As the BBC examines how Jeremy Corbyn used social media to leverage a stronghold with 18 to 24-year-old voters, we ask the question: what role did social media subtitles play in the general election?

With the dust settling on yet another unpredictable election result, the inquisition into how the UK has been left with a hung parliament has begun.

The mooted Conservative landslide victory was derailed by the Labour Leader – Jeremy Corbyn’s – surge in popularity with younger voters. So how did he do it? Was it his socialist values, the infamously ‘leaked’ manifesto, the #GrimeforCorbyn movement or could it have been that Corbyn and his marketing team understood the power of video marketing and social media subtitles.

Jeremy Corbyn posted three times as many videos as Theresa May

With the Office of National Statistics reporting that 91% of adults aged 16 to 24 are most likely to use social networks and video content accounting for 69% of all web traffic, it’s easy to see why political parties would choose to engage with the electorate through social media video content.

In the fortnight leading up to the general election, the business end of campaigning, Jeremy Corbyn’s Twitter account  posted 34 videos compared to Theresa May’s 10.

Video content #ForTheMany

What’s more, every video Corbyn posted included social media subtitles as opposed to May’s videos which omitted subtitles completely.

Social media subtitles and the General Election | Corbyn VS May

An example of Jeremy Corbyn’s social media subtitles

An example of Theresa May’s omission of social media subtitles

Why Social Media Subtitles Matter

In a general election that often centred on polarising perceptions about both Labour and the Conservative’s attitudes to the disabled and the disadvantaged, the simple step of adding social media subtitles to video content immediately fulfils accessibility obligations for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Greater viewer engagement

In addition to making video content accessible to the sixth of the population who identify themselves as having a hearing impairment, social media subtitles are a great way to increase video engagement across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

In fact, Facebook report that videos which include social media subtitles enjoy a 12% increase in viewership. This is just the sort of stat that each political party’s marketing managers, in search of voter engagement, should be poring over.

Perfect for tube etiquette

With all video content being muted by default, social media subtitles allow people who are in socially awkward settings – like tube passengers – to consume video content without the audio being turned on.

What’s The Relationship Between Social Media Subtitles And The General Election?

It would be fanciful to point to the use of subtitles as the definitive vote swayer for both Corbyn’s engagement and May’s disengagement with the 18-24 demographic. However, it can be said that Labour’s adoption of social media subtitles – to increase engagement and accessibility – is indicative of each party’s success across social media during the election campaign.

In final week of campaigning, the Conservative Facebook page had 438,544 interactions compared to Labour’s Facebook page which had over double the interactions at 1.1 million.

As Bloomberg reports: ‘Labour tweeted more, posted more, and was shared more than all of its rivals.’

Fast Forward To The Next General Election

Social Media Subtitles and Jeremy CorbynWith the Westminster rumour mill suggesting that the next general election could be a mere matter of months away, it will be compelling to asses whether Theresa May – or whomever is the Conservative Leader at that time – chooses to emulate Jeremy Corbyn’s social media subtitle success.

Is Your Video Content #ForTheMany?

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