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What Election Day Tells Us About Social Media

Published: November 5, 2014

Author: Molly McCarty

Although 11/4 was not a holiday, we saw increased engagement across the major social media platforms because of #ElectionDay! In the last 4 years, the percentage of people following politics on social media has skyrocketed to 21%. To honor this, I took a deep dive into some of the most recent research done by the Pew Research Center in relation to politics and social media. A number of states early Tuesday were reporting fantastic turnout versus 2014.
The total percentage of social media users between the ages of 30-49 increased by about 17% to 78% between 2010 and 2014. This increased engagement points towards an underlying layer of comfort with social media that was not present 4 year earlier. With the increased comfort comes the likelihood for politicians to get actively involved in social media. After all, nearly 78% of their core demographic is actively using social media.
The outreach, both paid and organic, by political figures on social media has helped skyrocket platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to the forefront of political discourse. In 2010, only 6% of Americans followed political figures on social media; that number is up to 16% this year. This change is most apparent in voters ages 30-49 where 21% (up from 6% in 2010) now follow political figures. The chart below shows the social media engagement of % of users between the ages of 30-49 over the years.
As a social media advertiser, I find this trend impressive as well as encouraging. It clearly shows that social media effort from a political figure can create increased awareness of their cause. The same is true for brands.
As Facebook continues to increase its monthly active users (up to 1.35 billion based on the most recent earnings call, up 14% YOY) brands need to start taking advantage of finding their core demographics. The tools are readily available. Audience insights allows a company to see what Pages are most liked by users who are fans of their Page, and Twitter recent rolled out custom audience and lookalike audience targeting.
For brands that appeal to users ages 30-49, now is the time to be most engaged with your audience. The increase in political social media engagement can be true about all brands. It’s just a matter of using the tools available to reach these users.

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