Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, currently in the running for the Democratic National Party candidacy, has been busy recruiting social media influencers to lure voters, including many of the most popular meme-accounts on Instagram.
Why is this important to marketers? Because if it’s successful (and at least for now, Bloomberg sits in third place in the polls behind Senator Bernie Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden), other political campaign managers will certainly start itching to give it a try. And that means there’s a growing need for marketers with strong connections and access to the right voices on social media – creators who are currently shaping our political opinions in new and exciting ways.
While celebrity political endorsements are nothing new (just look at Barack Obama’s star-studded 2008 endorsement lineup including Beyonce Knowles), this is the first time we’re seeing mid-tier and micro social media influencers deployed to sway public opinion. Again, while Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign broke new ground with social media, it’s innovation was more as a communications channel e.g. targeting voters with messages through Twitter.
Indeed, even big-name social media influencers themselves have openly spoken of their political leanings. Casey Neistat made waves back in 2016 when he openly endorsed Hillary Clinton in the extremely divisive election against Donald Trump, while podcaster Joe Rogan is a frequent proponent of Bernie Sanders.
But this? This really is unique. Not only is the Bloomberg campaign recruiting traditional influencers, they’re teaming up with some of the biggest meme channels on the web (for reference, memes are the internet’s version of inside jokes). As our CEO Eric Dahan put it:
“The campaign is built on one thing: building rapport with the audience. What the strategy is basically saying is this: I’m like you. I speak your language. I’m embracing the same nuances in terms of communication, culture values that you’re embracing and enjoying by being on these platforms.”
And while some may raise their eyebrows – and believe us, some certainly have – to us this only seems like a national progression in political communication. While divisive, one only has to look at Donald Trump’s unapologetic social-first strategy in the 2016 election. For better or worse, it played a heavy hand in how people voted and Bloomberg’s massive digital spending only shows how much other strategists believe this too.
All in all, it remains to be seen whether Bloomberg will find success with his #influencer squad. But we know that if the world’s 9th richest person is going gung-ho in influencer marketing in perhaps the most important election of our generation, it must mean something pretty incredible about what we do.
That’s all for now.
What do you think? Will social media influencers be a popular strategy among political campaigners going in to 2020 and beyond? Let us know by reaching out at firstname.lastname@example.org – let’s create some content together about it. And as always, be sure to sign up for our newsletter below and get first-access to the best influencer content on the web.