The reply, posted in late October, racked up over 200,000 likes on Instagram.
Not bad for a septuagenarian.
Sanders, 78, the oldest candidate in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, is arguably the most skilled at using Instagram, which has become the preferred social media platform for young voters. He has 3.9 million followers on Instagram,
1.8 million more than the next-highest Democratic contender on the platform, Senator Elizabeth Warren. He posts far more frequently than any top-tier candidate, and has a more varied approach on Instagram than President Trump.
Sanders’ feed features a variety of sleek content, including flashy infographics and fully subtitled videos, that mirrors popular Instagram style. The campaign also isn’t afraid to lean into social media’s lighthearted language, showing Sanders and his staff are comfortable conversing in memes and self-aware quips.
“Bernie sees social media as an incredibly powerful tool to communicate directly with voters,” said Josh Miller-Lewis, digital communications director for the Sanders campaign. Though Sanders has a social media staff, he regularly writes his own posts, Miller-Lewis said.
With social media becoming an increasingly vital political tool, Democratic presidential candidates are using carefully crafted statements, skillfully edited photos, and curated debate snippets to try to capture the public’s fleeting attention. The competition for viral moments often takes place on Instagram, outside of President Trump’s ever-present shadow on Twitter.
Instagram’s popularity has exploded in the last few years, particularly among people ages 18 to 29. Two-thirds of them say they use Instagram, dwarfing the 38 percent who say they use Twitter, according to the Pew Research Center. Those young voters made up roughly 20 percent of the electorate in 2016 and are expected to again be a key voting bloc next year.
“It’s not enough to be ‘presidential,’ in 2019; candidates have to prove that they’re ‘cool’ enough, too — and nothing screams that a candidate is plugged into progress, innovation, and a forward-thinking America than technological sophistication, as demonstrated through their social media comfort level,” said Kerric Harvey, an associate professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.
Each Democratic candidate has a distinct calling card on Instagram. Sanders brings the memes. Warren posts videos of her calls with lucky supporters. Former vice president Joe Biden shares pictures of himself with Barack Obama. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg posts photos of his dogs.
The youngest candidate in the race, Buttgieg, 37, is part of the generation that came of age with Facebook and Twitter. But when it comes to the volume of Instagram content, there’s no contest between him and Sanders. Since the beginning of September, Sanders’ campaign has posted more than six times more frequently than Buttigieg’s.
Unlike Sanders, Buttigieg’s Instagram feed eschews infographics, fund-raising requests, and policy rollouts, almost exclusively posting pictures of him on the campaign trail or with his dogs, Buddy and Truman. He uses Instagram to allow people to get a more personal glimpse into his life, said Chris Meager, Buttigieg’s campaign press secretary.
Instagram “offers a glimpse into who Pete is, and we have Facebook and we have Twitter where we can dig a little deeper into policy,” Meager said. “Instagram is very visual. And so it gives us an opportunity to use that to show behind-the-scenes content.”
Instagram use is evolving for political campaigns, with many campaigns increasingly focusing on producing videos for it. Miller-Lewis said video, and particularly live video, wasn’t “really a part of the equation in 2016.”
Now, videos are especially popular among young people. They flocked to Sanders’ campaign in the last presidential election cycle and he’s a favorite again among voters 18 to 29 years old, consistently the first or second choice among the age group in recent polling.
Sanders’ campaign is expanding its use of social media to reach new voters, Miller-Lewis said. In June, the campaign created a channel on Twitch, a live-streaming site popular with video-game players.
“We’re hoping that we reach new people who aren’t necessarily involved in the political process already, who aren’t going to tune into politics or read about politics on the Internet, but now see Bernie Sanders on Twitch and think, ‘Maybe I should take a look and see what he’s all about,’ ” Miller-Lewis said.
The only other campaigns on Twitch are those of Democrat Andrew Yang and President Trump. But Trump is more at home on Twitter, where he has a significant advantage over the Democratic field because of his 67 million followers. Sanders leads the Democrats with 10 million.
