Unlike B2Bs, companies that sell to the general public have a real and significant opportunity to use social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to promote new products or services, interact with and service clients, and sell. That’s assuming they use the tools properly.
If there are any organizations in Canada whose sole purpose is to appeal to the general public, it would be political parties who more than ever before duked it out on social media leading up to the October election. Their successes — and failures — offer a treasure trove of ideas and best practices for small to mid-sized businesses.
AOK Marketing tracked the performance of the major parties’ social media activities before, during and just after the election (July 29 to Oct. 26) across five social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Google Plus) and gleaned some insight into the final outcome of the election:
- The Liberals maintained the strongest base of followers across channels throughout the campaign, with more than one million, compared to the Conservatives’ 269,000 and the NDP’s 244,000 followers;
- The Liberals led in overall social media engagement actions such as re-tweets, Facebook likes, etc., with 2.5 million to the Tories’ two million;
- The Liberal content machine was also in high gear, with the party claiming 26 of the top 50 most engaging cross-channel posts during the campaign;
- The growth in followers for the Liberals was a whopping 163 per cent more than that of the Conservatives during the period monitored, indicating the party grew its following at a much faster rate than its competitors;
- The Liberals dominated search engine rankings, claiming Top 20 search results for 12,000 words, to the NDP’s 9,300.
What’s most interesting is that the growth in social media follows and engagement were a leading indicator of polling trends in the lead-up to Justin Trudeau’s majority victory.
The lesson here is that social media metrics matter a great deal when your target clientele happens to include large segments of the general public.
As I’ve seen when managing social media accounts for B2C clients, key indicators such as growth in followers typically correlates with a growth in revenue — as it did with steadily-climbing Liberal fortunes during most of the campaign. The faster you add followers, the more they’re exposed to your products and services, the more you sell. Pretty simple, right?
Not really, because as political parties know all too well, controlling the narrative of that communication is just as important as doing it in the first place.
All parties were disciplined in their outreach to voters, but it’s interesting to note how posts by the Bloc Quebeçois, which were designed to make (or keep) the issue of Muslim women wearing the niqab at citizenship ceremonies a front-burner issue, resonated with voters in Quebec. The party knew it was an emotionally charged, hot-button issue and worked it to their advantage on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Theirs were some of the most highly engaged messages of the entire campaign. Whether it helped or not remains to be seen, although the Bloq did boost its seats in Parliament.
One of the highest-engagement messages of the election came when Trudeau tweeted just five letters: Ready
This approach isn’t much different than the way companies use reaction-generating advertisements to drive sales. The point is each party controlled its narrative in ways that would appeal to its core voter demographic, and hopefully attract new supporters. In other words, what you share on social media is just as important as your level of activity.
Another key lesson is that all parties did a good job understanding what their competitors were doing throughout the campaign, and adjusting their social media campaigns accordingly. Rather than allowing their leader to be positioned as “just not ready,” for example, the Liberal marketers addressed Trudeau’s perceived weaknesses and focused on his strengths and credentials, hammering home the message that change was in order. One of the highest-engagement messages of the election came when Trudeau tweeted just five letters: Ready.
The high-level lesson for B2Cr companies is that it doesn’t take much to analyze competitor activities and build a coherent social media campaign that highlights your company’s differentiators and value propositions in a creative way. It can be a very inexpensive online marketing task — words that any cost-conscious entrepreneur loves to hear.
Written by: Dave Burnett | Source: Financial Post
Listen to The #SocialMediaMania show Episode 2 “Politically Correct” where we discuss the Canadian Liberals political win! Listen Here