It’s no secret that the upcoming 2016 presidential election has been a hot topic in the news this year. Between the numerous Republicans throwing their hats in the ring to the discussions around whether VP Joe Biden would run and who, exactly, would be participating in the debates, there are a lot of names, faces, and personalities. Some stand out more than others – and some campaigns are tapping into emerging media and digital marketing to help their candidate pull ahead.
Bernie Sanders website is full of information about his stance on hot button issues. Each issue has its own dedicated page with well written rhetoric and data (including graphics) to back it up.
In addition, Carly Fiorina’s marketing team decided to engage in post-click marketing strategies. “During the last two GOP debates, the team at CARLY for America used an interactive post-click campaign to create an engaging experience for users to voice their opinions. Once visitors arrived to the home page, they could enter the interactive experience and answer questions on Fiorina’s policies, their intent to vote, and more. Once they finished the questions, they unlocked a free bumper sticker. This campaign collected valuable voter data while educating voters on Fiorina’s stances.”
There are even indicators that some campaigns may be rigging SEO through backlinks. “It may seem a little crazy to think that the marketing committees of U.S. presidential candidates would try to manipulate Web traffic, but an SEO audit of the Republican presidential candidate frontrunners conducted by Walker Sands Digital found that Donald Trump’s Web site has 1.35 million backlinks. The count is 934,000 more than the candidate with the second-highest, Hillary Clinton, with 416,000 backlinks.
Social media has made it possible for consumers to voice their opinions on products and brands more readily. One industry in which this is particularly evident is beauty products. Take YouTube, for instance; the social media video site is full of influencers recording videos of themselves trying beauty products and reviewing them. You can see a few examples below.
“A survey commissioned by Variety last year found that among U.S. teens, YouTubers were the most influential figures, eclipsing A-listers like J Lawr and Katy Perry. Within the realm of beauty, these YouTubers inform devotees on what makeup to buy and how to wear it — bridging the gap between the professional and amateur cosmetics worlds.” Many believe it is YouTube’s accessibility and educational qualities that makes it such a natural platform. “‘In the past, the only way you could learn about makeup without going to school for it was through books, and even then those only had illustrations that were just rubbish,’ Wayne Gross, makeup artist, says. He believes that YouTube has had a key role in demystifying makeup techniques previously only used by professionals. All of this education has inevitably increased the demand for products like the contouring kit or 25-pan eyeshadow palette, which 10 years ago most consumers weren’t knowledgeable about or interested in.”
Many are finding success in Instagram, as well. According to a study by Tribe Dynamics, “the EMV for Instagram increased 904 percent in 2015 versus 2014, while blogs netted only a 26 percent increase. As well, a new community of influencers has emerged, based primarily in the U.S. and U.K., but with a global reach.”
There is no question that social media has become one of the primary ways that many people communicate and share their lives with others. With statistics showing that 37% of people spend 6 or more hours a week on social media and that there are 1.15 billion Facebook users and 1 billion YouTube users, it’s clear that social media is here to stay (at least for now). One industry that has found huge advantages to getting involved on social media is the nonprofit world. Just check out the following infographic if you don’t believe me!
There have been concerns, however, that the advent of social media and its ties to the nonprofit industry are somewhat damaging to a nonprofits bottom line. “Slacktivism ‘describes ‘feel-good measures’, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little physical or practical effect, other than to make the person doing it feel satisfied that they have contributed’.” We touched on this briefly during a blog post a few months ago in the wake of the Paris attacks. A study by the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business found that those who showed support online felt associated with the cause but also lessened their likelihood to commit any tangible resources, such as money, to them.
Other studies have shown that online social movements can have an effect, but it depends on the situation. “Analysis of more than a million tweets by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University (NYU) has found these people on the periphery do play a critical role in spreading the reach of protest movements. The study, published in the journal PLOS One, focused on a few specific protests: the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey, the Indignados movement against austerity in Spain and the Occupy movements. Using location data embedded in the tweets to determine who was at the protest and who was observing online, the researchers looked at how the size of the online activists’ social networks increased the likelihood of other people joining the physical protest. The data showed most modern protests have a minority who are physically active and a much larger group – dubbed ‘the critical periphery’ – who may tweet about it only once or twice but are responsible for doubling the protest’s reach.”
The bottom line is that it is important to think critically about just how far your click can reach. The outcome can vary wildly depending on the situation, and nonprofits often measure their success in dollars and not likes.