Australian Politicians, where are you online?

Most of the US election campaigning has been played out online. Hilary and Obama both used their communities and networks extremely well online. They gathered their supporters and they kept them updated on policy amends, gatherings and opinions. Rather than their online focus being inconsistent and dipping in and out, they were extremely focused on making sure everyone was updated constantly.

During the 2007 Australian election campaign, Kevin Rudd experimented with more online tactics than John Howard. It was a good trial, but nothing as conclusive as what the American’s are doing now. It showed that Rudd was a little more in touch with the younger voter and could leverage his supporters WOM (word of mouth) power, however, he still didn’t get it 100%.

There were a few missed opportunities by the Labour and Liberal parties:

  1. Constant presence online – Rather than having a static website or one that is updated with minor superficial updates, there needs to be something else to capture voters minds…….and votes. The ideal would be for a political blog (or microblog), detailing the daily/weekly events, thoughts and responses to tricky questions that have come up during the day or themes that are coming out online/through press or articles.
  2. Consistency within the party – Not one party had everyone aligned with what to do and communicate online. The ideal would have been to get the whole party using the same online platforms (video, blogging, websites, social networking, etc) and ensuring consistency with their online presence and communication. For example, during the election the Liberal party should have developed an overarching or umbrella campaign that communicated the do’s and don’ts of any online communications. There should have been a single platform (digital hub) where all of the ‘celebrity’ or ministerial politicians should have updated their daily events and trials.
  3. Leverage social networks – there are so many Facebook pages and groups dedicated to political parties and politicians. The political parties need to use and leverage these. Getting involved with these will give the owner of the groups the satisfaction that they are being heard and people are getting involved.
  4. Monitor the noise – the political parties had the perfect environment to monitor what were the sticking points and what were the topics that were getting the most coverage online. The easiest way to do this is via monitoring blogs, forums and using one of the free PR monitoring applications (see future posts for more on these free apps). The hardest thing is analysing the themes and topics that are most important.

There is a huge opportunity for an agency in Australia to work with the political parties to help them understand what they should be doing online and develop an ongoing umbrella strategy that they can all work towards.

Here are some of the political reference sites from the US and one from the politically correct, UK.

Written by Dominique Hind

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3 Responses to Australian Politicians, where are you online?

  1. Benji says:

    Completely agreed. Also, these connections are far more intimate and personal than those achieved through bradcast media. Candidates (or those who represent them) can really engage in dialogue with citizens.

    Perfect case study is Gordon Brown on Twitter.
    http://twitter.com/downingstreet

  2. Pingback: What can Australian politicians learn from the US? « Dominique Hind’s Collective

  3. Mike says:

    nsistency within the party – Not one party had everyone aligned with what to do and communicate online. The ideal would have been to get the whole party using the same online platforms (video, blogging, websites, social networking, etc) and ensuring consistency with thei

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