Image: Annelise Capossela/Axios
President Biden’s unofficial bid for re-election will rely on hundreds of social media “influencers” who will promote Biden’s record — and may soon have their own White House briefing room, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The move aims to boost Biden’s standing among young voters who are critical to Democratic electoral success — and potentially counteract former President Trump’s massive social media following if he becomes the GOP nominee in 2024 is.
Biden’s digital strategy team will be reaching out to influencers across the country to reach out to those who may not be following the White House or the Democratic Party on social media — or have shut down mainstream media altogether. Four of Biden’s digital associates focus on influencers and independent content creators. The staff officially work for the White House, not Biden’s campaign – but reaching young and suburban voters is clearly a priority. Young voters (ages 18-29) favored Biden by 26 points over Trump in 2020 and Democrats over Republicans by 28 points in 2022. A measure of the importance Team Biden places on its digital strategy: Rob Flaherty, who is leading the effort, has been named assistant to the president — the same rank as the White House communications director and press secretary.
What they say: “We’re trying to reach young people, but also mothers who are using different platforms to get information, as well as climate activists and people whose primary way of getting information is digital,” said Jen O’Malley Dillon of the White House Deputy Chief of staff.
The Details: Hundreds of (unpaid and like-minded) content creators are working with Biden’s White House. They include:
Enlarge: A dedicated White House briefing room where influencers can meet in person or remotely would be unprecedented — and a sign that the traditional press conference room would no longer be the administration’s sole news hub.
It would also give some influencers more consistent access to the President. said Sisson, who has 660,000 followers on TikTok. “They were actually very responsive to that,” he said of administration officials’ reaction to the suggestion of some of the two dozen influencers attending a State of the Union watch party at the White House. The result: the administration is moving towards giving influencers their own briefing room in the White House.
Zoom out: In addition to invitations to the White House, the administration has given influencers the ability to access Biden when he’s out.
What’s next: The White House wants to work with influencers who have local audiences when Biden travels to their state — just as his regional team has built relationships with local media.
Reality check: Biden’s social media followers are nothing like Trump’s, particularly on YouTube and Facebook.
Biden’s strategy is more aimed at platforms favored by younger voters, such as Instagram and TikTok.
The intrigue: The government is soliciting support for TikTok, despite calling for the platform to be sold at risk of being banned in the US over its owner’s ties to the Chinese government.