Are Kate and William's Instagram posts a sign of their insecurity with Meghan and Harry's rising popularity?
Ever since Meghan and Harry's own Instagram account @sussexroyals was established, there has been a dizzying array of posts from both their account as well as Kate and William's official account @kensingtonroyal
Once the 'Fab Four', Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton seem to have drifted apart over the years.
The four royals were quite used to living in one home, Kensington Palace, and sharing one social media account, @kensingtonroyal.
However, this is no longer the case because the royal households of Cambridge and the Sussex family split earlier this year.
The splitting of the households has given birth to a new, digital battle between the two families.
Ever since Meghan and Harry's own Instagram account @sussexroyals was established, there has been a dizzying array of posts from both them as well as Kate and William's official accounts.
The two families currently seem to be engaged in an unintentional, but highly entertaining, social media face-off.
"When it comes to the modernization of social media, it’s become standard to adapt to the times in terms of captivating an audience and the public. Social media is standard and I don’t think this is a publicity battle between the two social media accounts. It’s merely a way of attracting certain audiences and engaging them on a more intimate level," Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations and crisis management mogul, told MEA WorldWide (MEAWW).
Weighing in on the apparent social media battle between the two most followed royal accounts, Ronn says, "The Sussex account was a way to stand out and I think it’s only reasonable that the Cambridge account follows, in the same manner, to not only keep eyes on the account but draw new members as well."
Royal biographer Penny Junor also agrees that there is indeed a war of posts taking place between the Kensington Royal and the Sussex Royal accounts. Discussing the matter exclusively with MEAWW, she says, "It may just be a coincidence, but you could be forgiven for thinking there was a bit of a social media oneupmanship going on between William and Kate and Harry and Meghan. There has been quite a flurry of activity recently from both."
Take the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II's birthday for example: While Meghan and Harry's account posted a touching tribute to the monarch with seven photos and a delightful caption, "Happy Birthday Your Majesty. Ma’am, Granny. Wishing you the most wonderful day!" with a balloon emoji, William and Kate's social media team went for just a simple family photo with the Queen and other family members on the Palace balcony.
The Sussex family's post saw 836,207 likes, while the Kensington royals managed to garner a whopping 852,720 likes and a new high of 7.7 million followers with their single picture post.
Speaking of the impact that social media leaves on the minds of the British public as well as the entire royal fan base, Penny says: "The family’s most loyal fan base are the older generations, and they are probably not the ones following them on social media. That said, I do think that by using social media, William and Harry are possibly reaching younger people who might otherwise feel no connection with the family at all. And if the monarchy is to have a secure future, it is important to engage new generations."
Ronn, too, shares similar sentiments. "The power of social media can be daunting, but I think people view the Royal Family in a different light than regular citizens, political figures or celebrities. They are rooted in tradition and a different rule book — namely one that asks for more respect and privacy than other public figures."
Explaining his point more vividly, he says, "For example, I doubt you would ever see a member of the royal family getting a milkshake thrown on them like Tommy Robinson. The fan base here sees this new account as a positive and more of an inside peak inside the lives of those typically unexposed to the general public," further adding, "It's a new world, even for the royals."
When asked what could possibly be the reason behind this overly competitive social media war, Penny says it's nothing but "old-fashioned competitiveness",
Ronn digs deeper into the issue. He says, "Engaging in a social media war attracts headlines and more viewers to their accounts — it’s that simple. Negative headlines and storylines are a huge selling point and I’m sure those who are running the accounts are indulging on all the fun as well."
However, with the surge in social media posts from the most popular members of the British monarchy, there has also been a rise in criticism from anti-royals, who've argued that the young royal couples should take a few pages out of the Queen Mother's book about how to behave with the common folk.
When it came to interactions with the public, she had one golden rule: "Never complain, never explain, and rarely be heard speaking in public."
Ronn completely disagrees with this notion, given the day and age that we live in currently, which is constantly looking for the 'next big thing' on social media at all times.
He says, "I actually disagree that the younger generation of royals should listen to the Queen Mother’s silent treatment when it comes to speaking in the public. If done appropriately, it can be positive in terms of connecting with your audience, especially when dealing with generations that value communication and interacting on a daily, if not hourly, basis."
Penny mirrors the social media expert's thoughts saying: "I don’t think you can turn back the clock. Being seen but not heard is a great strategy and I do think there is a danger we could have too much soul-baring from William and Kate and Harry and Meghan. But the genie is out of the bottle and probably hard to put back."
However, Ronn still has a word of caution for the younger members of the royal family. "It’s also important to make sure when not to interact with the public — making that decision is not always easy and the consequences can be very negative for those in the public eye."
It is definitely a new world out there with royal social media accounts vying for public attention in the most bizarre ways possible.
It's going to take a long time to see who won the war — sweet old William and Kate, or the driven and energetic duo that is Meghan and Harry.
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