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Guerrilla Tactics – How Politics Revel in Social Media

November 4, 2019 - Zak Averre

Cambridge Analytica changed everything. Concerns about the use of personal data in targeting individuals have always been simmering but came to a head in early 2018 when it was revealed Cambridge Analytica had harvested over 87 million Facebook users’ data without consent. This incident has been behind some of the most partisan political movements of the last decade with Cambridge Analytica linked to the campaigns of Leave.EU and the 2016 US presidential election among others. 

Since then there have been countless articles and documentaries, GDPR and an important focus on the power of social media in influencing decisions. Well, with the promise of an election in December politicians have gone up a gear on social media, with some interesting ways to make themselves heard. 

Labour

Labour supporters have recently taken to Twitter to take control of the hashtag #voteconservative. The hashtag reached the top three on Twitter trends with tongue-in-cheek (and not so tong-in-cheek) tweets about what voting conservative means for the British people.

Occupying the space of their opposition is an interesting use of Twitter’s popularity politics and speaks volumes about how the wide-eyed, starry internet use has given way to social media waves dripping in irony.

Conservatives

Not to be outdone, the official conservatives twitter page released a poster to spark support for the general election. This seems unremarkable until users noticed the use of Comic Sans to garner ‘hate shares’. Infamy and fame stand side by side and it seems the conservatives have mobilised their message through winding up people who oppose them.

This tactic is a masterstroke and has allowed them to hoodwink their detractors into sharing droll takes on this much-maligned typeface. Who knew Comic Sans would be a Trojan horse to spread conservative sentiment?

Lib Dems

The Lib Dems have also come under scrutiny for their Twitter tactics. One eagle-eyed observer found the party using six different images of Jo Swinson to test which is most effective.

This is nothing new in digital marketing with websites regularly using A/B testing to see what images, layouts and buttons work most efficiently. The Lib Dems have done something similar and been called out on it. Twitter users have had a field day with the revelation (as usual).

The People

Regardless of political leaning British people have a dry sense of humour that can be relied upon even in the darkest of times. The 31st of October, the long-awaited Brexit date, has been pushed to January and users have belittled the former ‘momentous date’ with a hashtag #BritainHasExploded.

Trending alongside Halloween, Twitter users have shared images of mundane, everyday life along with sarcastic comments about how the country is falling apart. 

Whatever your political leanings it seems that traditional practices have gone out the window. With Twitter’s Jack Dorsey announcing a ban on political ads from November, it seems this bout of politicking may be the last hurrah seen on the site before Out of Context accounts, Perfectly Cut Screams and wholesome dog memes take their rightful seat on the Twitter throne.

Keeping up with social trends is key for any forward-thinking business. Social media has the potential to become a self-sufficient advertising medium when managed correctly. Whether you’re looking to increase sales or just raise brand awareness, your community is one of the most powerful catalysts and should not be overlooked. Contact us now to find out how we can help you direct your social media clout into something meaningful.

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