Engaging with your audience in a direct and meaningful way can always be a challenge, especially when the subject matter isn’t high on their agenda, but engaging with your audience via their preferred media source is always going to give you the best traction.
Take today’s general election for example; politicians and the Electoral Commission have been trying to engage with millennials to encourage them to vote. I’m sure you’ll have seen the TV and newspaper adverts targeted at 18-24 year olds but did you also know they were targeting this audience on Instagram and Snapchat?
Instagram and Snapchat have 14 million and 10 million UK followers respectively, 90% of those being under 35, making them prime platforms to engage with a large amount of the electorate who feel disengaged from the political process.
These social media platforms offer the opportunity to give the audience an insight and understanding of your campaign in a medium they are most likely to engage with, especially if your images and stories aren’t particularly news worthy but are still as equally important to your mission.
The rawness of Snapchat allows for a more personal connection and due to the limited time of viewing it creates a sense of urgency to capture people’s attention. You are able to share journeys with your audience and key themes in any campaign, be it looking at health reform in a particular area or raising awareness for a community event – the simplicity of the platform is its highlight and arguably is something which is yet to be truly harnessed by political campaigns in the UK.
There are some good examples. The Electoral Commission has identified the power of the platform and to encourage 18-24 year olds to register to be able to vote on 8 June, the Electoral Commission launched a nationwide geofilter on Snapchat which included the deadline to vote.
Young people often have dramatically different voting intentions to older people, yet don’t vote in the same kind of numbers. The Commission hopes that engaging with millennials in a way which will resonate with them will mean they turn out to vote today.
The most important thing to remember with these platforms is that any campaign needs to be carefully planned with choreographed imagery scheduled for key times. The overall style needs to be consistent to ensure imagery is on brand and any hashtags or geolocations are relevant and shareable.
Only today’s turn out will show if the Electoral Commission’s social campaigns have had any impact – but they deserve a lot of credit for working out an effective way to engage with their audience which will always be high on the agenda when coming up with any new campaign.