Trump, though, makes only limited use of Instagram.
A prominent Instagram tactic — used often by the Sanders and Biden campaigns — is cross-promoting tweets via screenshots, a move that would seemingly be in Trump’s wheelhouse given his frequent tweeting. But Trump rarely uses Instagram that way. Additionally, he doesn’t provide subtitles for many of his videos, eschewing a standard practice that allows users scrolling through content without headphones to understand what’s going on.
Trump’s lack of polish on Instagram may be designed to bolster his populist image, said Jesse Baldwin-Philippi, an associate professor in the Communications and Media Studies Department at Fordham University who studied campaign social media use leading up to the 2016 election. She noted a lack of stylistic cohesion on Trump’s Instagram account during that time, including using at least 25 different fonts in campaign graphics.
“It’s strange and different,” Baldwin-Phillipi said. “There’s something to be said for the aesthetics, of thinking about what amateurism signals and how that aligns with a populist message, this campaign value of being an outsider rather than part of a machine.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment about its social media strategy.
Sanders’ early days on Instagram mirrored Trump’s amateur quality. The senator’s campaign posted photos of him on the campaign trail that were often grainy and out of focus, and there was little variation in the type of content.
To succeed in spreading their messages, candidates also need a social media campaign that can be amplified by its supporters, Harvey said. Sanders does this well, with a large number of his social media followers retweeting, liking, and sharing his content. From Oct. 28 to Nov. 27, the Sanders campaign said its Instagram posts had nearly 9.5 million combined likes and comments, far more total interactions than any other Democratic candidate on the platform.
“Sanders can depend on his support base to do that social media work for him in a way that previous presidential candidates had to pay people to do,” Harvey said.
Still, it’s unclear how those interactions translate to tangible campaign support like contributions, volunteers, and votes. But experts said a cohesive social media strategy is increasingly important — something Miller-Lewis said the Sanders campaign fully understands.
“You cannot defeat Trump if you can’t compete with him on social media,” Miller-Lewis said.
Instagram’s Working on New Stickers That Would Enable Users to Promote Business Profiles in Stories
Instagram looks to be testing a new Stories sticker option which would enable users to share a business profile with their followers, including a header and a three-image preview that links through to a brand’s on-platform presence.
As you can see in this example, shared by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong, the new ‘Share Professional’ sticker would enable users to add in an Instagram @profile, which would then pull in thumbnails of the most recent three posts from that account. That preview could then be used as a promotional tool in Instagram Stories – you could promote the business of a friend, a service that’s helped you out, or maybe a local SMB that’s struggling during the COVID-19 shutdowns.
That’s likely the focus of the tool. Instagram has been looking for more ways to help promote small businesses that are suffering because of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Instagram added new gift card, food order, and fundraiser tools, both for Stories and profiles, in order to provide more ways for brands and their communities to support local SMBs.
The ‘Share Professional’ sticker seems to align with this, while beyond COVID-19 it could also provide another, simple way for users to share tips on businesses that they like via their Stories.
It could be a valuable tool to consider. There’s not a heap to go on at this stage, but given the rising popularity of Stories, it could provide another, simple avenue to help raise awareness of your business on Instagram, and get more attention for your account.
You could ask your satisfied customers to share a link, you could use it within promotions – if it is eventually launched, there’s a range of ways in which it could be utilized to good effect.
Instagram hasn’t provided any info on the tool, but based on how far along it appears to be in the above screenshots, and going on Wong’s past record for such discoveries, it looks set to be announced sometime soon.
How to market your photographs on Instagram
One of the most popular social media platforms is Instagram through which various users express their views and talents through videos and photos. It is also a platform that is widely used by professional and amateur photographers to show off their talent in photography. For a photographer, Instagram is the best platform to showcase his or her photographs and gain popularity. The more Instagram followers you get, the more popular you will become.
