By Mary M. Murphy
There’s no doubt about it; this years’ presidential election is one of the most talked about topics of the season. Although many people are discussing this significant election, they need to do more than talk if they want to make an impact – they need to vote, and in order to vote, they need to be registered.
Major social media platforms and Google have acknowledged the importance of voting, and they’re using their large reach to encourage their American users to register to vote. Google was one of the first to encourage voter registration by making it simple and easy for users to understand with their new search feature.
When Google users search “register to vote” or a related term, their first search result is an easy infographic that includes important voting information, such as how to vote, voting requirements and when to vote. This infographic has English and Spanish options for users.
Facebook also jumped on the voter registration awareness train in time for National Voter Registration Day, September 27. From September 23 – 27, Facebook users 18 and over saw a message at the top of their News Feed that prompted them to register.
If a user clicked the “Register” banner on their News Feed, Facebook would redirect them to vote.USA.gov, where they could register to vote. After completing the process, users were able to post a special status so their friends could see that they had registered.
Twitter implemented a chatbot-style voter registration for their users on National Voter Registration Day to make registering easier. If users want to register, they can simply send a direct message to the official Twitter Government account (@Gov) to begin a short voter registration process.
After the user sends @Gov their zip code, @Gov will send them a voter registration deadline and a personalized link to register. Like Facebook, Twitter encourages users to share when they register to vote by tweeting with the #iRegistered hashtag, which has its own special emoji.
On National Voter Registration Day, Instagram also debuted their initiative to encourage voter registration. From September 27 to September 30, Instagram placed a sponsored post in users’ news feeds that, if clicked on, directed them to the official U.S. voter registration website.
Even Tumblr encouraged their users to register to vote on National Voter Registration Day. Their official account posted a gif and text post that emphasized the importance of voting and shared a link where users could register.
One of the newest social media platforms that took part in voter registration awareness was Snapchat. This was helpful for reaching millennials. According to Nielsen data, Snapchat reaches 41 percent of all 18 to 34 year olds.
From September 15 through October 7, Snapchat partnered with TurboVote to encourage Snapchat users to register before the election. During this time, users in the U.S. who were 18 and older saw video ads in-between their usual Snapchat Stories that featured celebrities prompting them to vote. If a user swiped up on the video ad, they would be directed to register.turbovote.org, where they could register to vote in about 60 seconds.
Facebook, Google, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat have tried to make it easier for their users to register to vote. Hopefully, the people who use these social media applications and Google’s search engine were encouraged to register after seeing their messages. I wouldn’t be surprised if these social media applications ran another campaign closer to Election Day that encourages their users to get out and vote in this important presidential election.