This week, we looked at the Instagram followings of the Democratic and Republican campaigns in the 29 competitive House of Delegates and State Senate races we’re following. Of the 58 campaigns, just 35 had Instagram accounts, with 21,880 followers across all of their accounts.
As expected, Democratic campaigns are doing a much better job than Republicans at engaging supporters on Instagram. 19 of 29 Democratic campaigns maintain an Instagram account, with 14,642 followers in total. On average, Democratic Instagram accounts have 771 followers, much higher than the average Republican following.
The Republicans have a roughly similar number of Instagram accounts as Democrats, but their accounts have a much smaller following. Their 16 accounts have just 7,238 followers, for an average of 452 followers.
Given Instagram’s younger user base relative to other social media platforms, it makes sense that Democrats tend to have larger Instagram followings than their Republican competitors. However, good content and a bit of effort can make all the difference for candidates from both parties.Democrat Chris Hurst has the largest following of any campaign we’re watching, with over 4,200 followers – more than 2x any other campaign! His campaign posts a mix of political and personal content, frequently highlighting Hurst’s quirky, Instagram-appropriate sense of humor.
Many of the Republican accounts we looked at didn’t have many followers, but a handful of Republicans proved that a combination of good content and effort can still build a Republican following on Instagram. His campaign account posts on a weekly basis and tends to highlight his campaign’s organizing efforts.
Across the board, both parties have room to grow their engagement on Instagram. Democrats still have plenty of campaigns without Instagram accounts, even though their campaigns should be active on the platform to engage their coalition’s growing youth voting bloc. Meanwhile, Republicans could benefit from expanding outside their traditionally older, whiter base by at least trying to engage young voters on Instagram, especially in many of the rapidly-changing districts all throughout Virginia… but we’re not complaining if they can’t be bothered.P.S. While we’re at it, don’t forget to follow our Instagram account
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