Social networks have positioned themselves as a decisive communications channel for politics and in election years they can be a fundamental part of a candidate’s campaigning strategy – especially in a country of almost three million square kilometres.
Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok and Facebook, each with its own audience and peculiarities, are part of the digital terrain in which candidates must ratify their own voters and convince those who are in doubt to join their bid for office.
However, social media can also be a double-edged sword: a false step in the digital ecosystem could doom the fate of any presidential hopeful.
In terms of pure numbers, and when looking at the fourth most important platforms, the undisputed leader is the libertarian candidate for La Libertad Avanza, Javier Milei. The economist has accumulated 4,158,000 followers, with his Instagram account as the spearhead: there his publications can reach audiences of 1.7 million users. Meanwhile, on Facebook he has 505,000 followers; on Tik Tok, 1.2 million; and on Twitter, 753,000.
Part of Milei’s strength on social networks was achieved thanks to his decision to raffle off his monthly salary as a national deputy, a move which attracted even those who reject his approach to politics.
Second place goes to Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, presidential hopeful for Juntos por el Cambio and the mayor of Buenos Aires City. A keen Twitter user, the PRO leader has 1.7 million followers on the network owned by Elon Musk. On Facebook, 833,000 users follow Rodríguez Larreta’s page, while on Instagram he has 544,000 followers and on Tik Tok, 514,000. When the followers of the four applications are added together, the figure amounts to 3,591,000.
The podium is completed by the ruling coalition’s presidential candidate Sergio Massa, who is not very adept at doing politics through social networks. The Unión por la Patria leader’s profiles have accumulated a total of 2,990,000 followers (891,000 on Facebook, 147,000 on Instagram, 1.2 million on Twitter and just 752 on his recently launched Tik Tok account).
But what he doesn't have in the digital world, he supplements with good old-fashioned politics, and that gets him into the discussion on social media.
"At the height of political tension and attention, Sergio Massa was at the centre of the media and digital conversation. This does not change the perceptions about the image that society gives to the candidate of Unión por la Patria, but it is clearly an advantage over his competitors," said the head of the Ad Hoc consulting firm Ad Hoc, Javier Correa, referring to negotiations ahead of the recent deadline for candidates.
In a report prepared, the firm stated that of total digital conversations about those running for office, Massa "was mentioned in percent of the mentions and by 58 percent of the participating users.”
"These mentions generated 57 percent negativity and 43 percent positivity. His mentions accounted for 76 percent of the total audience reached by all candidates," the analysis stated.
Patricia Bullrich, Rodríguez Larreta’s rival for the opposition coalition’s nomination, has a total of 2,641,000 followers in her accounts and, like her opponent, features most on Twitter, where she has 1.4 million followers. The numbers on her other accounts are: 512,000 followers on Facebook; 535,000 on Instagram; and 194,000 on Tik Tok.
Close to the one million mark is the presidential candidate of the Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores-Unidad Myriam Bregman, with a total of 910,000 followers (171,000 on Facebook, 149,000 on Instagram, 393,000 on Tik Tok and 197,000 on Twitter).
Her figures give her a huge advantage over her opponent in the FIT-U primary – rival Gabriel Solano has more modest numbers: 146,000 followers, divided into 52,000 on Facebook, 17,000 on Instagram, 11,000 on Tik Tok and 66,000 on Twitter.
Finally, social leader and ruling coalition hopeful Juan Grabois, has a reach of 602,000 users with accounts in the four most important social networks: 79,000 on Facebook, 231,000 on Instagram, 29,000 on Tik Tok and 263,000 on Twitter.
by Pablo Tallón, Noticias Argentinas