On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, Cincinnatians will decide the Queen City’s next mayor. The two candidates in the running are incumbent John Cranley and Councilwoman Yvette Simpson. Both candidates have a strong social media presence and seem to utilize their social pages to their advantage. Cranley has used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for his campaign and Simpson has used Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube. Cranley’s Facebook page has 2,584 likes and 3,334 follows, his Twitter has 9,049 followers and 1,285 likes and his Instagram has 184 followers. Simpson’s Facebook page has 5,492 likes and 7,7551 follows, her Twitter has 5,991 followers and 4,734 likes and her YouTube page has ten subscribers.
Simpson is the democratic candidate. She grew up in the projects, went to Miami University for her undergrad and obtained a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. She is currently an attorney in the Queen City and has served two terms for city council since 2011. Simpson’s vision is to improve the public transportation system, improve public safety, create jobs by investing in small businesses and help families out of poverty, according to her campaign website. She most often uses the hashtags #Yes2Yvette, #PowerofWe and #Thetimeisnow on social media to get people excited for her campaign and encourage people to get out and vote. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cranley has raised more money than Simpson, especially since he’s Cincinnati’s current mayor. Therefore, it is important Simpson utilizes social media has effectively as possible so she can talk directly to her constituents and get people excited for her campaign.
Given almost 25 percent of Americans said they turned to social media posts of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, it is no surprise local candidates like Simpson utilize social media for their campaigns. While Simpson has four social media platforms, she seems to use Facebook and Twitter the most effectively. This makes sense as PEW Research has identified Facebook and Twitter as the two most common social media platforms.
Simpson uses Facebook to share news articles, photos and videos from various campaign stops and activities and photos that highlight her community involvement. She also posts graphics about the campaign to encourage people to get out and vote. She posts on Facebook at least once a day-- sometimes more depending on her campaign activities-- and she uses her three hashtags after every post that talks about her campaign trail. Simpson seems to get quite a bit of engagement on Facebook, as she goes live quite often at campaign events like phone banks and rallies, getting at least 600 views with each video. She has also posted campaign videos on Facebook, with the video “Yvette Simpson for Mayor” getting over 39,000 views and the video “Putting Women In Their Place” getting over 50,000 views. She seems to use Facebook to convey messages to constituents that brand herself as someone who is highly engaged with the community and for the people.
Simpson’s Twitter page is where she engages with supporters and voters the most, as she retweets people who have endorsed her on Twitter and answers voters’ questions directly via the social media platform. For instance, on November 2, 2017, Twitter user @daisyhernandez asked Simpson if her office was open to pick up a yard sign. Simpson replied “Daisy email us your address and we will deliver! firstname.lastname@example.org.” She also thanks voters directly on Twitter for their support. On November 2, 2017, Twitter user @JustinJeffre tweeted “Just voted for @VoteDillingham & @yvette4cincy and it felt great! #youshouldtoo #vote.” Simpson responded “Thanks for the support, Justin! #powerofwe.” Simpson also uses Twitter to share photos from her campaign events and retweets news articles and mentions.
The hashtags she uses, #Yes2Yvette, #PowerofWe and #Thetimeisnow are also catchy and summarize her campaign into digestible slogans. They imply that a change in leadership is needed and that by banding together and voting for Simpson, the change the city needs will happen.
Overall, Simpson has run a successful social media strategy as she uses both Facebook and Twitter effectively to engage with constituents, much like presidential candidates used the platforms in the 2016 election. She has a good number of followers and likes on both channels, and she does a great job of utilizing video on Facebook and engaging with constituents on Twitter.