Despite the well documented benefits of social media as a key engagement platform, a high percentage of politicians just aren’t maximising its benefits in the run up to the 2015 General Election. In fact, social media presence is notably lacking in the cabinet, which will no doubt make for some rather catastrophic Klout scores.Tweeting – the modern equivalent of leafletting – is clearly not a strength for the vast majority of leading politicians. For marketers this is somewhat bemusing considering the impact social media played in Obama’s winning 2008 election campaign. How much more do we need to bang on the drum?! Social media is simply not a channel which can be ignored in modern politics.
Our research has shown the parties are fighting it out online as well as competing on more traditional ground. Ultimately every party is made up of people and social media gives individual politicians a chance to tell a more personal story in real-time. Personality is hugely important in modern politics, with characters such as Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage well known, for better or worse, for their eccentricities.
While big hitters such as David Cameron and George Osborne are represented on multiple platforms, some household names such as Theresa May and Eric Pickles are not on Twitter. Not only are these politicians missing an opportunity to engage with voters, they are potentially damaging their career prospects.
Politics is more often than not a popularity contest and a would-be party leader who has successfully built rapport with the public across all touch-points is in a much better position than a social media slacker.