The politicians winning (and losing) on social media

Digital, Politics, Ruth Callaghan, Social Media

Ruth Callaghan 21 Feb 2017
2 mins

In politics today – as in business – social media forms a key part of the modern arsenal. It’s the new home of political debate, and social media is increasingly being used as a tool to deliver messages and connect to voters across the full political spectrum.

But while it’s easy to see who’s got a Twitter account, who’s live streaming their announcements on Facebook and who’s kissing babies on Instagram, how do you tell which political players are actually effective on social media? And why does it matter?

Cannings Purple has turned its analytical eye on the use of social media in the WA State Election campaign with our #SocialStars project – using our industry-leading social intelligence, data and digital insight resources to examine the performances of WA politicians, and provide expert advice on how to leverage these increasingly powerful platforms.

There’s plenty of political debate and opinion to be found on social media, but it’s much more than just an echo chamber.

Political parties of all persuasions have recognised that social media carries real weight and can be a key influencer where it comes to winning hearts, minds, and most importantly, votes.

Barack Obama used social media to great effect in 2008, generating voter support that took him victorious through the primaries and a presidential election.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaned heavily on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to drive his successful election campaign in 2015, and according to a survey by a US research centre, more than a third of Americans aged 18 to 29 years old named social media as the most helpful source of information on the 2016 presidential election.

Voter engagement is moving away from door knocking, leaflet drops and ribbon cutting and towards hashtags, tweets and status updates.

There’s no question that getting social media right can deliver huge rewards for politicians, but it’s not as simple as putting up a profile and pushing out some standard messages.

Join us at for our digital team’s expert analysis of the social media activity of WA politicians in the lead up to March 11, and find out just what intriguing insights are hiding in the data – and what they could mean for the contenders.

Ruth Callaghan More from author

Ruth uses two decades of experience as a media strategist, communications adviser and journalist to develop, deliver and distribute messages that cut through.

She specialises in providing strategic digital and content services for clients, using the principles of newsworthy and engaging content to tell compelling stories. She is a skilled media trainer and works with professionals both within and outside the communications industry to develop their digital, writing and media skills.

Ruth’s work in this field has included developing digital and inbound marketing strategies for clients, including use of lead generation software, content marketing and social media. She works with emerging technologies including virtual reality in campaigns and continues to write for publications including the Australian Financial Review.

When not distracted by the next shiny digital tool, Ruth likes to holiday in cooler climates with her family or hang out with her stubborn Scottish Terrier Maisie.

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