BC Politicians are Failing Social Media Outreach

politics-social-media

…and they’re off! In lane number one Dana Larsen with 1200+ Facebook followers for the British Columbia NDP leadership race, close (not really) behind all the rest: Mike Farnworth, Nicholas Simons, John Horgan are trying but not really getting anywhere, while Harry Lali needs some education on getting a website up and running. The BC Liberals are in no better shape, although Christy Clark’s Facebook page has just over 1500 followers, and 1200 on Twitter (by far in the lead). For the rest, on Twitter none of either parties candidates are gaining much traction with median followers in the 200 range.

Politics and Social Media

Why? Every single candidate has said at some point (as everyone does during a campaign) that they want a greater turnout and more engagement with ‘youth’. While social media is no longer the paradigm of youth communication, it is certainly true that real engagement with a younger voting profile cannot be accomplished via traditional media: TV, Radio, Print – in fact, as Gillian Shaw pointed out in her article in the Vancouver Sun, it is “political keeners” who need to be engaged.

Anduro president Jeff Nelson says yes. “One of the ‘secrets’ that I have learned about Nenshi’s campaign is that the team focused on political keeners. Guess what? This group are avid users of social media. So the objective was to build a strong presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube during the first four months of the six-month campaign,” Nelson wrote in response to my Sysomos post.

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As mentioned, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi established a clear lead online with social media on all major platforms – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – and targeted politically minded people. That was the key to his success, and drove the win.

The lesson for all candidates, and shall I mention the coming BC municipal elections, and a possible federal election, is to make web and social media campaigning right at the forefront of the communication, organization and media spend. It is not a sideline.

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