Social media has become a way of life for almost everyone today – from simply sharing insights into day-to-day activities to shaping a person’s decision-making in the present, which can affect not only his personal future, but even that of an entire nation.
According to a report by advertising agency We Are Social and social media management platform company Hootsuite in January, the Philippines tops the list of countries in terms of the amount of time people spend on social media. .
With information and analytics, content – for example, a campaign video – can effectively engage a candidate’s target segment of voters.
It could also mean that social media plays an important role when Filipinos choose their leaders.
“The use of social media in elections in the Philippines – national and local – was very evident since 2016, especially with the campaign of former President Rodrigo Duterte,” said digital political strategist Bran Ferrer Reluao.
Reluao is the Managing Director (CEO) of consulting firm BranReluao & Associates, specializing in digital policy and government advisory consulting.
“It was widely seen as the first mainstream use of social media in the election. Some academic studies have attributed its victory to social media, in which it is also about the rise of bloggers and vloggers creating content supporting and defending President Duterte, different pages and communities are springing up out of nowhere and pushing for different content mediums and so-called online hate produced by trolls.”
Reluao continued, “The recent national and local elections in May 2022 were the first elections in the country to be held under a global pandemic. This pandemic has paved the way for social media to become a very important tool for political candidates, hence the limits and restrictions on floor work or traditional campaigning, everything and everyone went to use the power of social media.”
According to the expert, social media has become a very good tool for politicians where they can communicate their campaign message in an instant, share very important information, speak directly to their target voters, attract young voters, and even at point of organizing campaign rallies online via Facebook Live.
“With the use of social media, candidates were able to humanize themselves, which actually became more appealing to the masses.”
However, social media is not just a platform where candidates and their social media managers post campaign messages or videos. According to Reluao, a deep dive into social media is needed and that’s where a digital political strategist like him comes in.
Social media has become a great tool for politicians, even to the point of broadcasting their campaign rallies from the field and making them accessible online via Facebook Live.
“In-depth analysis is required to gain insights and through the use of third-party analytics we may be able to better understand target voters. We get demographics, understand the behavior and interest of our voters targets via social media There are many tools and analytics that could provide us with a comprehensive survey of the target market, so social media is more sophisticated than ever.
“With the right insights and analytics guidance, we create content – for example, a campaign video – that will appeal to a certain segment of voters. Additionally, there are advertisements on each digital platform in which they give the power to a political candidate to narrow down and target a certain audience segment.If we just want to speak to a certain audience group or that content will only be visible to them, it is actually possible.
Reluao concludes that social media can actually shape and define a certain individual’s reality, in terms of decision-making.
“With the use of social media, the narrative or story that these candidates wanted people to believe in could be controlled, especially when they know how each platform’s algorithm works,” he concluded.