Candidates rely on social media in this year's elections

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KSAZ) -- Scattered throughout cat pictures and funny memes, politics has infiltrated every corner of social media.

Using data from the 2016 election, Facebook ranked third in how Americans got their news. So, if you're a candidate running for office, it's not just smart to ignore the platform.

"It's 2018, and as we move forward, it's about connecting with people and showing you have a modern candidacy, but to me it's about engaging," said Daniel Valenzuela, who is running to be the mayor of Phoenix.

In the Phoenix mayoral race, Valenzuela is constantly connected, which can be a good and a bad thing.

"It's just a great way to just share time with people to share moments with people and I think that's what attracts people to it, there's a certain realness to it," said Valenzuela. "But it's also an easy distraction, like anything else, the same thing we tell our kids when they're in school, they shouldn't have their phones out when they should jbe doing something else, so it's also a distraction as well."

Another mayoral hopeful, Moses Sanchez, has found great success with frequent Facebook live videos, especially when he was collecting signatures to get on the ballot.

"We had one community out in Maryvale, had a gentleman who got off on his lunch break, go to where he saw the video being taped, and drove around looking for me because he wanted to sign my petition," said Sanchez.

Both candidates will also utilize the platform for those ads we see all over TV this time of year.

"We will be rolling out our digital marketing ads," said Sanchez. "Right now, it's about introducing myself to as many people as possible."

"Television is not going anywhere," said Republican strategist Jon Seaton. "I think the biggest howitzer is politics is still the 30-second broadcast ad."

Seaton captained a number of successful political ad campaigns already. He puts a premium on both digital and tradition television.

"Absolutely every decision that we make about media placement has to involve both, over the air, television, cable, digital, it all kind of plays in," said Seaton.

You've probably seen plenty of the ads already this election cycle. All painting the picture of a hero or a villain.

"The key for us is communicating to voters what that candidate believes in, what they want to do when they get into office, but in a way that is relevant to the voters they're talking to," said Seaton. "The realities of the race kind of dictate when to draw a contrast, when it's time to educate voters about their opponent's record. At the end of the day, it's got to be a collaborative process."

So how would a campaign for a candidate play out?

"Why are you running? I'm passionate about where I live now and I want to see positive change," said Seaton.

Bottom line, whether it's social media, TV, radio, whatever, candidates are pulling out all the stops to try and win your vote.