Facebook is the most important social media channel in Canadian politics (for now).
I have to question the sanity of any politician (or there staff) who opts out of Facebook. From Facebook Pages with identifiable followers, to the ability to target ads on a budget, Facebook is excellent for political messaging and campaigning.
More importantly, Canadians have embraced it, and they are using it to discuss politics. People will complain about political ads on TV, but share and like them on Facebook. Imagine, almost all of your constituents are gathered in one digital room, talking about politics, and you as a politician are opting out? Madness! (Unless you are the undisputed King or Queen of another social media channel)
Facebook is a choice you can’t afford not to make.
Google + is not really a choice.
Google has already gone and created a page for you (so has Facebook, but not to the same extent).
The question for digital political campaigners:
Is there a political benefit worth the time and effort to maintain an additional social media outpost like Google+?
Truthfully, I do not know yet. As a social media tool, the small audience doesn’t suggest there is much benefit. But is Google+ only a social media tool?
I say Google, you say Search.
Canadians do not use Google for social media, they use it to search, and they are searching for their politicians.
What are they looking for?
They are looking for information about you and how to contact you. The political benefit to investing time into claiming your Google Local Page is simply providing the information your constituents want in a structured format.
In fact, Google has recently updated their Google+ Page (and YouTube) design to make the page even more compelling and mobile friendly.
Only one chance at a first (digital) impression
Additionally, by authenticating your digital properties with Google you create a more personal and human search experience for your constituents.
Note the difference between these two central Ontario MP’s search results.
While it is a little thing, it is often a politician’s first digital impression with a voter. Every time you (or your boss) are on TV, you will see search driven traffic to your website increase as curious Canadians seek out information about you, or a way to contact you. By spending some time with Google+ you are raising your own awareness of what Google is already telling the world about you, and how you can affect it.
Choose or be Chosen
Canadians are using Google to search for you. Canadians are using Facebook to talk about you and your policies. If you are not in that digital room, your opponents eventually will be.
One is worth spending a lot of time on, the other is worth spending some time on. If you’re finding yourself stretched, across Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Twitter and YouTube, your e-newsletter and website, there is a simple political calculation to make.
- 4.8 billion Canadian Google searches are performed each month (Source: 6smarketing- State of Canadian Connectedness)
- 2nd largest search engine in Canada is YouTube and the average person in Canada watches one hour per day of online videos – 80% of that is on YouTube (Source: 6smarketing )
- Average Time spent on Facebook: 10,000 minutes in 2012 (Source: comScore 2012 Canada Digital Future in Focus)
- Average Time on Twitter: 110 minutes in 2012 (Source: comScore )
Which of those digital tools are the people you are seeking votes from using most?