Singapore General Elections 2020 happened a week back. From the time the candidates were announced to the end of campaigning, social media exploded with a huge variety of posts. From the usual various parties manifestos to the usual character assassination, from the usage of POFMA to the hypebeast ah gong of Singapore. And who can ever forget the number one quote from GE 2020: "Warm the cockles of my heart."
Through all the mudslinging, cheers and tears, 5 lessons stood out which serves as a good reminder for all of us to work on.
A - Authenticity
Coming online for some people means having to put on a persona and be someone totally different. In an online dating concept, that would be known as "catfishing." But if you're intending to make a living out of what you're intending to do, putting on a persona will not work in the long run. The truth always surfaces sooner or later. People are more discerning these days, trying to pull wool over people's eyes usually end up in terrible consequences. An example would be the candidate who did not make it to nomination day.
To be authentic is simply to be real. Where everything you say and do matches your beliefs and your values. The stories you tell are amplified many times over when it comes across as authentic. People feel more, people want to know more about you and the things you do, and people trust you more when they feel that connection with you. That is the power of authenticity.
B - Branding
11 political parties contested during GE 2020. How many can you name without Google's help? How many of the 27 new candidates under PAP can you remember? How many people do you think will remember you after they've looked through through your social media profiles or website?
Branding goes beyond the color scheme you use or the logo you picked. Branding is about who you are, what you stand for, why you do what you do. Your brand isn't just found on your "About You" page. It's the messaging you post, the way you respond to queries, the photos you upload and the videos you record. And in order to grow a strong brand, you need to hustle and bust your behinds constantly. Which brings me to my next point.
C - Consistency
GE is always time you hear complaints from people about their MPs visiting them once every 5 years. Or lagi worse, they've never seen him after the elections and don't even know who he is. And the same goes for you. If you post one time and then disappear for five weeks, no one would remember you. If you post once a week, and you make that a weekly routine, not only will you build on your brand, but that also builds your number of followers. Humans are habitual creatures. The more we see of something, the more we will remember it.
Beyond just posting, there has to be a consistency in branding too. Color choices, fonts used, style of writing (if it is a personal blog), etc. Changes can be subtle. Anything jarring will cause your readers and viewers to wonder if things have changed. A significant enough change can cause your followers to jump the fence and move to find other pastures. As such, always be cautious when doing rebranding.
D - Daring
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Social media can be a very scary place, but yet it can also be a place of redemption. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. You may have posted something back in 2015 that you may not have been called out then to be discriminatory. You probably would have forgotten all about it by now. No one really remembers what one posts even a day ago these days. I can't even remember what I ate for lunch. But when someone digs out your old tweets and sends you into the gallows for a tweet you don't even remember, what do you do? You stand up and apologise if you have to.
Yes, people will still shake their rakes and throw their stones, but if you dare to come forwards and do the right thing, the anger within the crowd will dissipate faster than when you say the word dissipate. It takes a lot of courage to say sorry and to promise to do better. And if you are authentic, have a strong branding and have been consistent, your apologies will be accepted and people will move on.
E - Engaging
My first political "mancrush" is very engaging on social media. He did a live every night during the 8 days of campaigning on his Facebook and Instagram. He talked about what he went through every day and the feedback he received from residents. He posted a photo of him eating his neighborhood donuts, had a fun PNG of him running and encouraged people to use that PNG and insert it into their favorite movie posters.
My most recent political "mancrush" talked about seafood, a blank cheque and minimum wage. His posts created a lot of discussion amongst the people and raised awareness on topics that required attention on a national level. This is yet another kind of engagement that fuels the people and that draws more people to your posts.
There are many ways you can engage your followers, but it has to be done in an authentic manner. Ensure it is within a topic you know very well and are able to keep the discussion within the boundaries that you've set. Have fun at it no matter what.