How to Boost Facebook Reach

Improve Facebook Reach

Improve Facebook Reach

For some time now, Facebook’s organic post reach has been in decline. You may have 1,000 likes to your business page, but how many of the people who have liked your page are actually seeing your message? Well, it depends on how often people engage with your content, but the figures are alarming: estimates are around 10% but some writers put the number as low as 1%. So your 1,000 likes may result in 10 people seeing your post.

With this in mind, how can you boost your Facebook post reach without breaking the bank?

Create Great Content – OK, this is a tough one. But there is nothing more effective in maximising your Facebook reach than excellent content. If you produce content that is fantastic, then people will engage with it: and if people engage with your content, they are more likely to see your posts, thus boosting your reach.

Ask Questions – You would be surprised with the effect that asking questions has on your engagement levels. People enjoy being asked their opinion and are often happy to share it. So use content such as asking open questions, caption competitions and fill in the blank competitions: a good way to drive your reach not only to your existing audience, but to new people too.

Know Your Analytics – There is no excuse for not knowing your numbers on Facebook. The insights section has improved dramatically over the years and you can now easily find out what time is best to post your message, what type of content works best and what your audience looks like (gender, age, location, etc.). You can also send messages to targeted areas of your page – for example, you can send a post to an audience segmented by location, gender, age or language. The more specific the message, the better the engagement.

Stop Selling – A lot of businesses go wrong with Facebook right at the start: they see it as a good way of selling more. But Facebook is not about that, it is about engaging an audience. If you were catching up with your friends and someone who you didn’t know interrupted and started selling something to you, how would you feel?

Advertise – I know that I said there were ways of boosting your Facebook post without breaking the bank, so why mention advertising? Well, Facebook advertising doesn’t need to be expensive. You can run a full campaign where you can select your audience and budget, or you can choose to ‘boost’ a post. This is where you can choose to spend a small amount of money to reach an audience that you select with one of your posts. You can see the amount of people you are reaching as well as how that changes if you amend your budget.

How do you boost your Facebook reach? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

The 6 Rules of Hashtags

The Rules of Hashtags

The Rules of Hashtags

Let’s face it, hashtags are great. They can help you to get your message in front of people who have no connection with you, but are interested in the same subject area and are following that subject. They search the subject, your post appears. And they are used across all of the major social networks…brilliant!

But like any good thing, it doesn’t work all the time. There are some important unwritten rules which surround hashtags. It’s about time the rules were written down to allow everyone to make the most of this great feature.

Quality over quantity

There are social media accounts which use a lot of hashtags – too many! If you have ever tried to read one of these messages, you will know how difficult they are to understand. Not only that, but, to me at least, they look a little bit desperate. So, pick one hashtag that is the most relevant for the message as a whole and focus on that – too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Be careful starting your own

Let’s remember what hashtags are all about. They are about connecting with people who are following a subject, but don’t have a link with you – it’s all about increasing your reach. So if you are starting your own hashtag, who is going to be following it as a subject? Unless you are very very influential (thanks for reading Kanye, but this doesn’t apply to you mate), you should use a hashtag which is already well established.

Make them relevant

If you follow hashtags, and you really should, you will normally find some interesting content and people, then you will be aware of hashtag spamming. This is where someone will post a message using a (normally trending) hashtag that has no connection whatsoever to their content. This is not only annoying, it is spamming and to be avoided at all costs!

Read them carefully….very carefully

If you are using a hashtag which is a couple of words squeezed into one, then you need to look at the hashtag very closely. The most innocent and well intentioned hashtags can have very embarrassing side affects – remember Susan Boyle’s new album launch? Maybe not, but you do probably remember #susanalbumparty – read it again….see what I mean? You can capitalise to make the hashtag more clear but if there is a hidden message, change the hashtag entirely!

Keep them snappy

Hashtags are often a source of humour, and that means that some of them can get pretty long. But hashtags that are too long are difficult to read, so if you are using it for your business, keep the length reasonable – and remember that you are hoping to engage someone new with it, and the longer your hashtag is, the less likely someone will be following it. You don’t want them losing their impact
#becauseyourhashtagisjusttoobloodylonglol

Think longer term

Although it depends on the number of followers that you have, the life span of a tweet is only minutes – a maximum of 15 but it could be even shorter than that. So if you are doing some research into hashtags then you want your work to last a bit longer than that right? Make the hashtag a longer term part of your marketing plan – use it on other marketing tools like your website and printed media.

Do you use hashtags and had success with them? Or is there a hashtag rule that your live by that isn’t on this list? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Social Media Etiquette for Business – 10 Starters

social media etiquette

social media etiquette

We have all seen those social media ‘moments’ – when a post on social media that was sent innocently suddenly erupts into something else entirely. This can turn into a worldwide trending problem, or be contained as an isolated local incident.

It is not easy to prevent such a situation from happening. But there are some etiquette rules and pointers to follow which can help to not only avoid disaster but actually get social media to work for your business. There are hundreds of them, but here are ten to help start your thought process.

