Social Media Data Collection

In order to have access to social media data collection tools, the user must complete one live training session with a member of the DFL Data Team and be approved for access by a VAN Admin. You can sign up for a live training session here

Social media IDs are considered “soft IDs” and are not the same way as an ID from a conversation with a voter.  The information collected in the “* MN DFL Digital Actions” committee is not a definitive ID for either a given candidate or the Party. The priority ID of any organizing unit or campaign should be ID’ing voters via phone and at the doors. Social media IDs are not a replacement for Direct Voter Contact and should never be used in place of connecting with voters. Each social media action is an opportunity to learn more about what voters are concerned about and should help inform issue-based organizing in your district and community. 

The digital identity of a voter is harder to verify than at the doors or via phone. As such the following identification criteria must be reviewed before a Social Media ID is entered on the voter’s profile:

Required | At Least One | Optional

  • First Name Match

  • Last Name Match

  • State Match

  • Middle Name Match

  • Address Match

  • Zip Match

  • City Match

  • Date of Birth/Age Match

  • Phone Number Match

  • Email Match

You can identify a voter’s information with context clues from their profile. Not every social media profile will have all of this information available, but it’s important to try to find as much information about the poster as possible to connect them to a voter’s profile. If you are unable to find the required information, you will not be able to enter data for this instance. It’s ok if that is the case. 

1. Identify the users first name, last name, and state

  • You can click on a voter’s profile to try to view this info on Instagram, Facebook, Nextdoor, Twitter, and Tik Tok

  • Using a user’s profile name may help you to identify their name

  • You may have to use “context clues” to identify their state

    • Is their school or job listed as being in MN?

    • Do they tag their photos in a certain town repeatedly? 

2. Identify at least one of the following from the user: middle name, address, zip code or city, date of birth or age

  • The user’s middle name may be in their profile name as well

  • You may have to use “context clues” to identify their city

    • Is their school or job in a specific city?

    • Do they tag their photos in a certain town repeatedly?

  • You may have to use “context clues” to identify their age/date of birth

    • Do they have a post celebrating their birthday? Have others tagged them in birthday photos? Is their age or graduation year shown in their profile?

3. You can optionally identify the user by finding their phone number or email address

  • Facebook has this information more publicly available than other social media platforms

  • Did this user post an item they are trying to sell with their contact information available?

  • Does this user have a business account with contact information available?

4. Once you have social media data to enter, you will want to use Form View to enter that information. You will need to have information about the voter in order to enter responses to the form. Note: Data should be entered only during a specific time frame. Data should be entered more than 24 hours after the digital action is taken and up to 72 hours after the digital action is taken. Do not enter “stale” data that is outside of these limitations. 

  • After you’ve logged into VAN, you will navigate to “Enter Data” and drop down to “Form View” as shown below.


  • VAN will ask you how you want to find voters to enter data for. Since we’re working with one-off instances from social media, we will want to select Quick Look Up as shown below. Make sure to hit “Next” to have VAN move you to the next step! 

  • Now you’ll be able to select the Form you’d like to use and the Canvass Type. For the social media data collection project, you will always want to select the “Digital Actions” form and “Social Media” as the Canvass Type. Make sure to hit “Next” to move you to the next step! 

  • To use Quick Look Up you will need to have the minimum identity verification criteria available to you. Make sure to hit “Search” to pull up voters that match the identity verification criteria you entered. In the example below, you can see that I have the voter’s First Name, Last Name, State (by default you can only look up folks from Minnesota) and City. Once you’ve found the voter you’re searching for, click on their name in blue font. 

  • Once you’ve selected the voter you’d like to enter responses for, VAN will pull up their Name, Voting Address, Date of Birth, Home and Mobile Phone numbers as available. Below this information, you’ll see drop down options to enter data for the survey questions we talked about earlier (platform, sentiment, action, party affiliation, and issue). Additionally, you’ll be able to enter notes if needed. See below for what that will look like! 

  • Note: You should enter notes sparingly and should be used only to provide the appropriate social media handle and candidate name if a candidate was mentioned. 

  • After you’ve entered responses make sure to hit save to record this data! This shows up in the top right corner of the form. 

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