How Will Social Media Affect the 2012 Presidential Election?

During the 2008 presidential election, social media made its mark and showed the country that there is a way for internet users to organize their voices and offer support. Facebook and other social media outlets have grown exponentially in just the past 3 years. Everyone is paying attention now, and this includes everyone from politicians to attorney marketers.

Importance of Social Media

The main idea behind the importance of social media, web video, and internet in terms of voting is that it provides a medium for dialog between many of the swing voters and candidates.  This way, the candidates can concentrate their efforts in a close election on swing voters who've yet to make up their minds, and they can do so without influencing the majority of votes they've already ensured for themselves.  There really isn't a better medium than the internet for allowing a campaign to be finely tuned for very specific and particular voters.

A Younger Audience and Skewed Opinions

Statistics show that the median age of viewers for TV evening news is about 63 years old, and it is probably safe to assume that they may not see the internet as the biggest source of daily news. The younger generation (18 to 35 years old) is the largest group of social media users.  They pretty much rely on social media and other internet sources for information.  With the structure of social media, information is easily skewed as users exchange it with others.  Because someone has to pass on the information to another, they can add their 2 cents along with the relevant content, meaning the end result can lean heavily toward one side or another.

Because users' opinions can influence the information while it's being passed along, this can be a huge risk for candidates attempting to gain an edge using social media.  People don't need to watch a whole video to "misunderstand" something anymore; a snippet from an article is all a user needs to pass along misinterpreted information.

The Value of Social Media

The value of an online campaign is the most obvious benefit.  The cost is much less than paying television stations to run ads, and the impact could be just as good or greater.  A recent study conducted by SocialVibe found that 94% of social media users of voting age observe political content, and 39% of them share with about 130 of their friends online.

The potential for voter participation could be the greatest it has ever been.  The number of active Facebook users of voting age is about 150 million, and they each have an average of 130 friends.  Tapping into the right base of users could literally make or break a political campaign.  If your marketing campaign is still not on Facebook or other social networking sites, you should let us help you reassess your online strategies.  Give us a call at 888-886-0939 and don't forget to order our book Explode Your Practice through Internet Marketing.

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Tom Foster
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