The 2012 Presidential Election is being dubbed “The First Digital Election” by Forbes. Here are a few things we learned from it:
1. Social Media Influences Decisions
If there was ever any doubt before, there isn’t now. Social media is a major influence on the decision making process for most people. This year, President Obama added to a strong following from the last four years to accumulate 33 million “likes” on Facebook, while Mitt Romney was way behind with 12.2 million. This allowed Obama to use the platform to advertise more and spend less. His strong presence on Facebook and Twitter made a huge impact on the election. KSL-TV, an NBC affiliate, estimates 58 percent of Americans obtain their political news via social networks, while 88 percent are registered voters. Obama’s strong presence on social media gave him a direct line to voters and his influence was clearly felt. His agressive social media strategy helped him to edge out Romney and win the election.
2. Social Media is an Integral Part of the Conversation
Using social media to comment on current events has become so natural to consumers that they can’t imagine it any other way. While TV used to be the frontrunner in news consumption and conversation, more consumers are now focused on social media as their preliminary source of news because of its real-time and viral capabilities. Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, says “social media is deeply embedded in the rhythms of people’s lives.” Consumers now form opinions as events are happening, instead of watching them on TV later or reading about them the next day.
Social media is not only here to stay, it’s here to take the lead.
3. Facebook is alive and well
Record numbers of users flocked to Facebook to check for updates on the election and post their opinions on the developments as they occurred. Facebook reports, “The 2012 election received the highest score on the Facebook Talk Meter that we’ve measured this year among U.S. users, weighing in at a 9.27 on a 10-point scale that measures Facebook buzz around a specific event and related terms.” In 2008, the number was 8.95.
This election showed that people will still run to Facebook, use it as a platform, share their opinions and stay connected.
4. The New Peer Pressure
On Tuesday night, you saw multiple Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram photos from most of your friends. So it’s not surprising that there were 71.7 million election-related Facebook mentions in posts and comments in the U.S. on election day alone. On Twitter, there were 31 million tweets relating to the election, with over 325,000 a minute!
While the direct impact on votes is unclear, there’s no questioning that opinions are being shared more consistently and easily than ever before. The general public talks about more than just politics on social media. When they have an opinion about your business, you can be sure you’ll hear it from them – and so will their friends.
What we’ve learned about social media from this election is that consumers are willing and ready to share big news with their friends. The question now is, how will you get them excited about your business?
The election provided a lot of insight for the use of social media on a major scale and it’s crucial for business owners to take these facts and implement them into smaller social campaigns.
How did you use social media during the 2012 election?