The 2020 US elections are less than a year away and as it draws closer so is the pressure on the candidates to convince voters to vote for them. For years, political candidates have been borrowing campaign strategies from brands and this voting cycle is no different. As we know Gen Z has become a very important demographic to brands. Many brands have begun to create strategies that will help them appeal to this generation. Political Candidates are catching on and are also trying to appeal to this generation. Seeing as voter turnout was only 48.3% in 2016, but now it’s expected to nearly double as 80% of Gen Z college students prepare to cast ballots in 2020.
A great way to reach this generation is through social media networks and a great way to meet them on these social networks is through influencers. Many brands use influencer marketing to promote their brands. Just like brands, politicians have begun to use influencer marketing to control their “brand narratives” on social media.
How Influencers are Handling Politics on Social Media
Traditionally the public monitors the latest happenings in politics and political candidates through the 24-hour news cycle which is defined by a constant, passive stream of news content. But Gen Z doesn’t monitor news through the 24-hour news cycle. They will only tune in only when someone they trust creates content. As a result, the rhythm of news consumption is more fluid and dependent on when politicians or news influencers post.
As a result of the new way Gen Z consumer news, news influencers summarize the news cycle for Gen Z. For example, popular news influencer Philip DeFranco curates the stories of the day and packages them into bite-sized YouTube videos. Podcasters like Chapo Trap House offer live stream commentary on events like the Democratic debate for those that want an active role in news consumption. With the change in news consumption for Gen Z has given more power to influencers. This has led to political candidates partnering with influencers to build support.
How Political Candidates are Partnering with Influencers
With the need to appeal to Gen Z and the change in the consumption of news, politicians are partnering with influencers to sway election outcomes. Here are some of the ways political candidates are partnering with influencers:
Sen. Kamala Harris
Sen. Kamala Harris is working with some influencers on YouTube to promote her candidacy in exchange for campaign merch and entry to her events. Between November 2018 and February 2019, articles about Harris produced more than 16 million shares and interactions from influential Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders is not new to working with influencers seeing as he worked with them on his last campaign. For 2020, he would be doing more one-time work with specific influencers that can spread his progressive messaging to followers on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Sanders sat with Cardi B in July to discuss economic, racial and social justice. She posted clips of the interview on her Instagram, which boasts 53.6 million followers.
President Donald Trump
He frequently uses his fan base on social media to spread his message. Trump even gathered his most passionate online supports for a White House “social media summit.” He’s also partnered with a variety of YouTube personalities from gamers to wildlife enthusiasts to fitness gurus to push his agenda.
Source: Ad Week