The 2016 Election: Which Candidate Will Win Social Media?

These days, announcing your bid for the 2016 Presidential election seems to be trendier than a newborn baby photo shoot. From Jeb Bush’s announcement to run via Snapchat to Hilary Clinton’s sassy Instagram debut, social media is proving to be a more and more crucial part of a campaign strategy.

After some hiccups, politicians are starting to get the hang of social media and recognizing how important these platforms are in reaching a new generation of voters. But as we’ve seen happen with many brands, trying too hard to connect with the holy grail of millennial consumers can easily turn disastrous.

So how can presidential hopefuls stay relevant, come across as genuine, and connect with voters on an organic level?

Know Your Platform
For any candidate hoping to jump on emerging platforms to win the race in reaching millennials, it’s important to really know the platform you’re deciding to participate on, and what fans expect. Hosting a Reddit AMA? Learn from Woody Harrelson, and be prepared to answer anything. Redditors are a savvier group of Internet users that expect a level of transparency and can see through overt marketing in an instant. When it comes to social media, one size doesn’t fit all. It’s important to not only understand your consumer, but really know their social media habits and how they choose to utilize different platforms in order to make the strongest impact.

Talk About Real Issues
Millennials represent ¼ of the voting age population — and candidates are desperate to own this demographic. This generation, often pegged as apathetic, has rallied around key hot-button issues that candidates can use social media to address in a frank and earnest way. The economy, gay rights, and equal pay are just some of the issues millennials are most focused on — and by creating content and participating in direct discussions with voters on social through Twitter Q&As, Periscope-streamed panels, and Facebook chats, candidates can host honest discussions with prospective voters on the issues they care about most.

Remain True to Yourself
Don’t say bae. Just don’t do it.

Have Fun!
Social media is meant to connect people on a personal level and provide an inside look in to a user’s life. The candidates that are most willing to be candid, personable, well-informed, and unafraid to come off as, well, human will win the hearts (and votes) of millennials.

In a culture where consumers are always watching for the next social media fail and waiting for a politician to say (or tweet) something inappropriate, the 2016 Presidential Election is sure to provide a new batch of memes, SNL impersonations, and viral video moments. Who will get your vote?