How political social media content engages potential voters

Today, Facebook is the main area of public debate and political engagement. This has great consequences for politicians and their way of campaigning. Generating the most likes can mean winning an election. And to generate likes, you need to develop successful content.

So how do you do that? How should you communicate a political message? What works in a political campaign – and what doesn’t? For decades, the answers to such questions have been pursued through focus groups. Focus groups are great for many things. But when it comes to generating useful insights on political messages, today’s technology offer better ways. Instead of asking people how they react, we analyze how they really act.

With public social media data available, we can analyze how voters engage with politicians, political organisations and news sites. Our algorithm can sort excessive amounts of social media posts, which we analyze thoroughly. We find patterns in how people react to certain messages and explain why something works and something else doesn’t.

This leads to answering the ultimate questions for politicians: How do you engage potential voters? Our key to finding the answer lies in the combination of big data analysis with rhetorical and humanistic insight.