Unless you've been living in a very deep, very dark cave for the last few years, you're probably aware of the important role social media plays in today's political climate. Interesting content, a regular rhythm of posts and thoughtful, personalized interactions are just a few of the ways to generate productive engagement in your social communities. However, when developing a social media strategy for a given period of time, the "who" and the "why" are considerations that are sometimes left on the back burner. Recent studies by the Pew Research Center reveal some interesting results when we look at the demographics and motivations for connecting with government on social media.
It's certainly not a shock to see Millennials at the top of the list with 90% of Americans aged 18-34 opting-in to political materials on social media. More surprising are the figures for Generation X and the Baby Boomers. With political opt-in numbers of 89% and 80% respectively, we learn that these two groups cannot be dismissed as afterthoughts when developing social strategies.
Now that we know a little more about who is connecting with government offices, let's look at why they choose to engage on social media versus other sources.
- Speed: 40% of registered voters prefer social media over traditional sources of political news simply because of the speed at which information becomes available. Elected officials can post reactions to speeches, explanations of votes, etc. seconds after the event happens--far faster than traditional news sources can.
- Reliability: 26% of voters believe politicians' various social media sites are more reliable for political news than traditional sources.
- Personal Connection: Social media represents a unique opportunity to showcase elected officials' personalities and to share moments from their lives away from the office. 34% of voters say this ability to connect on a personal level is the top reason they prefer social media.