I've long made the case that social media is the now primary point of contact between a campaign (political or advocacy) and its audience, and should be treated with the priority it deserves.
While many political campaigns and advocacy organizations still have a social media staff of one and resist allocating any more resources to social media, the reality that social media is your front door and deserving of your highest priority has come to roost, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.
As per the research, U.S. adults are now more likely to get news and information about the Presidential Election from the candidates' social media channels than they are from their emails and websites combined.
24%t of U.S. adults get their news and information from either Donald Trump's or Hillary Clinton's social media channels,while, only 10% get their news and information from their campaign websites, and 9% from their campaign email. That's 24% to 19% - and that gap is only set to grow larger.
And don't go thinking that these numbers are being driven up by Donald Trump's huge Twitter audience. People are equally likely to get their news and information from Hillary Clinton's social media channels as they are from Trump's.
And while people are more likely to get their information and news from Clinton's website and emails than from Trump's - especially from her emails - there's no question that social media is the primary medium for campaign messaging in this election. And that means a lot for anyone developing strategies and budgets for other campaigns and advocacy organizations.
It may be true that email remains more effective for some things - like large-scale fundraising from members - and websites are essential as "owned" repositories for original content, but social media can no longer be relegated to "also ran" status. Campaigns and organizations need to beef up their social media staff, budgets and strategic priority if they want to survive and thrive - failing to so so will ensure that your organization or campaign's effectiveness will erode, steadily and, possibly, quickly.
This is why I have written extensively about the need to create enterprise-level social media programs to replace your lonely social media manager sitting in that little cubicle. Even if you're not running a campaign or advocacy organization, but rather a university doing research to make the world a better place, you need to pay heed to this new reality and create a university-wide social media program.
The time to act is now, hesitating is not in your best interest. Social media programs need time to grow audiences - you can't just jump into it and hope to make the impact you needed to make yesterday.
The sooner you start taking social media as seriously as it deserves to be taken, the sooner you'll halt the erosion of your influence and start reaching your true potential.