Ryan Brennan says his cell phone is just as important to connect with votes as handing out pamphlets. (CBC)

Candidates in Nova Scotia’s election say they are quickly learning that they need to fine tune their online communication skills if they want an edge with voters.

Traditionally, door-knocking has been an essential tool for those wanting to win a seat. But Liberal candidate Brendan Maguire said if voters aren’t home, he’s out of luck. He said he’s able to connect with more people with his social media campaign.

"I was out knocking on doors today," he said. "I got off the doorstep, and I had about six tweets and 10 messages on Facebook."

Maguire is running in Halifax Atlantic against Progressive Conservative candidate Ryan Brennan.

Brennan said he’s able to reach a different audience online.

"There’s questions that are more focused on youth issues," he said. "Or issues that are more pertinent to young adults, you know, that sort of thing. So you see more of a variety."

CBC News tried contacting candidates in two ways: by calling their campaign headquarters and leaving a message on Facebook or Twitter. In most cases, candidates responded faster online.

For candidates who don’t have extensive experience with social media, this campaign is a steep learning curve.

"I am very new at Twitter," said Linda Moxsom-Skinner, the NDP candidate in Timberlea-Prospect.

"So I’m not doing a lot of original tweets. But at the end of every day, I go through the areas that I’ve been interested in, and I think my constituents would be interested in, and I retweet."

The leaders are also spending time online.

On Wednesday Liberal leader Stephen McNeil turned to the online forum Reddit to host an AMA – Ask Me Anything. It’s a popular exercise often used by celebrities to reach out.

In the forum, McNeil faced dozens of questions and comments about his platform.