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Politics and Social Media in Australia : Tips for Julia Gillard and Co Part 1

Posted on the 06 July 2012 by Onqmarketing @onqmarketing

politics and social mediaI was reading the ‘Professional Marketing’ magazine yesterday (yep print version) and a question posed to three key digital advertisers and marketers was ‘Can marketing restore Julia Gillard’s battered reputation?’

In Australia at the moment it is probably the holy grail of marketing gigs, to re-establish or re-energise Julia Gillard’s brand in the community. At this stage it has taken some public battering from both sides of politics and much of the population.

Certainly Jackson Chew of Amnesia Razorfish thought that social media was being underused to restore Julia Gillard’s reputation and I have to agree with him and I would like to state why.

1. It is big in the United States

Check out this YouTube video ‘Social Networking Revolutionizing Politics‘ it is a snapshot of a news story broadcast by the ABC in the U.S almost two years ago. Astonishingly at that time the report states that 56% of the U.S. Congress had a Facebook page. I would bet that two years later, Australian politicians wouldn’t have that level of social media participation.

South by SouthWest is a huge festival based in Texas each year and among a variety of topics, social media has its position and featuring at this years event was a panel discussion titled ’2012: Social Media’s New Role in Politics’.

So social media is being used by Julia’s counterparts in the United States and by all reports it works. Have a look at Obama, he’s a charismatic guy and his social media numbers reflect it, he is massive on social media. Think about these stats (correct at time of writing) when it comes to engaging with your electorate -

Twitter: 17.244 million followers (Mitt Romney 622,786)
Facebook: 27.226 million likes (Mitt Romney 2.226 million)
YouTube: 202,179 subscribers and 198.372 million views (Mitt Romney 10.114 million views)
Google+ : 1.681 million have Obama in their circles (Mitt Romney 766,861)

That is a significant advantage over the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Mashable recently published this really cool infographic highlighting that the race to the 2012 Election is one being fought out on social media.

2. The conversations are happening anyway

At the time of writing I did a little research to highlight the situation as far as the conversations happening online and this is what I came up with using online tools Social Mention and Blogscape.

Social Mention: I had it scan just Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube and it came up with 126 unique mentions of Julia Gillard from the last 6 hours
Blogscape:  This is a great tool from the guys at SEO Moz and it helps us monitor the Bloggersphere. I put in a few search queries to be monitored over the past two weeks and the results are below.

Politics and Social Media

To contrast, the lowest result is for the ‘AFL’ and moving on upwards is ‘Tony Abbott’, ‘Julia Gillard’ and the ‘Carbon Tax’, the latter peaking at 20,612 occurrences on July 4th. Of course we know that Julia’s brand is inextricably linked to the carbon tax.

So what does all of this data tell us? It tells us that the conversations are happening out there no matter what. This then says to me that there lies an opportunity. Get out amongst those conversations and engage. Change the sentiment online and you may very well be able to re-energise the political brand.

3.  Engaging supporters

This is somewhat of a solution to my previous point. Take the meteoric rise of political supporters against the Egyptian and Syrian governments in recent times. I am certainly not comparing our situation to theirs but it shows that social media has the ability to build an army of supporters far quicker than driving around in campaign buses and flogging the dead horse to traditional media, just hoping for the perfect 5-second grab for all of the news reels.

I have no political ambitions whatsoever and I will never preempt a politically-based conversation, however if I see my position being under represented, which can often happen on Facebook, well I want to say something. Engage me, engage other people like me and make those people ranting and raving about the end of the world and the carbon tax accountable for their statements in the social media landscape (there I go declaring my position when I said I wouldn’t).

So there’s my argument why Julia Gillard, her party members and advisors should be spending more time on social media. But any decent marketer wouldn’t stop there, so I want to provide you with my suggestions of what social media profiles Julia could use and how I would use them. But I leave that for ’Politics and Social Media in Australia : Some tips for Julia Gillard and co Part 2′ to come shortly.

Politics and Social Media in Australia : Tips for Julia Gillard and co Part 1
Quentin AisbettVisit My Website / View My Other Posts
Quentin Aisbett is the strategist at OnQ Marketing. He loves social media, SEO and mobile. Blogging all the time, tweeting even more so and found rambling on Google Plus at+Quentin Aisbett. Be a little old school and email him.

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