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18 July, 2024
 
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Social media: Essential but not all-powerful

Insights into campaign strategies, candidate visibility, and advertising expenditure

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Social media is undoubtedly a crucial tool in the electoral arena, according to a report by Kathimerini's Hectoras Georgiou.

Established before the 2021 general election, it has now become an integral part of campaign strategies. The question is how much candidates' social media presence, posts, and ads can influence their success. While the answer is not definitive, it is certain that social media helps increase candidates' visibility and impact public impressions.

TikTok is not enough...

Asked about the role of social media in election campaigns by "K," Charalambos Rossidis, Director of Communications at GNORA, emphasized that while social media is important, it alone cannot secure an election victory. "Even Phidias Panagiotou," explained Rossidis, "who introduced himself through social media videos, has recently sought appearances in more traditional media. He seems to have realized that TikTok or YouTube alone are not sufficient and that he needs to create content for other communication tools to reach older voters, who are more likely to vote."

A looser image

When asked how political discourse has changed with the rise of social media, Rossidis noted that candidates have adapted their messaging for platforms like TikTok and Instagram. There is an effort to promote a more relaxed and pleasant image. Each candidate has their own message and tactics, choosing whether to invest in positive or negative and aggressive messaging. In general, videos, graphics, and photos are preferred over lengthy texts. However, the wrong use of social media can backfire if a different image from the real one is promoted.

Social media spending

With the June 9 election approaching, "K" reviewed social media activity and spending by various parties. AKEL leads with around 38.5 thousand followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, followed by Democratic Rally with 37.5 thousand. DIKO has nearly 20 thousand followers. Further down, HEK and the Movement of Ecologists have 15 thousand and 16.5 thousand followers, respectively. The Democratic Partaxis, a relatively new party, has 3.5 thousand followers, while ELAM, only present on "X," has fewer than 500 followers.

Notably, ELAM's page on "X" is being taken down by META for violating platform terms.

Leading candidate

The leading candidate on social media is independent European Parliament candidate Phidias Panagiotou, with about 5 million followers, according to a recent interview on ANT1. This is a very high number for Cyprus, but it does not necessarily translate into votes.

Advertising spend

Political parties are investing heavily in social media to attract young voters. According to Rossidis, a significant portion of spending has shifted from traditional media to Google and Meta. Kathimerini, using META's Ad Library, reported on parties' ad spending over the last three months.

From March 3 to June 3, AKEL spent €9820 on ads, placing first. The Democratic Party spent €3849, followed by DPA with €2630. The Movement of Ecologists - Citizens' Co-operation spent €1729, while the Democratic Rally spent only €1610.

It is noteworthy that AKEL's total spending is the highest, with the Left Party covering the MEP candidates' advertisements equally, unlike other parties where candidates pay for ads from personal funds.

[This article is a summary of the original article and translated from Greek]

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