Facebook Serves as the Primary Source of Election News for College Students, Survey
In 2016, more than 20 million college students will be eligible to vote for the next president. So far this election cycle, the crop of candidates have experimented with different methods for connecting with these young voters, through rallies, interactive debates, and, especially, social media. A recent survey shows that capitalizing on the latter could prove key to securing four years in the oval office.
Fluent, a Boston-based college insights and marketing firm, just released the results of a survey in which 1,000 college students were asked where they get their information about the presidential election. Nearly half of students surveyed cited social media as their primary source for political news and updates. Comparatively, 38% of respondents said they turn to traditional news media, like TV, first.
“We’re all interested in college students and what they care about,” said Michael Carey, EVP of Client Services at Fluent, who oversaw the survey. “If these candidates can reach them correctly and if they’re on point with what matters to them, they’ll stand out in the crowd.”
80 percent of those who chose social media selected Facebook as their go-to channel for news about the election, Twitter came in a far second.
“We’ve all heard that Facebook isn’t cool and they’re not on Facebook, but this proves that they are and they’re using it to find out about election news,” says Carey. “Facebook is a safe forum for them to get educated about politics and form opinions on candidates based on news they see in their news feed.”
Carey notes that the objective is no longer to “rock the vote,” it’s getting voters educated about each candidate before they head to the polls. A high 84% of those surveyed said they planned on voting during this coming election.
Some candidates are doing a better job than others at reaching this important audience. “There are some implications for candidates: soundbite messaging is key and also relationship building because students have a slight mistrust of politicians,” says Carey.
If candidates want to use Facebook to their advantage, they’d focus on communicating their stances on relatable issues like student loan debt and raising the minimum wage. “Candidates who are using the platform to connect to this audience and spending digital ad money on Facebook will win their attention.”
This article was written by Natalie Sportelli from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.