Ask so what?
One of the most important lessons that I learnt when I started my career in marketing was to always be asking the question ‘so what?’ If you have written a draft of your post and are hovering your cursor over the send button, asking the question ‘so what’ will help you understand whether it is worth posting your update at all.

Right platform?
Different types and times of messages work well on different social networks. For example, you may not post the same information onto LinkedIn that you would onto your Facebook account. So firstly, make sure your message tone and content is appropriate for the mindset of the audience.

Platform quirks
Every social media platform has its quirks and if you are a business posting on that network, it is your job to understand at least the big ones. For example, you should not write a tweet that uses all 140 characters (you should always leave room for someone to share your tweet with their comments); and you should never like your own Facebook post. People notice these things and will take their attention away from your message.

Be polite
Your mum was right – please and thank you don’t cost a penny but they can go a long way. For a business to not be polite in its post or replies is just not on. You should also give credit where it is due – if you are sharing someone else’s content, say thanks. It’s nice to be nice.

Respect your audience
You have probably spent a lot of time and effort building your audience up, so treat them with respect. For example, don’t sell something that is completely unrelated to your audience (I experience this a lot on Facebook): it’s a short cut to a dislike.

Don’t mix your accounts
Personal and business rarely work well together, so if you want a social network for the business and one to talk about your passion for whatever it is you’re into, then create one for each – just because they love your product doesn’t mean they share your enthusiasm for train spotting.

Hashtag control
You see hashtags a lot – they are a great way of getting your message in front an audience that is following your topic but not aware of your existence. But like every great power comes great responsibility (thanks Spiderman) – don’t over use hashtags, it is irritating and can make your message completely illegible. #qualityoverquantity

Respond quickly
If someone has gone to the effort of posting a social media comment to your business, you should respond promptly to them. Dealing with negative feedback in public is not easy but doing so will bolster your audience’s confidence in your business.

Take deep breaths
You know I said respond promptly in the last point? I deliberately didn’t choose the word ‘quickly’. If someone has criticised your business or your product or service, it is very easy to respond quickly and aggressively – how dare they criticise your product, what do they know? But take deep breaths, draft the reply and take a minute to get the blood pressure down. There are lots of examples of people who haven’t heeded this advice and it never ends well.

Escalation process
Another reason why you may not be able to respond quickly is because you cannot actually answer the question asked. If you are in a large organisation, this is a particular challenge. So, in the interests of your audience, make sure you have the right people available at very short notice to answer your queries. And if the answer will take a while, tell that to the enquirer.

These are just starters – you cannot sum up social media etiquette in just ten points. So what is the social media point of etiquette that you see broken all the time? What unwritten rule of social media do you stand by?

How to Create a Twitter Advert

Twitter Advertising

Twitter Advertising

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog about the dramatic changes at the top of Twitter and 5 reasons why the changes are happening. One of those was that it is struggling to translate its social media success into advertising revenue. However, advertising on Twitter is a big opportunity, particularly for those with a limited budget – maybe that’s why the advert revenue is so low!

Twitter advertising is a powerful tool allowing you to segment your audience very accurately, key for a successful inbound marketing campaign. To help you get started, here is how to set up your first Twitter campaign.

Type of Campaign

You have a choice of campaign at the start, and this will be driven by your marketing objective. Do you want to add followers to your Twitter account? Do you want to improve your Twitter engagement? Do you want to drive visitors to your website? The process is pretty similar for all campaign types, so let’s assume that you want to get people onto your website.

Compose Your Tweet

Next, you need to compose your tweet. You can choose from an existing tweet that you have already sent or write a new one. I think you should always write a new one, specifically tailored to the audience and message that you are communicating. Your tweet should contain some information about you and a reason why someone should click – a big ask in 140 characters!

You should also use the Twitter Card system for your advert. If you choose to do so, you can add an image to your advert, giving it great stand-out, as well as giving a heading to your call to action. It also helps your advert render well on mobile devices (this is where most of your audience will see your advert). There is a wide selection of call to action buttons for you to pick from such as book now, learn more, order online, etc.

Audience Segmentation

This is where you start to see the power of Twitter advertising! You are able to target your audience via the following criteria:

  • Location – You can get specific enough at city level, but not at town level. You are also able to import multiple locations if appropriate
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Devices, platforms, networks – Able to exclude desktop or mobile or particular devices

There are also a series of ‘additional criteria’ which enable you to target your audience by their behaviour:

  • Keywords – Able to set your keywords as broad match, exact match or even negative keywords
  • Followers – Here you can target the followers of a particular Twitter account – for example, if your competitor has a big presence on Twitter, you can directly promote your tweet to their followers!
  • Interests
  • Tailored audiences – You can import email addresses to see if they are on Twitter, or target people who have visited your website (with the addition of a little bit of code)
  • TV targeting – For the right product, this is a fantastic feature. You can add TV shows for the location that you are based in, and your adverts will be available during the airing of that show. Great opportunity for segmented messaging
  • Budget – You can choose between setting a daily amount or a total budget

I have used Twitter advertising with a number of clients and the results have been impressive when compared to the amount of money spent. Hopefully this will blog will give you the information you need to have a go yourself.

