Younger Filipinos influence social media discussions more

·Contributor
·3 min read
Young Filipinos attend a campaign rally in the Makati business district in Manila on May 7, 2022. (Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)
Young Filipinos attend a campaign rally in the Makati business district in Manila on May 7, 2022. (Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)

A report has found that Filipinos aged 18-24 years old were the main conversation drivers in the May 9 presidential elections, reflecting the growing influence of younger generations in shaping social media discussions.

According to FleishmanHillard, the recently concluded election, which paved the way for the return of the Marcoses in power, is bound to affect the way businesses and brands communicate in a post-election. The brand specialist explored social media conversations and engagement trends during the election period and assessed short-term and long-term implications.

As the Philippines tallied a record-high voter turnout, FleishmanHillard noted the role of millennial and Gen Z Filipinos as an emergent voice in the political discourse in the country amid online misinformation. The firm used data spanning from April 12 to May 15, 2022 from different platforms such as Youtube and Twitter to collate information on Filipino social media users in their report.

The candidacy of former Vice President Leni Robredo may have driven and inspired conversations among the country’s female population. (Source: 2022 Philippine Presidential Elections Report by FleishmanHillard Manila)
The candidacy of former Vice President Leni Robredo may have driven and inspired conversations among the country’s female population. (Source: 2022 Philippine Presidential Elections Report by FleishmanHillard Manila)

FleishmanHillard pointed out three imperatives for businesses and brands to consider when communicating post-election and beyond.

Importance of advocacy and purpose

According to the digital strategy firm, Filipino millennials and Gen Z pay more attention to brands with clear advocacy that resonate with their values. FleishmanHillard underscores that these brands need to be creatively communicated to instigate interest in their intended audiences.

In their 2021 Authenticity Gap study, FleishmanHillard also underscored the importance of closing the gap between brand promises to their behavior. The brand specialist pointed out that consumers are “looking for brands and leaders to take an authentic stand on key policies.”

Safeguarding against misinformation

In their report, FleishmanHillard emphasized how disinformation has penetrated electoral discourse in the Philippines and how it manifests through a steady uptick in social conversations. In a Social Weather Stations poll in 2022, 7 out of 10 Filipino adults agree that misinformation online is a severe problem. However, an earlier report shows that 51% of Filipinos face difficulties spotting fake news.

In light of this, FleishmanHillard said that brands need to navigate and handle their social media channels carefully while delivering accurate information to the public. The digital strategy firm also points out that social media platforms have engagement opportunities for businesses to be more accessible as they can tailor content to specific audiences.

Authenticity takes center stage

According to the firm’s report, the Filipino youth will continue discourse about disinformation even in the aftermath of the national elections. Because they are conscious of social media’s “ability to amplify false information,” FleishmanHillard says that brands need to improve their communications to ensure consistency and authenticity.

The firm highlights the importance for brands to highlight their authenticity to meet the expectations of the public. In addition, the consumer reportedly expects companies to be involved in being part of solutions to society's problems.

“In an age where there is a battle between facts and misinformation, organizations need to authentically communicate based on what they stand for and what customers expect from them. Additionally, consistency helps brands rise above a muddled social media landscape due to fake news,” FleishmanHillard says in their report.

Basti Evangelista is a news and opinion writer who focuses on Philippine national politics and sectoral issues. His personal advocacy includes press freedom and social justice.

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