Another excellent and well attended presentation by Greg Canty of Fuzion Communications was held at the Ludgate Hub on 11th Feb, co-hosted by the wonderful Skibbereen Chamber of Commerce.
Recounting a recent public talk by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Greg Canty related how an audience member asked Mr Martin how his party were planning to match the astonishing success of Sinn Fein on social media. Three weeks before the election SF had four times the following on Facebook and twitter than rivals FF. As Greg noted, while there were many reasons for the subsequent election result, the power and reach of social media was a factor.
However, in the British election last December, Jeremy Corbyn’s party was dominant when it came to campaigning on the internet, making use of memes, viral Facebook posts, and sharply edited videos to catch the eye of voters. As the party website says “On Facebook Jeremy Corbyn and Labour achieved 86.2 million views on campaign videos, compared with only 24.5 million views for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives”.
Ian Lavery, Labour Party Chair, said: “With a Tory dominated media, the ability to get our message out on social media has been a game-changer and we’ve been able to reach tens of millions.”
The result was far from that anticipated. Riding high on social media did not result in a landslide akin to that enjoyed by Sinn Fein in Ireland. So what made the difference? One factor could be that it is not just the volume of social media engagement that matters, but the public’s perception and engagement with it.
As Alex Hern, UK technology expert at the Guardian writes
In the last few days of the general election campaign … we saw accusations of a misinformation campaign aimed at smearing the family of a sick four-year-old by saying they had staged a photo of him lying on a hospital floor. This gave way to the realisation that there was no real campaign, per se; just a made-up claim posted to Facebook, shared by thousands who wanted it to be true, and cut-and-pasted on to Twitter by others who didn’t bother to rewrite it in their own words.
So the lesson for businesses? Social media is a powerful way to share information and engage with the public, but it has to resonate with their opinions rather than dismiss or replace them. It has become the place to engage with a wide public and as Marketing Solved says in its article on tips for what to post on social media:
Make it RELEVANT for your audience
Talk TO your audience, don’t talk AT them.
Handled well the rewards of using social media are clear. Hubspot record that
- The number of businesses that say Facebook is critical to their business has increased by 75%
- 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form
- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.
As Jeremy Gesicki, Global Digital at Mueller Sports Medicine writes
“Social media helps us communicate our brand and engage with our audience. There’s a real and powerful emotional connection that our brand shares with fans and consumers. When we showcase that relationship, it’s a home run for us. And there’s no better way to authentically communicate our brand message than engaging with people naturally through social media.”
So many thanks to Greg for a great talk, and some excellent tips on how, when and what to post on social media to keep our services in the public eye.