Hitting The Mark

How Social Media Shaped the 2016 Election

Social media influenced this year’s presidential campaign in a myriad of ways. It was rare to log in and not see at least one candidate trending, often because of a jab or response posted to one of their social media platforms. Twitter, in particular, seemed to become the candidates’ channel of choice to rally supporters or send quick punches that reverberated throughout our media. Facebook’s platform was the venue fueling longer and oftentimes heated dialogue for users and their personal spheres.

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Both candidates realized early on what any savvy marketer will tell you, that social media is a vital tool in crafting your brand, shaping your narrative, conducting conversations and showing some personality. Important dialogue between candidates, supporters, adversaries and even foreign leaders emerged on key social media channels during this campaign, making managing it an absolute requirement for any campaign and for all news media to read, watch and digest.

“In 2016, social media is shaping the narrative – more days than not, a campaign’s narratives are being defined by conversations on social media – among journalists, activists and voters. The debate night experiences from 2012 have essentially become the daily experience; in many ways, social is now in the driver’s seat,” says Matt Lira on The Huffington Post.

Many people have become so disillusioned with the traditional news media that they are looking to social media to stay informed on current events, and this election season was no exception. Millennials in particular tend to consume news this way, preferring to skim headlines on Twitter or scan a candidate’s Instagram account.

We’re also short on time, and social media offers a level of efficient information consumption that traditional television news simply can’t. Why sit through an entire debate, town hall, interview or convention when the most poignant moments will go viral within minutes?

Thankfully, November 8th is now around the corner and the dialogue will soon shift to a new direction. Time, too, to plan your 2017 social media strategy and how social will fit into your overall marketing plans.