Whether you're a small-business owner competing with giants like Amazon or a young Latina running for office for the first time, you can use social media to your advantage. Through her effective use of social media, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the first 29-year-old Latina to beat a 10-term white male incumbent. This goes to show that, when used correctly, the power of social media is huge.

Here are some examples of how she used social media, and how you can implement similar strategies to build trust and win customers too.

1. She knew exactly who her audience was and what appealed to them.

As a minority Millennial herself, she knew young people wanted real solutions to real problems affecting their communities. They are disappointed by the politicians and how government policies are made, and hence don't see value in exercising their right to vote. They do, however, like to voice their opinions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, the main platforms Ocasio-Cortez used to talk with her people, not at them.

What this means for your business:

  • Before you start developing a new product or service, talk to real people who might be having the problem you're trying to solve. This will require virtually or physically meeting people where they spend most of their time.
  • Take the time to really listen, and respond to their messages and comments on your social-media accounts.

2. She gave her people something to care about, and hope for, by using everyday language and analogies.

A powerful example of this is her comparison of the voting process to the dating process. In a short video that she posted on election day, she described how frustrating it is to keep dating until you find your soulmate. She then stated that voting is similar in the sense that you don't see immediate results. It takes time and numbers for the change to take place, but that doesn't mean one shouldn't exercise their right to vote.

How you can use simple yet powerful messaging:

  • Write marketing material at the 6th-grade level. If your kids can understand what you do, so can your prospects.
  • Limit jargon to internal communication, as your team understands exactly what it means, but your customers might not.
  • Use emotion to describe how your customers will feel after successfully implementing your solution.

3. She bridged the gap between politics and everyday people by taking them behind the scenes.

If you look at her Instagram feed, you'll see lots of photos and videos from the Capitol building, giving us a glimpse into her day-to-day activities. She even described her first few days at the Capitol as a high school orientation, complete with her "freshman yearbook" pictures. Through familiar concepts like high school orientation and the occasional use of emojis, her followers get to experience politics as if they were actually in her office. Politics doesn't always have to be a boring subject kept hidden from outsiders.

Ways you can take your people behind the scenes:

  • Encourage your employees to share their experiences on social media.
  • Make your hiring process more fun and human by sharing video clips of the new hire's team members and manager.
  • Post photos and videos of "boring" tasks like assembling new equipment or unfinished products.

4. Her online personality matched her offline personality, and she is not afraid of openly discussing what needs to be discussed.

Politicians are known for making promises before the election, but not following through with their commitments afterward. Ocasio-Cortez has maintained transparency by staying consistent with her message both online and offline, as well as before and after her election.

One of the radical ideas she proposed was abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, for violating human rights. She has continued advocating for minorities by showing up at rallies and other community events.

How you can maintain an authentic brand:

  • Clearly identify your core values and live by them, no matter where you are.
  • Do what you say you will do; do not make promises you can't deliver on.

You too can build trust with your target audience by identifying their needs, proposing simple solutions, sharing exclusive content, and living your core values.