As the election chase kicks off in earnest, are the party machines cutting through on social?
The four major parties in WA (based on their Legislative Assembly vote at the 2013 election) were the Liberal Party (558,000 votes), Labor (393,000), Greens (100,000) and National Party (72,000). The Liberal Party retained government with 31 lower house seats, the ALP won 21 and the National Party won 7.
But that Liberal dominance in the Parliament doesn’t translate to the social media sphere. Here’s where the four big parties started on Twitter:
And on Facebook (where we have added in the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party WA):
So while the Liberals are just ahead on Facebook, they have some catching up to do on Twitter — and they are making a push to build their numbers. Here’s the daily growth we are recording for the big parties on Twitter based on our tracking of the past few weeks:
Labor wins on total follower numbers across the two platforms, but does that translate to cutting through with your message? Not necessarily.
Labor has twice as many Twitter followers as the Greens and the party account posts with high frequency (9.9 times a day over the last month compared to 9.4 times for the Liberals, 3.2/day for the Greens and 1.5/day for the Nationals).
Yet Labor gets only half the engagement that the Greens do with their Twitter posts:
In fact, the average tweet by the Greens will get retweeted 5.4 times. One of the Greens’ big posts of the past two weeks has been with Rafeif Ismail, their candidate for Mirrabooka, but they have also had cut through with protest photographs from the international Women’s March and Roe 8, and images from Fremantle’s One Day celebration.
Rafeif Ismail, Greens candidate for Mirrabooka, on Pauline Hanson and the harm her racist rhetoric inflicts https://t.co/Qnm36lnV7V
— TheGreensWA (@TheGreensWA) January 22, 2017
Compare their retweets to the other parties and the rest of the pack comes up short. Labor is next with 1.7 retweets per post, the Nationals with 1.2 and the Liberal Party with 0.9. When you are trying to reach an electorate of 1.2 million voters, you need more cut through than that.
So while they are starting from a much smaller base, we would give the cut-through award (for this week at least) to the WA Greens.
Social media can take a lot of time and resources for sometimes uncertain return. The key is to use what we call media intelligence to inform your efforts — so you tweet or post the right information at the right time to the right people in the right way. Along with our daily social stars, we will be providing our (unsolicited) advice to the parties throughout the campaign, and will check in on how their Facebook pages are performing next week.