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The Media Apprentice – A Social Media Election

Liam Mannion - 10th February 2015 - 0 comments

With the general election fast approaching, the need for candidates to enhance their presence on social media has never been higher. Obama was deemed the first “Social Media President” after his successful presidential campaign in 2008, this strategy is thought to be where party leaders in the UK should be looking in the next few months.

Young adults in the UK spend 1.33 hours a day on social media, and politicians need to do as much as they can to appeal to that audience. Instead of politicians merely retweeting their local council or tweeting about where they are, they need to engage with their audience. It was found that in the 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama achieved 20 times the social engagement than Mitt Romney; a reward for spending $47m on digital advertising compared to Romney’s $7m. For a party such as the Liberal Democrats to succeed, after losing many young voters after a dispute in policies, they would need to look at their strategy and look at ways to appeal to younger voters, rather than simply using other mediums such as newspapers.

On the other hand, tabloids have proven to be successful in the past. Politicians are hoping that young voters will play a huge role in the outcome of this year’s general election, but they must still appeal to the already large group of voters who regularly read news in tabloids and broadsheets. Last year, under 44% of young voters voted which means that maybe a more socially driven campaign will still not capture the audience. Keeping hold of past supporters may be a more viable idea.

Many have tried and failed at using social media, and there are certainly going to be many more that do. Ultimately, whoever utilises their media effectively that will gain more supporters in the coming months. Regardless of where candidates choose to do their campaigning, social media will play a role in deciding who will be standing outside 10 Downing Street on the 7th May.

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