Adapt and Thrive: Political Communication in the Wake of Meta’s 2024 Revamp

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We’re back with another Special Edition!

With all the chaos in the air around Meta’s recent updates to how they treat political content on their platform, our Co-Founder Ryan Davis wanted to reassure digital campaigners there is a way forward.

But before we jump in, we did want to express our gratitude in being nominated for two Reed Awards for our work with the Governor Beshear Campaign & Inseparable. Thank you Campaigns & Elections for this amazing opportunity to showcase the power of influencer marketing in politics!

In early February, Meta announced modifications to its handling of political content across its three social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Threads. Like every algorithm update from Meta since Facebook’s inception, this news immediately sparked panic among political operatives. However, with my experience in digital politics over the last 20 years, this is largely a non-issue, provided that you have a digital strategy that is customized for 2024.

In order to accomplish this, there are two essential truths for campaigns and political organizations to consider as they kick off their digital communications plans:

  1. Your Meta Followers Will Continue to See Your Posts – Meta’s updates primarily aim to curtail the dissemination of political content among users who don’t follow your official accounts. Your followers will still see your campaign’s posts in their feeds. The notion that most campaigns had content appearing on Instagram’s Explore Page is far-fetched. Unless you’re a digital native like AOC, it’s optimistic to think your content reaches even 30% of your actual followers.
  2. Social Media Is Becoming More Decentralized Anyway – January’s Pew Poll on American social media habits revealed that ten social media platforms are used by over 20% of adults. This poll doesn’t even account for Threads, Meta’s Twitter clone. Does this dilute the value of your followings on Instagram or Facebook? Absolutely not. It just means there are numerous avenues to engage with social media users and be discovered beyond relying on Instagram’s Explore Page. If anything organic, YouTube is totally underutilized by campaigns and has more active users than Facebook and lots of opportunity for discovery. 

With these two ideas in mind, you should feel less panicked about Meta’s changes. Below, we outline proactive ways your campaign can stay ahead of these changes and thrive:

  • Expand Your Owned Channels – With 90% of American adults using email and over 80% engaging with text, these platforms continue to hold the widest-reaching and most effective means of connecting with your audience. While many campaigns primarily use these channels as fundraising tools, leading to audience disengagement, now is the time to envision a strategy that reintroduces storytelling and narrative development. Smart campaigns will harness the power of direct communication, focusing on more than just soliciting donations.

    In addition, you can continue to actively grow your email and SMS lists through social media, live events, canvassing, and paid digital acquisition strategies. You’ll appreciate the independence from having to rely on Meta for connecting with your supporters.
  • Diversity Your Paid Media – Instead of solely leveraging paid digital media for fundraising, begin amplifying your top content to lookalikes of your supporters and targets within voter files. Social media CPMs are still cheap, eliminating the need to gamble on the chance of a video going viral. Explore a variety of newer channels, such as mobile games, CTV/streaming, and audio platforms, to position your prime content before your target audiences.
  • Digital Relational Organizing – Transform your supporters into organizers! Platforms like Impactiv are specifically designed for this purpose, offering a potent way to reach your targets through their friends and family. For those who are particularly forward-looking, compensating your relational organizers can yield even more impressive results.
  • Collaborate With Creators & Influencers – Influencers and creators bring their own unique audiences who likely haven’t encountered your message yet. When their reach is combined with targeted paid media, the impact can be especially significant. For more insights, refer to my guide on collaborating with political influencers in 2024.

Being a political communications professional involves navigating constantly evolving platforms and tactics. The most crucial aspect to remember is that things will change, and winning campaigns will adapt their tactics instead of complaining about the shifts.