elected officials can significantly benefit our clients. Knowing the social media habits of these officials provides us with valuable data to determine how best to use our resources and who we should partner with to maximize our clients’ brand and messaging.

A recent report by the Washington, D.C.-based firm Quorum provides a scientific analysis, evaluating the use of social media by Congress. This report identifies the most frequent users of the four popular social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The Quorum report compares the social media use by members of the House and Senate and by political parties, and measures additional use from the previous year. It also lists the most common policy or political issues referenced by the use of hashtags, with #forthepeople being the most popular. According to the report, every member of the U.S. Senate had a presence on Facebook and Twitter last year and 99% of House members used these two platforms.

Quorum found that Twitter is by far the most common social media tool used by the 116th Congress, with members firing off eight times more daily tweets than traditional press releases. Facebook takes second place – but was used 44% less than Twitter. House members sent more than twice the number of tweets than senators, and posted on Facebook almost four times as many as their counterparts in the upper chamber. Democrats were responsible for the most use of every platform except YouTube.

When looking at individual social media users, activity is not driven by factors such as geographic region or age group. While Florida Senator Marco Rubio wins top billing on Twitter, Vermont Senator – and 2020 presidential candidate – Bernie Sanders was responsible for the highest number of Senate Facebook and Instagram posts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was the most active Senate user of YouTube.

The most frequent user of Twitter in the House is Texas Representative Chip Roy with just under 4,500 tweets in 2019. The House’s most frequent Facebook poster is California Congressman Ro Khanna, while the award for top House Instagram user is Hawaii Representative – and 2020 presidential candidate – Tulsi Gabbard.

The Quorum report provides valuable information and a clear road map, identifying the officials to collaborate and communicate with if you are interested in maximizing your clients’ social media exposure amongst members of Congress and their followers. If you would like to further explore opportunities for this type of engagement, feel free to reach out to us via Facebook or Twitter.