One of the most important demographics to reach in politics today is the millennial voter. Many of them have only recently reached the age where they can vote, and many more of them have been that age for a few years now but have no idea who to support.
But who are millennial voters, and better yet, how can you reach them? Millennial voters are open-minded, smart, and tired of the same old political status quo. They want something radically different, making them particularly hard to reach and convince. They prefer remote writing jobs to usual office jobs, spend most of their time online, so you’ll need to do something completely different from what you did before.
You might not ever win ’em all, but you sure can get closer than most. Here are a few tips for winning over millennial voters.
Represent Change and Honesty
If there’s one thing millennial voters strive for its change and honesty. They’re tired of following the “status quo” that’s often enforced by the major parties, who are always making empty promises and making little to no changes once elected.
Whether you support him or not, Bernie Sanders has an astounding effect on millennial voters. A Harvard IOP poll from 2016 shows that 54% of millennial voters saw Bernie as a positive political force. This overwhelming support became known as the “Bernie effect”.
Bernie appeals to millennial voters by demanding radical change that other parties shy away from, and by presenting an alternative to the usual political rhetoric and discourse. On top of that, he seems honest in his beliefs and wants for the United States, in stark contrast to someone like Hillary Clinton who some see as a “try-hard” when it comes to appealing to the youth.
If you want to reach the millennials, you have to present them with big change and an honest attitude. Millennial voters are much smarter than many assume, and they see through the lies.
Be the Only Option
A common sentiment among Millenial voters today is disliking all candidates that are running. This can lead to a hasty choice when voting, or to avoiding the polls altogether. It’s important that as many young people as possible cast their vote, no matter who it’s for, so the worst thing you can do is get them to not vote at all.
The best strategy is to present yourself as the only candidate that can make a real difference. You don’t want to focus too heavily on bashing the opposition or telling millennial voters why certain parties are the wrong choice. This can seem like a desperate attack if done too often and too aggressively and doesn’t tell the potential voters about your policies or beliefs.
Focus instead on telling voters what you can do right for the country, and why you’re not just the best choice, but the only choice. Show off the work you’re doing to support millennial voters and what policies in effect today that you want to change or remove without attacking specific targets or parties. Attack ads and schemes only work up to a certain degree, so don’t get lost in the attack.
If you’re making campaign buttons, for example, you don’t want to put the name of an opposing party or candidate on the button. That only keeps their name and politics in the potential voter’s head.
Instead, try using a slogan that represents you and your policies. Obama did this to great effect with his “Hope” campaign, and Trump did it similarly with his “Make America Great Again” campaign. They may fall on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they both used the same tactics to great success.
Use Social Media, and Consider a Social Media Manager
If there’s one thing millennials know, it’s social media. Social media is one of the most used forms of discourse today, and countless voters make their decisions based on what they learn from the internet abroad. If you want to reach the younger generations, staying in touch with and using social media is an absolute must.
Every political party today has a slew of social media pages. Frequently they’ll get a social media manager to handle these, and frequently these managers are millennials themselves. If you can get someone who is 100% connected to millennials already they’ll have a much easier time connecting with voters their age.
As long as the posts on your social media represent your views and policies, hiring someone to handle your social media is still an honest move. The best of them will be able to replicate your way of speaking and refine it for the desired audience, meaning less to worry about on your part. Plus, you run less of a risk of saying something, well… risky.
Another thing to consider is memes. No, seriously.
If there’s one thing that dominates the internet landscape in the 2010s it’s memes. They were extremely important during the 2015-2016 US election, with every party trying to utilize political memes to varying degrees of success.
If you can learn how to meme naturally in a way that appeals to millennial voters, you’re going to be a step ahead of the competition. Just make sure you’ve got someone familiar with meme-making and the meme landscape in charge of them. The line between embarrassing and hilarious with political memes is thin, and a few bad ones can make you look a little bit out-of-the-loop.
Who Are Millenial Voters?
So who are millennial voters exactly, and how many of them are there?
Millennial voters are a massive demographic. If you were born between 1981 and 1996, you’re in that demographic. That’s a lot of voters, and missing out on them or failing to appeal to them is a crucial mistake that can easily lose you or your party an election.
Properly utilize the tactics above and you’ll be a few steps closer to catching the vote of the millennials.
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