June 21, 2017 By FTI Consulting
Last night saw the conclusion of a special congressional election billed to set the tone for the future of the Trump administration and upcoming 2018 midterm elections. Republicans kept the seat formerly occupied by now-secretary of health Tom Price, quashing the well-financed campaign of Jon Ossoff. The election was the paradigm of this new age of dirty digital politicking. I know. It probably seems like a pretty tired thing to say. After all, every election is the new “first official social media election”. While this might not be the first, it’s surely instructive of how the game is now played.
While politics seem to have entered a uniquely Orwellian post-fact era, it’s not hard to see how these risks can (and do) find their way into the private sector. To combat them, companies should be comprehensive in their approach, knowing friends (and enemies) online and in the media, crafting content and messaging that is hard to manipulate and working proactively with stakeholders to get their side of the story out there.
A surprising victim of automation is emerging: the newsroom editor. Despite the dangers of algorithm-based news sourcing shown in the 2016 election (and elsewhere), the dominance of Facebook and Google is still influencing how our news is selected. We can see this in significant reductions in editorial staff, not only at smaller web-based publications but at media giants like Time and The New York Times. Emphasis is shifting from seasoned editors to scoop-chasing reporters and slick visual content – aka, the stuff that plays better with online audiences.
FTI has been on top of this trend, noting that media outlets’ (and their reporters’) successes are increasingly measured in clicks and views. That’s why we launched our product Optimize. Optimize identifies gaps in topics and messaging that allow companies to build web copy, thought leadership or even individual press releases and pitches tailored to language that will perform well in search. You should ask us about it, or at least check out the attached brochure.
Social media has created a tricky question for brands: how much personality is too much personality? Recently, more and more brands are gaining attention for sassy, snarky posts on social media. But how much is too much, and does this work for everyone? Social analytics and publishing platform SproutSocial produced a report on exactly this, coming to a conclusion we can get behind: It totally depends on your audience. Everyone has different expectations from brands on social media, but audiences can (and should) be broadly mapped. Does your retail/consumer audience want to see your company get a little cheeky? Does your audience of student engineers or “geeks” want you to be informative? Clearly, common sense can go a long way, but leveraging strong social analytics platforms ahead of launching a social presence or campaign can help cement success.
And on the topic of sharing political images on social media, Marco Rubio is launching an investigation into his hugging prowess after this awkward shot.