Last week I briefly explained WHY Australian politicians should better utilise social media and this week I want to suggest HOW.
Of course, as the title suggests, much of my focus will turn to how Julia Gillard should better utilise.
Tony Jones, should you after reading this post wish to invite me on the QandA panel to discuss further, please feel free to give me a call.
But if you think I am going to shower them with praise think again. I honestly thought their Facebook pages would be much better than this. Here’s a short appraisal of both.
Julia Gillard’s Facebook page
The timeline cover image indicates that she is focused on education, which could very well be expected given education is a key Labor platform. More than 129,000 Likes for the Prime Minister, which I think is pretty good given data revealed recently indicated that she is not the preferred leader. The ‘About’ section is complete and owns up to the fact that the page is maintained by her office. The page has four tabs – Photos, Likes, Videos and Welcome – None of which have custom designed buttons (seriously). There are plenty of photos, no videos and the Welcome tab is in fact a newsletter subscribe page. I would suggest another custom page that provides a valuable source of information, this will hopefully encourage repeat visits.
Other than all that posts are done regularly but not too often, and it makes good use of imagery.
Tony Abbott’s Facebook page
Mr Abbott’s timeline cover image is a great shot of his family (what were they all looking at, it wasn’t the camera). As mentioned, Tony is, going by recent data, the preferred PM for Australia but with just over 24,000 Likes, on Facebook he is a minnow compared to Julia. The extent of his ‘About’ section extends just one line stating that he was elected leader of the Liberal Party in December 2009. Tony has three tabs – Likes, Photos and a Get Involved tab – the latter leading to a custom page directing visitors to external web pages. The Get Involved tab also does not have a custom button.
Here’s the kicker, his Facebook page is linked to his Twitter account. Therefore, he is essentially ignoring the fact that he has two separate audiences, not that we expect to manage both himself but Julia can get 129,000 Likes despite owning up that she doesn’t manage the page. This is a drastic Facebook no-no. It says to Facebook users that he simply does not care. Honestly, hire a social media manager.
After realising that Tony Abbott had his Twitter account connected to his Facebook page, I thought to myself, perhaps Tony is focusing more heavily on Twitter and he would be dominating the Member for Lalor. But this is not the case, Tony has 71,801 Followers compared to Julia’s 248,000. But with that said, it must be noted that Julia is following 201,000 other tweeps and Tony just 21,000.
Julia is active, she (or her office) is tweeting regularly, using hashtags, Instagram and connecting with other members. Tony, going by the language actually uses the account himself, which is a big plus for the opposition leader. He is engaging with other Twitter users, using hashtags and tweeting regularly.
So not a lot of advice for me to impart as I think both are managing the accounts well. But I would certainly suggest that both leaders utilise the ability to design a custom background. Mr Abbott looks like he has a Twitter template with absolutely no branding and Julia has just a simple profile picture. Guys, use the opportunity to promote your respective websites and your other social media profiles!
The image-sharing network isn’t going to be about Julia or Tony. Unfortunately it would be a very rare case that we would want to share images of a politician, whether that’s Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott or Kate Ellis (Well, maybe Kate). But the opportunity is to show the online world who you are, what you love and what you believe in.
Julia, I would create boards based around your electorate, the varying tourist destinations this country is so famous for, and even throw in a board of your decorating in the Lodge. I probably wouldn’t go near your fashion interests. What this will do will spark a terrific level of personal interest, it will help to re-energise your persona, that very persona that enamored the public prior to landing the big job (Remember that North Melbourne GF breakfast).
It is a risky strategy, one that is definitely outside of the box but it could very well be a successful strategy. People will like, comment and re-pin their little hearts out. Imagine the tourism stakeholders outreaching to get on Julia’s Pinterest profile.
Great to see Julia and the ALP already have a custom-designed YouTube page. It looks pretty good and much more than I expected. However, I would certainly look at options to improve the user experience, it’s not as easy to navigate as others I have seen. Not to mention it looks pretty much the same as the Liberals page. Another feature of the design that I think is lacking is the social sharing opportunities, I would encourage a stronger call to action to share the videos and the page.
I would also suggest looking at the Meta Data as far as the page goes and also each of the individual videos posted. They all seem to be very generic and are less likely to show up in search. Given YouTube’s popularity, domain authority and the fact that it’s a Google-owned site there is a good chance videos will feature strongly in search results. Wouldn’t you prefer your content coming first when someone searches for ‘Carbon Tax’?
As far as I can see I can’t find a legitimate LinkedIn profile for Julia or Tony Abbott. OK, LinkedIn isn’t for everyone but there are more than 3 million members in Australia. Dig a little deeper and you will find some more interesting stats as far as gender breakdown, age profile and job statistics. This is an opportunity to communicate business-focused policies to a sample of Australians (predominantly professional) that you would expect will be more interested.
I would create an official party company profile and use it to communicate policy updates, etc. Provide value to the people. Advertise on LinkedIn for followers, use other social media profiles and the official website to add more LinkedIn followers. Likewise, use your LinkedIn company (party) page to promote the other social media profiles.
I would certainly have all front benchers and ideally all members on LinkedIn and connected to the company profile. This will provide easy access for LinkedIn users all over the country to connect with their elected representative and raise issues, provide feedback and receive messages from the party in a streamlined manner.
Part 1 of this post highlighted the issues in the bloggersphere, indicating that within a two-week period, the occurrences of the word ‘carbon tax’ peaked at 20,612. That is a whole lot of blogging on the topic. So when you’re in business of public opinion I would have thought that this is going to matter. So what to do?
Definitely do not follow China’s lead and employ what is widely known as the 50cent Army. The autocratic government pays approximately 300,000 bloggers 50c each time they spread government propaganda. This is just plain evil!
But it would definitely pay to have a centralised department monitoring the bloggersphere and distributing information to the most relevant members of the party, whether that be by topic or location. A simple reply or comment on a blog that sets the record straight or at the very least explains the party angle will ensure that the competitive rhetoric does not go unchallenged.
Congratulations Julia Gillard and her team. Julia, in conjunction with Deakin University is hosting a Google+ Hangout on July 21. This is great, Obama has done it, the Carlton Football Club is doing it, so why shouldn’t Julia.
But let’s step back a bit, Google+ is just a little over one year old, hence my excitement on Julia’s participation. At this stage the platform is on target to reach 400 million members by the end of the year, which will fall short of Facebook’s 900 million. But in such a short time it’s no small feat.
My case when telling a client to get on Google+ is more about future search presence because of the increasing influence of social data in search. So for an Australian politician to get on board and have to this date almost 10,000 people having her in their circles is impressive. Hosting a Hangout even more so.
But please bolster your About page and add some videos. Utilise your access to celebrities and post great images, you will find you will attract more +1s and shares with such images than with the distribution of your party information.
I should point out that I came across just one page for Tony Abbott and it is unofficial.
Social media is a minefield for small business and it can be tricky to navigate for political parties and members. Throw in the political risks and it becomes bleedingly obvious that a politician or political party needs a clear social media strategy, it needs to be communicated well to its members and executed with some aspect of persona. For Julia and her colleagues in the ALP I would definitely suggest that it is a strategy well worth exploring further.
I wonder what the government’s mobile strategy looks like if in fact they have one. Here are two articles on the presence of mobile marketing in the 2012 U.S. elections. Might I just mention that smartphone penetration is higher in Australia than it is in the U.S.
And another article to check out ‘4 Social Media Marketing lessons from Barack Obama‘.