GREEN BAY - Do you "like" a certain politician on Facebook?
Or perhaps following their tweets on Twitter is more your style.
Every day, world-wide, more than 400 million people log onto Facebook, more than 3 billion YouTube videos are watched, and more than 140 million tweets are sent.
So to stay tuned in to their constituents, politicians on every level – from the country's executive branch to state politicians – are taking advantage of social media to get their messages out.
"The social media is just a new tool for marketing and the people who master it will probably be fairly successful in the elections," said University of Wisconsin Green Bay communications professor Phil Clampitt.
Clampitt says social media may never replace traditional communication, like TV ads.
But, he says the cross-promotion between traditional media and social media allows a politician to connect with voters on previously un-seen levels, with almost immediate feedback.
However, execution isn't always easy.
"The part is people taking web page content and just popping it into social media and expecting it to work," said Clampitt. "It doesn't do it."
Say you want to get information about a politician, but have trouble navigating the various layouts of different websites. Communication strategists say social media is making what once was a tedious task, a lot easier.
"Social media is built for politics," said Mark Graul with Arena Strategy Group in Green Bay. "It builds for allowing you to get information out."
Graul, a public affairs consultant and former campaign strategist, says social media provides an inexpensive way for politicians and campaigns to drive home messages on what are now commonly recognized platforms, like Facebook.
"It used to be (politicians would get) a website and put up (their) content, maybe update that website, if (the campaign was) good, maybe once a day," said Graul. "But now, people are expecting multiple updates, throughout the day."
Graul says traditional sites now push constituents to "like" their Facebook pages and re-tweet their messages, driving their social media sites and user interaction.
And he says those interactions could lead to favorable outcomes, come election time.
But make a mistake on the campaign trail could mean the blunder then goes viral, in a bad way.
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