Bernie Sanders has been a part of United States politics for several decades, however, as a senator from a very low population state (Vermont’s population as of 2015 was only 626,042) he was largely unknown on a national scale. However, successful communication of his platform allowed him to finish 2nd in the Democratic party primary and become a much more important figure on a national level with his popularity greatly increased.
In the United Kingdom, Jeremy Corbyn’s message also resonated with voters and lead to his party (Labour) having its greatest share of the vote since 2001 in the recent UK General Election. Much like Sanders Corbyn reached out to the general public through a variety of channels but also focused on social media.
Both politicians use of social media points to the importance of reaching your audience. This is true not only politics but also business, entertainment, and the broader media. You can have a fantastic message that reaches people but it still needs to be heard by them. Social media is becoming an increasingly important communications platform and here is a brief overview of how Corbin and Sanders used it to drive awareness of their broader message.
Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn’s Use of Social Media
Sanders and Corbyn both are popular among younger voters in their respective countries. Part of this popularity is leveraging social media as a way to reach younger voters. Both men used social media in the following ways.
- Concise Messaging: platforms such as Twitter have a per-post character limit. Unlike it would first appear this proved to be an advantage. By being limited in letter count both men delivered direct and concise messaging to followers. These short statements were easily understood, shared, and liked by readers. They also broke down both men’s platforms to the basics making it easier to communicate what their stances on the issues are.
- Sharing Of Media Materials: in situations where a simple statement would not do both sent out links to more in-depth content such as interviews, TV news segments, newspaper reports, articles, and other supporting data. This proved effective because it exposed readers to trusted sources that many would keep reading or watching and it also gave them a variety of relevant information to review on their own schedule.
- Direct Communication: lastly, social media helps remove a barrier between speaker and listener. Instead of sending out PR information both men posted on their own accounts speaking directly to voters. This type of direct interaction builds trust and in a profession (politics) where trust is essential, this was very important.
The methods used by Sanders and Corbyn were not overly complex but were (and are) highly effective. Social media allows you to reach a lot of interested readers many of which are among the younger age groups in society. Plus you can make core arguments, provide supporting evidence, and also communicate directly with readers to build trust. These methods are useful in a variety of fields and allow for direct communication and relationship building.