Recently I watched a political video on youtube and read the following comment:
“I’m 22, Young people spend hours a day on Facebook, Myspace, Youtube etc… This should be on the front of all popular networking sites, youtube and all over the internet… this video only has 4566 after a month online! More campaign money should be spent on online advertising to get your message across! everybody is tired of bits of paper through the door and along with the pizza menu and an unwanted newspaper… Hope you do well in the election!”
This made me think about social media and the up and coming election so I asked our Cowan Group social media expert to do some digging, here are his findings…
Last election more people didn’t vote than voted for the winning party (approximately 26 Million voted)… So what are the political parties doing to change this and get everyone voting?
In light of Facebook’s recent announcement to encourage young British people to vote in the UK elections, (see here) we wondered what the political parties themselves are doing with social media to communicate with the 23 million active UK users of Facebook, and millions of other users on social sites such as youtube and twitter.
According to recent statistics (updated today) Facebook and Youtube are the fifth and third most popular websites in the world and Facebook currently accounts for over half of all visits to social networking sites in the UK with YouTube at second with over 17% of visits.
So why isn’t “more campaign money being spent on online advertising”?
Well how much is being spent?
Last year the Guardian reported that “The COI, the largest advertiser in the UK, co-ordinates the government’s £540m annual marketing and communications spend [and] the COI spent more than £270m on advertising and digital marketing in the year to March”
So with all this money being pumped into the advertising campaigns, which include digital marketing how have the parties got on? Let’s see some recent stats on their social media pages:
– 12,004 Followers on Twitter
- 16,569 Fans on Facebook
- 97,807 Channel Views on Youtube
- 25,485 Followers on Twitter
- 39,403 Fans on Facebook
- 207,083 Channel Views on Youtube
- 13,761 Followers on Twitter
- 18,406 Fans on Facebook
- 263,712 Channel Views on Youtube
Not bad you might say but bearing in mind the statistics we’ve seen about users of social media, it seems that comparatively not that many people have been inspired to get involved in supporting their party online…
By way of comparison President Obama, with a strong social media team amassed an impressive 8 Million fans on Facebook, 3.6 Million followers on Twitter and 22 Million channel views on Youtube.
With no UK political party yet to break the ‘One Million Mark’ on any social site perhaps the focus hasn’t been in the right place? Maybe too much time spent waging SEO war?
Or perhaps the politicians are a little too apprehensive about exposing themselves to the uncensored responses online publishing illicits? It’s not hard to blame them when the media is tracking their every post and comment, waiting for a social media scandal – many of which we have already seen and many of which I am sure are still to come! (*update – latest social media scandal)
Either way it seems strange that while the Conservatives promise to give Britain the fastest broadband in Europe if they are elected (see article) they seem to have attracted an online fan base of only a quarter of the number of people who voted for them in the last election…
It’s becoming politics 2.0 – with more media and information being accessible to more people than ever before. For example, type in your postcode on this site to find out how your local MP voted on key issues – technology is changing the way politicians behave and it is becoming more difficult for tricky issues or contentious opinions to be swept under the rug as accessibility both to information and to the individuals themselves is now attainable to anyone with a computer or Smartphone.
Perhaps the upcoming online Q&A (which will see a partnership between Facebook and Youtube) will drive further online engagement for the parties:
And at the end of it all, will the Facebook fans, Twitter followers and Youtube subscribers convert into, what us marketing agencies would equate to sales – votes?!
We shall see…