An interesting pattern seems to have been emerging over the last series of elections around the world that seems to be more than just coincidence. As seasoned heavyweight politicians look around in dazed bewilderment, wondering what possibly could have gone wrong, a newer generation of (not always younger) people who seem to have their finger on the pulse of what modern society is thinking, have made huge inroads into what was once their career safe-haven.
How has this been possible they seem to ask as they wander around, now unemployed, having been used to wielding great power for a large portion of their lives?
The interesting thing that this new generation of leaders such as Trump & Corbyn seemed to have been able to dig deeper than what the polls, conventional wisdom and history itself would seem to tell us. What happens on election day is always an unknown until it happens but whilst Corbyn was touring relatively safe seats and holding large rally’s of younger people, there were those of us who sneered at him and thought to ourselves, what on earth is he doing? Why is he not visiting swing vote areas and trying to get gains in areas in which he could quite realistically expect to make up some ground? After all, this is what politicians have always done right?
What the traditionalists seem to have missed is the influence and power that can be gained by smart use of social media. Whilst main stream politicians have been used to television and press and the main means of getting your message to the general public, these newer leaders on the scene seem to have embraced what is slowly dawning on everyone, that social media is an incredible way to engage with people and to be able find out the general mood of the public.
To be fair, the Conservative party spent millions (believed to be around £3.5M) on facebook advertising, this was no more than a nod towards the fact that social media is becoming more important. They didn’t seem to spend the time trying to find out why it was becoming more important.
As Corbyn toured the country with big rally’s in front of adoring crowds, these events were tweeted and posted online, creating a ‘feeling’ of positiveness and that he was doing rather better than the polls suggested. Whether this was an illusion or not is missing the point. The feeling it created online was palpable and don’t forget, younger people are much easier to influence than older, hardened voters.
Donald Trump also used this strategy to great effect in the USA, and also by constantly tweeting his thoughts, he seemed somehow much more personable and reachable than the traditional politicians who would hide behind cleverly worded statements and years of experience. An interesting podcast that talks about the lessons that can be learnt from Donald Trump and his use of social media can be heard here.
As a social media agency, we spend a lot of time on social media and it was very noticeable the amount of positiveness around Jeremy Corbyn and the anger felt against the Tory party and Theresa May. Why was this? The honest answer is I don’t know the exact reasons for the feelings but we did notice that there did seem to be quite a ‘mob’ effect. If anyone tried to say anything positive about the Tory party or question any of the Labour party ideas, these comments and tweets were quickly shouted down by the much more active Corbynistas out there.
Younger people are more impressionable and it maybe that some were swayed by this or perhaps had second thoughts on saying how they felt after seeing how others were treated online. Who knows, but what we have found is that if you can get the social media generation onside, you will have a far better chance of doing well in the elections than if you completely ignore it.
Jeremy Corbyn Talks About The Use Of Social Media
Being more personable and ‘down to earth’ seem to be the new buzzwords in the political arena, and social media offers politicians the perfect opportunity to show the public that this is what they are.
However, no one can deny that what was once thought of as a fad and something that will die off as quickly as it arrived are now waking up to the fact that Social Media is here to stay (for now) and by using it wisely, you can wield a lot more influence than previously thought.