According to recent studies and reports, millennials have a lot of trust and faith in social media, except when it comes to politics.
Earlier this year, an annual report from global public relations firm Edelman found that 82% of consumers — millennials being the largest part of the group — said that they would have more faith in a company or institution if they had a social media presence.
However, the “Millenial Attitudes” survey from Fusion, an ABC News Network, polled 1,200 voters between the ages of 18 and 34 (the millennial age range), and found that 30% of them still rely on the television for their political news, 27% go directly to news websites, and 14% will Google a topic they’re interested in.
Only 12% of surveyed millennials will rely on social media for political news.
Of the websites that millennials do trust for news, the majority (21%) preferred CNN, while 16% preferred Google, and only 10% preferred Fox News. Yahoo! came fourth with 9%, and the Huffington Post was fifth, with 7%. The most interesting part about this portion of the survey, however, is the fact that 22% of respondents preferred to visit other, unspecified websites for news.
The survey also asked the millennials about their voting preferences. Young Democrats favored Hillary Clinton (58%) as their preferred candidate for the 2016 presidential candidate, with Joe Biden (13%) and Elizabeth Warren (9%) following behind. Young Republicans favored Paul Ryan (16%) as the most popular 2016 GOP presidential candidate, with Jeb Bush (11%) and Rand Paul (9%) following behind.
“Social media is a very effective tool to get your message out. However, most people such as the “millennials” respond better to social media when it is more interactive, a two-way conversation if you will, as to just random one-way posts. At Agency 850 we set up social media campaigns that not only post but interact with your clients to keep them engaged, thus being more effective,” says Kelly Cooper, Marketing/PR, Agency 850.
Though millennials don’t believe social media is a trustworthy source for politics now, it’s quite likely that — given enough time — they very well may. Just look at Pope Francis — the first Pope to ever have a Twitter account — who has an 88% approval rating. Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessor, only had an approval rating of 30% before he stepped down as the head of the Catholic Church.
If politicians properly embrace social media, it could potentially become the right platform to have open, frank political dialogues.