Instagram is also a great platform to promote your business and attract clients and customers across the world. So, if you have not started on this social media platform yet, then you start it doing so right now. Here is how you can market your work on Instagram.
Create your Instagram Account
This is quite a simple and easy thing to do – create an Instagram account. It is an app can be easily downloaded on your phone. Registering to the platform is as easy as registering to other social media platforms. You can create two accountson Instagram – personal and business. If you are looking at Instagram for business purposes, then you should open a business account that has more features than the personal account.
However, you can also combine both professional and personal accounts together or keep them separate. Instagram allows its users to create multiple accounts and have access to all of them at the same time. To promote your business and keep your personal life restricted to your friends and family, then it is best to keep them separate.
You should also make sure that your bio speaks about you and your work. Also, ensure that it is short and not lengthy. You can take some ideas from other Instagram accounts of photographers if you are not sure how to do so.
What should you Post on Instagram?
The first thing to do before you post your photos on Instagram is to choose the best photo from your collection. Your photos posted on Instagram should be able to speak about your work. You can either edit your pictures or simply put them the way they are. If you are planning to edit the pictures, then you can do so on Instagram itself. But for more professional edits it is best to use your own software.
You can use themes to post your photos on a weekly or daily basis. Using the storyline for uploading photos on Instagram is also very popular among photographers.
How to Increase your Fan Following
If you are looking for some good numbers of Instagram likes, then ensure that you use as many popular hashtags as you can. Using hashtags attracts users who can get access to the photos or posts under those hashtags. If your photos are good and grab the attention of the Instagrammers, then you are surely going to get some huge number of likes.
Instagram needs to be live and active to keep the interest of the followers or other Instagrammers. Hence, make sure that you are posting your photos on a regular basis and also interacting with the followers. The more interaction you have with them, the more they are going to visit your account.
Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: Government forcing companies to protect you online
Although many of the details have still to be confirmed, it’s likely the new rules will apply to Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and Instagram
We often talk about the risks you might find online and whether social media companies need to do more to make sure you don’t come across inappropriate content.
Well, now media regulator Ofcom is getting new powers, to make sure companies protect both adults and children from harmful content online.
The media regulator makes sure everyone in media, including the BBC, is keeping to the rules.
Harmful content refers to things like violence, terrorism, cyber-bullying and child abuse.
The new rules will likely apply to Facebook – who also own Instagram and WhatsApp – Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok, and will include things like comments, forums and video-sharing.
Platforms will need to ensure that illegal content is removed quickly, and may also have to “minimise the risks” of it appearing at all.
These plans have been talked about for a while now.
The idea of new rules to tackle ‘online harms’ was originally set out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in May 2018.
The government has now decided to give Ofcom these new powers following research called the ‘Online Harms consultation’, carried out in the UK in 2019.
Plans allowing Ofcom to take control of social media were first spoken of in August last year.
The government will officially announce these new powers for Ofcom on Wednesday 12 February.
But we won’t know right away exactly what new rules will be introduced, or what will happen to tech or social media companies who break the new rules.
Children’s charity the NSPCC has welcomed the news. It says trusting companies to keep children safe online has failed.
“Too many times social media companies have said: ‘We don’t like the idea of children being abused on our sites, we’ll do something, leave it to us,'” said chief executive Peter Wanless.
“Thirteen self-regulatory attempts to keep children safe online have failed.
The UK government’s Digital Secretary, Baroness Nicky Morgan said: “There are many platforms who ideally would not have wanted regulation, but I think that’s changing.”
“I think they understand now that actually regulation is coming.”
In many countries, social media platforms are allowed to regulate themselves, as long as they stick to local laws on illegal material.
But some, including Germany and Australia, have introduced strict rules to force social media platforms do more to protect users online.
In Australia, social media companies have to pay big fines and bosses can even be sent to prison if they break the rules.
For more information and tips about staying safe online, go to BBC Own It, and find out how to make the internet a better place for all of us.