Nowadays, the presence of politics on social networks has never been as massive. Indeed, social media have had a tremendous impact on the world’s culture and business all over the world. They have revolutionized the way people communicate and socialize in modern life.
It is something we are really focused on with the US elections in the past few days. In fact, $ 500 million were spent by the candidates to promote Facebook posts or tweets sponsor. Therefore, in 2016, how to use social networks at best?
How to engage the audience on the social networks?
Social networks have one important goal: create links and interactions between all the members using social networks. We can say that social networks based their selves on communities. These interactions are the ground of value creation on social networks. Moreover, when members like a specific company or person, they can follow it. Consequently, they are called the “followers”.
Here, we are focusing on companies but it can also be persons who create content.
Companies are now familiar with a new concept called “social media marketing”. This new concept, also know as SMM, refers to a kind of marketing technique using social networks as a marketing tool in order to promote products or services of a specific company.
In order to clear value from social networks, companies can use different techniques. In fact, companies can ask questions to their followers in order to engage them. Via questions, companies can ask feedbacks from people or ask their opinion. Then, companies can use call to action button for making surveys in order to catch information about the followers. Moreover, they can also use photos or videos because these visuals are more adapted to our new devices such as the smartphones, the tablets and connected watches. Then, companies can take advantages of using #hashtags in order to talk about current subjects and it helps to categorize your publication subject. Moreover, companies have to choose the right hour and day to publish their content. In fact, it has been demonstrated that there is a much higher engagement level during the weekend. Finally, the most important is that companies have to create unique and personalized content. In order to create a good content, companies have to ask their selves this following question: “Why do my followers follow me?”
Publicity via Social Networks
Social networks are providing big marketing opportunities: they are representing an essential communication channel. So what are the different goals people want to achieve by spreading publicity through social networks?
The first goal is the branding. It concerns the fact of creating commitment to publications, such as likes, commentaries or sharing. Sponsoring contents can then be used to target a more people and not only the ones that already subscribed to the pages. The second goal is about creating a community. Advertising on social networks enables the creation of a “community”, with whom companies will be able to keep in touch. Finally, the third and last goal is the ROI (Return on Investment). It consists in bringing the community outside social networks, such as different political articles in the US elections case. People thus culturally enrich about the themes companies shared.
Why do they use social networks?
Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and YouTube have an important impact on American politics in recent years. Recently, US presidential race can be considered as a good example. Nowadays, candidates and their campaigners use social media not only to inform and influence voters but also to organize their campaigns.
Barrack Obama was the first presidential candidate who used social networks as an important campaign tool and a way to create debates and discussions. In 2008, he spent around $47 million, ten times that of his Republican rival Mitt Romney.
The last US election has been even more inclined to make use of social media campaigning. They show ingenuity and originality.
Social media has become a key tool in political campaigns. Candidates take advantage of social media to gain a community of followers and to create a buzz. Donald Trump has made social networks, such as Twitter, a very important part of his communication strategy, instead of putting forward usual tools like TV ads. Also, Trump has more followers than any of the other candidates: 13 million people are following him on twitter. He largely uses controversy and ‘virability’ for his profit. Indeed, Donald Trump for example created buzz to obtain feedbacks and tendencies about controversies and policies.
Hilary Clinton has also benefited a lot from very engaged followers. A lot of celebrities endorse her on social media, as twitter or Instagram, like the selfie with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for example.
So online campaigns cannot only be run online, but each candidate’s campaigners can use social media to speak directly to voters.
Social media also raise the interest of youth in politics. Young voters are more present on the social media; youngsters voting less than the other parts of the population. Social media engage young voters who generally do not vote. So each candidate has the objective of appealing youth’s vote. Consequently, youngsters have a real impact on the results of the election.
Finally, financing campaigns can be made through raise funds via grassroots fund raising. It is a method of fund raising for candidates who don’t have an important media exposure or lobbyists’ support. The noblest grassroots fund raising is Money bomb; Ron Paul managed it in 2007. Furthermore, social networks make raising funds very easy, with the donate buttons on twitter, Facebook or YouTube for example. Users who donate can also post about their donation, ‘offering’ to more users the opportunity to donate too.
In summary: The pros and cons
First of all, upcoming event or election agenda are very accessible on social media. In this way, people can get the most updated information anytime anywhere.
Electors can also directly be in contact with the party representatives, in order to raise a concern or ask a concrete question. The party is then able to listen people voices and so get an early solution for any kind of problem.
Finally, more and more people could get more involved in the election. Indeed, everybody is playing an active role thanks to the advanced attributes of the technology.
There are always groups of people that are getting talked about and stimulate political polarization. It is then hugely used to criticize the opposition parties, to distort competition by misleading, and even to make fun of each other as may have been seen in the Trump and Clinton tweets.
Concerning the presence on social media, it requires a lot of money; more than you could imagine. As previously said, in 2012 Obama spent up to US$47M during his campaign only for the social media purpose.
Social media platforms are thus still on the way of completing their selves with more and more attributes, attracting always more voter to the elections, but also costing a lot of money.
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By Lisa Pardo-Ricklin, Audrey Neirinckx, Marine Paquet, Phuong Chau Ngo and Gabin Gravier