The US Presidential election is next Tuesday. Media will be dominated by the election, with a peak on election day and that night as polls begin closing at 6:00pm EST. Conversation is likely to continue over the week.
We expect social to reach peak saturation in political conversation next week. You should also anticipate a possible shift towards divisiveness and sharing of misinformation across channels, included on branded Pages. Prepare for high volume and ensure your campaigns aren’t coming across as tone deaf or get buried in chatter.
When it comes to brands on social, the best course to chart is one of flexibility and putting what we do know to work.
How platforms are preparing for the Election
While most of the restrictions are for paid political ads, there are restrictions beyond that that you should know about:
- Social Issue ads, in addition to political ads, are banned from Facebook and Instagram starting November 4th. This includes ads about civil and social rights, crime, economy, education, environmental politics, guns, health, immigration, political values and governance, security, and foreign policy.
- Misinformation, including QAnon, voter intimidation, and premature declarations of victory, is restricted from major social platforms.
How you should prepare your brand for Election conversation
- Evaluate your social calendar: Things are going to happen fast: your reach will get buried. Use UGC campaigns with caution as callouts unrelated to the election during this time could get hijacked by unrelated or even damaging topics. Any content or campaigns unrelated to the election is at risk of being tone deaf.
- Get ready for volume: In Facebook groups and other topical communities, discussion is likely to increase. Have a plan to increase moderation or use filters to prioritize important content.
- Check in with your people: Does your team have the support they need to step away if they are overwhelmed? Does your company take election day as a holiday? Do you have a crisis plan in place, including a call tree? Social doesn’t sleep.
- Revisit your guidelines: Ensure that everyone on your team knows what will be tolerated in conversations on social and what won’t. Will you allow a debate? What crosses the line?
- Set up social listening: Keep an ear to the ground to hear what people on your channels are saying. This will help you know the right time to start posting from your regular content calendar again.
- Report inappropriate content: if you do come across election misinformation or QAnon content on your channels, report it to the platform.
- Lean in: If you’re established in making waves or have a clear ideology around being a political brand, you probably have been preparing for this week for a long time. Authenticity when many are feeling vulnerable is key.
Remember to be flexible. While there is a lot that we do not know, we do know one thing and it is that no matter who is elected, next week will be a big week for all of us.