The recent election of Donald Trump as president of the United States was a stunning upset for the political establishment, but may have also been indicative of a broader set of changes. There is much that can be learned from the run-up to that victory, regarding how we communicate with one another in the digital era, and how we process and understand information that has been filtered to serve our identities and desires. And some of those lessons may be relevant to such topics as internet marketing and social media management.
Many people have said that the US has never been more divided than it was in the run-up to and immediate aftermath of this hotly contested presidential election. The internet and social media have been cited as leading causes of those divisions. And as such, the fallout from the election is sure to touch upon how we think about and engage with social media and the internet.
At a recent press conference in Germany, President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both made comments about the impact of the internet, suggesting that the world had yet to find the best policies and procedures to manage that impact. While some critics interpreted their words as an Orwellian call for government censorship, others were quick to argue that everyone would benefit from taking prudent moves to, for instance, prevent the free dissemination of false news stories.
Indeed, it was revealed after the election that Facebook had worked on algorithms to filter inaccurate information, but had been wary to actually apply it to the expansive – and divisive – social network. That may change, and such tools make become more prevalent across the web – a fact which may promote another recognized trend. Some political and social groups have recently taken to forming their own social networks, making some areas of the web into even more of an echo chamber than the public had already become used to.
And here we begin to see potential consequences for an internet marketing company or social media manager. While some areas of the web threaten to become more tightly regulated, others threaten to serve only a narrow segment of the population. Either trend could change the way you or your web marketing company promote your brand and seek to drive traffic to a website.
In such a divided world, it is more important than ever to analyze your target audience and keep tabs on whether they are still patronizing the websites and social media networks that your web marketing strategy has targeted. For the time being, niche networks probably do not require your attention unless the content you are promoting is explicitly political.
But even if that is the case, you will still need to keep focused on the mainstream internet. And in so doing, it may become increasingly important for you or your social media company to maintain strict standards of accuracy. As current trends develop, misleading commercial or political communications run a risk of not only being filtered by leading platforms, but also of seriously harming your brand.