Social Media: An Ally for Political Marketing
The power that social media has for elections was evidenced during the 2008 US elections, where Barak Obama’s social media campaign had played a key role in his election as President. The purpose of this researchwas to examine how political parties in Germany have used social media marketing to mobilize younger adults to vote for them. Focus was on the elections for the European parliament that took place in 2019, where German parties did not use social media platforms to the best of its potential, resulting in unsatisfactory ratings for the two main parties of Germany. To achieve the aim of this research, various social media platforms were identified where young voters were exposed to political messages, and were observed. The four parties included in this research were the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) / Christian Social Union (CSU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD),the Green Party (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), and the Alternative for Germany (AfD).For interviews, the main target group were young adults between 23 and 30 years old, and Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube were used for this study’s investigation.
Observation of the social media profiles of these four parties suggested that the two main parties of German (the CDU / CSU and SPD), underperformed on all platforms as they had failed to be up-to-date regarding their social media political marketing, whereas the Green Party and the Alternative of Germany lead the way online. They both enjoyed the highest number of followers on Instagram and Twitter, with the AfD being the clear winner. As the youngest party of four, they were the ones with the best outcome in terms of social media marketing. Through the interviews, and despite the negative feedback of how the parties performed on social media during the 2019 elections, all interviewees confirmed their intention to follow the parties’ social media platforms in the next elections, but are expecting better performance and visibility online, constant updates, and importantly increased interaction with audience.
Keywords - Social Media Marketing, Political Marketing, Elections, Consumer Behaviour.