An army of Twitter volunteers will be deployed by the Pete Buttigieg campaign. According to two members of the campaign, they aim to digitally door-knock potential supporters ahead of Super Tuesday, an important primary that will happen next week.
The said step is just one of the many ways that this year’s presidential campaigns are utilizing social media in a new and aggressive manner ahead of the primary contest.
The Buttigieg Twitter Campaign?
The Buttigieg campaign has already gathered roughly 200 volunteers in total. They are spread across every state and territory of Super Tuesday and aim to contact potential Pete supporters on Twitter.
Those volunteers are set to reach out to a set of followers of the @PeterforAmerica Twitter account. Notably, this account has more than 66,000 followers, which the volunteers will organize based on the state listed in their growing Twitter followers profile.
Notably, Pete Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, India. He will be running for the White House on the 2020 election that is set to happen on November 3. His opponents are former vice president Joe Biden as well as Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are also running for the same position.
Reaching Out to the Followers is A Matter of Meeting Them Where They Are
Stefan Smith is the Buttigieg campaign’s online engagement director. After getting the position earlier this year, he began focusing on how they could “harness the very real grassroots energy without making it top down.” Meaning, the campaign would be used to see online supporters by adding structure to the internet.
The campaign successfully sorted out each account that follows @PeterforAmerica by scraping each of them. They were sorted based on the state on a spreadsheet that is accessible to volunteers on those states. The volunteers can either send a direct message or mention the accounts they handle. This is to see whether they need help in terms of voting or caucusing. The volunteers also measure how the profiles they target will likely to vote for Pete, rating them from one to five.
Political Canvassing of Twitter Followers
According to Ben Halle, the spokesperson for Buttigieg, the initial data were collected in an automated way. They used a custom program that the volunteers developed. Halle added that the volunteers came up with a program that they can use to go through all the followers of the @PeteforAmerica Twitter account. The said program is responsible for getting the followers’ public information on Twitter. After collecting this data, it will be listed on an Excel sheet separated by each Super Tuesday State.
Using the aforementioned system, the volunteers who are based in California would divide through the California sheet of accounts. They will then reach out to the people on the sheet using their personal Twitter accounts. Stefan said that if a Twiter user responds to the messages sent by the volunteer, they would be asked with traditional door-knocking questions. The only difference is that it is happening digitally, more specifically on Twitter.
Steffan also noted that a person offline is a person online as well. He said that sometimes, it is just a matter of meeting them where they are, which, in this case, is in their Twitter DMs.
Political Campaigns Managed to Utilize Technology and Social Media to Reach Out to their Supporters
The Buttigieg campaign, as well as other political campaigns, we’re able to leverage social media and technology. They were able to encourage their supporters to build connections with potential voters. For instance, the Bernie Sanders campaign works similarly to Buttigieg’s. It uses the BERN app in order to explain to supporters how they can connect with their friends and family in such ways that support the Sanders campaign.
The volunteers need to reach out to more than 66,000 followers. This may seem to be a lot of work, but not too much to be unmanageable. The personal account of Buttigieg has more than 1 million followers. However, the campaign focused on going over the followers of the official account because they are who would likely vote for Buttigieg.
Smith said that if a person is following Pete Buttgief on Twitter, they are likely following him because he likes him. Another reason might be because they want to see what he is going to say or the followers may be a troll who just wants to pop up in his mentions.
Twitter Follower Marketing Vs. Real Life Marketing
According to Smith, campaign accounts are smaller. In addition, they are more likely to genuinely support their respective candidates.
The Verge, an online news site asked Twitter for a comment regarding the new method used for political campaigns. However, the social media giant remained silent about it.
Moreover, Stefan publicized that the digital knocking efforts of the campaign have shown success. He said that he is hoping to have more or less 500 people sending direct messages to possible Pete voters by Super Tuesday.
The Pete Buttigieg campaign had volunteers reaching out to possible voters in the early voting states as well. However, volunteers are ramping up their effort while they are looking forward to next week’s Super Tuesday.
Indeed, social media, as well as various technological advancements help political campaigns in more ways than one. It became easier for them to reach their supporters and potential voters. In addition, social media made it a lot easier to inform people about the important information about those who run in politics.
Moreover, a vast majority of voters in the United States also rely on the internet, more specifically on social media in order to know the candidate they like better. For this reason, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, as well as Twitter are widely used by political candidates in order to reach and engage with the people who they think would vote for them. Supporters of those who run for the political positions are likewise utilizing social media in order to campaign for the politicians that they support.