As the election results are being debated, dissected and evaluated, I was interested in looking at the various parties’ use of social media for campaigning.
Those that study social media are clear that Labour were just too late joining in and didn’t have a clear social media plan in place.
However, Labour were actually the most active on Twitter, which just confirms my theory that on Twitter people tend to follow people who think like them – which is why people were saying that the result didn’t reflect what they were seeing. When it comes to politics, of course, it’s crucial to reach out to those who are un- decided and being popular on Twitter doesn’t really prove as much as we would like to think it does, as George Galloway discovered.
He was a top tweeter, but it didn’t stop him losing his seat.
Twitter is best used for listening and engaging rather than announcing, but politicians are still struggling to get their heads around this change of culture.
Here in the UK, Facebook is still the most popular online platform and this is where the political parties need to be hanging out, too.
I wrote some time ago that the Conservatives were well ahead of the Facebook game as they had been regularly spending £100,00 per month on Facebook adverts. The Conservatives, UKIP and SNP were the most active on Facebook with the SNP starting their social media campaign back in 2011. Importantly though, whilst the Conservative Party threw money at Facebook they had very poor engagement with their audience, where as UKIP and SNP had less money to spend but engaged better.
The Greens and Lib Dems had a much more limited presence on social media, although the Greens put their money into a Youtube video, Change The Tune, which has so far had 891,999 views.
Whilst all parties had far fewer on-line gaffes, it’s pretty clear that our politicians still have a lot to learn about using social media tools well.
Now attention is turned back to the US and whilst Obama is ‘the man’ on social media, still many candidates, like Loretta Sanchez, are forgetting that those speeches to party faithfuls that they once got away with are now being filmed on phones and shared.
So everyone needs to up their game and prepare well, or spend a lot of time saying sorry.