Social Media And The Election

October 17, 2016

We’re down to the final weeks until this year’s “heated” election. In a normal election year, I would feeding off of my social channels, checking Twitter every ten minutes, waiting to see the latest poll results.

This year is different.

Facebook is… angry. Twitter seems like a complete and total echo chamber. Thank god for Instagram or I’d have nearly given up on the internet altogether. I’ve gone from checking my personal feeds every ten minutes, to nervously glancing a few times a day, hoping I won’t see something that will make me upset for the rest of the afternoon.

But I can’t be alone in this. Which got me thinking: How has this election changed the way the world views and uses social media?

So, I asked the Internet.

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And it seems I’m not alone.

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In all, I received more then 40 comments. Out of all of them, only two people said anything remotely positive about the election cycle. Many of them said they are avoiding or spending less time on specific social channels.

People are tired. They are tired of the election. They are tired of fighting. Simply put: they are tired of social media. And they are especially tired of Facebook and Twitter, where political commentary owns much of rhetoric.

So what’s a brand to do when your audience is spending less time on the platforms you use to reach them? Here’s just a few unsolicited ideas:

  • Go visual. I don’t think I’ve seen one thing on my Instagram feed that has made me wince this entire cycle. For the next few weeks, concentrate on Instagram and Snapchat — the platforms people rely on to look at cute puppies and find out what the Hadid sisters are wearing this week.
  • Create campaigns that make people feel good. There’s been enough snark in this election to last us until 2020. Now might not be the best time to launch your attack ad against your biggest competitor. Create things that bring people together, not things that tear (even more) people apart.
  • Get shit done. Have you been meaning to do a review of your social channels? Or have you been putting off brainstorming around ways to increase engagement? Now is the perfect time to put your attention elsewhere.
  • Remember, you’re a brand. If your brand has a clear mission and believes that making a statement one way or another is something that is necessary and expected from your consumers, then by all means, get political. You will get press. You will also get blowback. Regardless, it’s important to remember that in general most human beings aren’t sitting around thinking “I sure wonder what my favorite deodorant brand thinks about the next American president.”
  • Take the high road. If you’re somehow personally dragged into the rhetoric and are forced to give a statement about American politics on behalf of some sort of inanimate object, take a page from the Skittles and Tic Tac book of political statements. They nailed it.
  • Just wait it out. Just a few more weeks, folks. Until then,
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