How Social Transformed British Politics

“Hi, how you doing? We’re back, and we’re ready for it all over again.”

It’s the Jeremy Corbyn meme that keeps on giving, and one of hundreds of viral social media posts that sum up one of the most exciting elections in recent history.

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The 2017 snap election – or ‘Snapchat election’ – stood out for so many reasons. But Tezza, Jezza and even Lord Buckethead aside, June 8th should be celebrated for the pivotal role that social media played in encouraging young people to vote.

According to YouGov, an impressive 57% of 18 and 19-year-olds voted, along with 59% of 20-24 year-olds. Elsewhere, millennials aged 25-29 delivered a turnout of 64% to overshadow the estimated 43% of 18-24 year-olds who voted in the 2015 election.

Social Chain x Rize Up [Case Study]: How Social Media Impacted Votes

On May 15th, we joined forces with Rize Up, a non-profit organisation which aims to inspire political change by getting more young people to vote. The group ran by Josh Cole, a street photographer and film-maker, and Jane Powell, founder of men’s suicide charity CALM.

Like Social Chain, Rize Up, which has received support from a host of big-name musicians and artists like Tinie Tempah and Professor Green, is non-partisan and has no allegiance to any party.

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Being a social media agency with a primary focus on millennials and Gen Z, we felt it our duty to champion social as a platform for socio-economic change by supporting such a noble cause. 

To do this, we did what many political parties have so far failed to do. We engaged young people on the platforms where they consume news, media, information and entertainment, through viral content that resonates with their interests and values.

Utilising our communities, we initiated a thunderclap – posting through multiple social media accounts simultaneously – to create conversation while implementing a clear CTA that urged young people to register to vote.

On May 17th, we achieved combined results of close to three million impressions. We did this by posting memes, videos and original content on our most popular accounts, like this Voldermort/Trump mash-up on our Hogwarts Logic page.

 

What the results say

We saw the percentage of under 25s who were registered to vote rise from 34.7% to 37.6% in the two days the day since Theresa May called the election – a 2.9% hike in voter registrations, helped on by a number of national campaigns, including our own.

We followed our activity with a series of engaging and emotive social-first content and videos from our most famed pages. Posting on Student Problems on May 18th – Europe’s largest student network – helped us generate mass interest among university students who have been greatly affected by rising tuition fees etc.

As a result, we reached over 1.5 million people with a single post, and by now the percentage of under 25s registering to vote had increased to 39.8%. Again, while we would hope we played our part in initiating conversation, this surge has been the result of a wide-scale national effort.

By the time the deadline for voter registrations rolled around, well over 1.5 million young people had registered to vote since the election had been called, resulting in the highest ever turnout for a general election in decades.

What this means for the political landscape

Much has been documented about the effect of the youth vote, and the lasting impact it will have British politics. Naturally, for the democratic process to work, we need a system that accounts for all age groups and demographics to ensure fair representation.

The outcome of this most recent election shows the insurmountable power of social, and the influence a well-timed and well-executed social-first campaign can have in changing perceptions and encouraging action.

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In 2017, it is important for political parties and news outlets to resonate with audiences through all media, not just print and TV. Success is dependent on engaging through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

Want more? Of course, you do. Check out our interview with That News Thing host and political expert Sam Delaney and Social Chain’s Head of Talent on the role of influencers within political debate.

Alternatively, get in contact to find out how we can amplify your brand’s message to an engaged audience of over 386,000,000 people.

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