Expect to see Labor using its vastly superior social media presence to mobilise ground troops and emphasise any “gaffes” from the Coalition, according to a seasoned US political social media practitioner.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has brought in Matthew McGregor, a social media specialist who worked on Obama’s successful re-election campaign, as it looks to push home its nine time greater following on Twitter and three-times greater Facebook audience.
New Social@Ogilvy boss Yianni Konstantopoulos, who worked with McGregor at Blue State Digital in the US, described him as a canny and experienced social media politico.
“He’s really good at thinking about the type of content will be really engaging with the electorate. One of the things he’s really good at is looking through the lens of the end user,” added Konstantopoulos.
“He’s able to quickly push out content, and particularly highlight any gaffes or mis-steps made by the opposition. Whether that’s video or infographics one of his key traits is the ability to seize on mistakes.”
In terms of immediate presence on social media Konstantopoulos warned people to brace themselves for a barrage of messages from the parties, with Labor using it to rally grass root support in the early days.
“It’s interesting to note the last tweet sent by Kevin Rudd before the announcement was a URL for a donations page,” he commented.
“What we’ll see from all political parties in the next week is taking to social media and encouraging their supporters to get out and give an hour at a time on doorsteps, or $10, urging them to do what they can to help.
“That comes from the Obama playbook, you break down the massive task into manageable pieces.”
He also emphasised Rudd has a “significant advantage” in the social space, adding he thought they had probably paid to start seeding messages online to increase their reach.
Yianni Konstantopoulos will be writing a regular column for B&T on the impact of social media on the election in the run up to September 7.