Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado is an expert communicator on TV and radio, the traditional media he worked in for decades as a journalist, but he has less experience with online social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and doesn’t expect to use the social networks to promote his reelection campaign.
“I really see social media more as a way to communicate with residents rather than on a campaign,” said the 66-year-old Regalado, who said those who use Facebook and Twitter aren’t really the same as the elderly Hispanic “super voters” who traditionally turn out for Miami’s November elections.
His opponent, Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez, plans to invest “significant” resources in campaigning online with the goal of drawing in younger voters to the race.
“We wanted to do something different than the way campaigns are typically run in the City of Miami, which are focused on certain segments and basically ignore others,” said Suarez, a 35-year-old attorney.
That’s why Suarez’s campaign has hired the creative social media marketing agency, The brpr Group, to manage and produce his digital social content for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The strategy includes buying ads on Twitter that target users in Miami who mention words such as “tech” or “Regalado,” said agency co-founder Gerard Bush.
His campaign is also producing a series of short online videos, including one that highlights how easy it is to order absentee ballots online.
Suarez isn’t the first candidate who tries to leverage social networks and the Internet to motivate voters, although few at the local level have put this much effort into their online campaigns.
The strategy was pioneered in 2008 by Barack Obama, who won the presidential elections with the help of the youth vote and millions of dollars in online campaign contributions.