Have you had any success with Twitter advertising, or advertising on another social network? If so, leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Facebook News Feed Changes

Facebook News Feed Changes

Facebook News Feed Changes

Last week, Facebook announced some changes to the way that news feeds will appear for its almost 1.5 billion accounts. While the announcement created something of a fuss, it shouldn’t be too surprising.

Facebook has been filtering what you see for a while already. And there are good reasons for that. Facebook is a commercial organisation with demanding shareholders, so one of the reasons is to encourage businesses to financially promote their posts. Another reason is to stop users being overwhelmed by their news feed: without any filters, your Facebook experience would be very different, and if people start to leave Facebook, those advertisers and shareholders will be looking to spend their money elsewhere – not what Zuck wants at all.

At the moment, the average Facebook user sees 300 posts per day, a mixture of friends, companies and adverts. But without a filter, the user would see 1500 posts per day – so if you think you see too much on Facebook, it could be a lot worse!

But how does Facebook decide what to show you in your 300 posts? Previously, it was based on the engagement that you had on various posts: if you liked, commented or shared an article, Facebook would (rightly) assume that you find this content interesting and will give you more content in a similar style or subject. If you didn’t do any of these things, Facebook would start to filter the content from a page as it would assume that you weren’t interested.

But what if you were interested in a subject, but didn’t want to publicise to your friends and family your interest in it? For example, if there was a sensitive political issue that you felt strongly about, you may not want to like or comment and share your views with the world.

That’s why Facebook has decided to take a look at a different metric – how long you spend looking at an update. It would be easy to interpret this as rather Orwellian and you may have a point, but Facebook’s argument is that this information is being tracked elsewhere anyway (true!) and they are doing it to provide a better quality user experience (TBC!).

They would not do anything to consciously jeopardise user satisfaction in the long-term.
It’s interesting to take a brief moment to see how much perception of privacy has changed – not so long ago, someone asking for your email address was invasive, now people are having the time they spend looking at an article tracked! Theoretically, this will mean that you don’t necessarily need to like a page to see their content – if you stare at a sponsored post for long enough, you may start receiving their posts.

So what does this mean for marketers? Not a lot has changed from a marketing perspective. You should still be creating interesting content, using impactful and relevant images and crafting enticing headlines. All of these will drive engagement for your Facebook content. The one change is that the competition just got more challenging. The drive for engagement is still the most important element of social media marketing and now there is a new metric on Facebook; time spent looking at post.

What Facebook really want marketers to conclude is that they should use sponsored posts more to ensure that their messages are getting out to the largest proportion of their audience as possible. And they are entitled to drive that agenda; we are using their platform after all.

Just don’t be surprised if businesses and users start to questions whether this is improving the experience or detracting from it.

The Problem with Twitter

The Problem with Twitter

The Problem with Twitter

Last week saw the departure of Dick Costolo from Twitter. Costolo had been the CEO of Twitter since he took over from Ev Williams in October 2010. While not a co-founder of the network, Costolo has grown Twitter from millions to billions in revenue. So what led to such a fundamental part of Twitter leaving his post?
There were rumours of ugly power struggles in the board-room and more recently there were also rumours of secretive meetings and bizarre factors influencing decision making.

But all of this is hiding some bigger problems that Twitter has and needs to address regardless of who is at the helm.

Network Outages:

Twitter has had some high profile outages and security issues that have grabbed headlines in the past. For example, when Ellen DeGeneres posted her famous selfie from the Oscars, Twitter was down for 20 mins. What Twitter does brilliantly is being used to follow and contribute to live events, so when outages happen at these high profile events, this is particularly noticeable.

Ad Revenue:

Twitter currently has a valuation of $3.7bn, but its ad revenue in 2014 was only $45m. This might seem like a reasonable sum, but compared to other online advertising platforms such as Facebook, its ad revenue is tiny. While Facebook does have more users and a larger valuation, you cannot escape the fact that Twitter has not been able to translate its network into a strong commercial proposition.

Avalanche of Content:

Twitter is very proud of the number of Tweets that people send a day, as it should be: 500 million tweets per day is a staggering amount of content. But this has implications. To get a message seen is becoming more and more difficult on Twitter, and that may be a factor for corporate Twitter accounts. Twitter doesn’t seem to have made the link between post visibility and advertising which Facebook has successfully made.

Dormant and Non-Existent Accounts:

Twitter does attract a lot of Twitter users on a monthly basis, but it has two problems with its accounts. Firstly, there are a large number of dormant accounts which are skewing the numbers, although these should not be included in the 300m monthly active users. More concerning however is the fact that people use Twitter to follow live events but do not have an account and do not log-in: they are using it as a news and opinion source but have not signed up.

Twitter is Public:

Twitter is an entirely public network where, unless you protect your account, everyone sees everything. This is one of its strengths. But when Twitter turns nasty with trolls and other online abuse, this is also very public. Twitter has not always acted quickly enough to address abuse claims and to publicise its reporting policy and this is a big reputational issue.

Let’s not forget that Dick Costolo oversaw Twitter revenue growth from $28m to $1.4bn, and Twitter still attracts over 300m users every month. But without addressing the above issues, Twitter will face more awkward questions and face more changes at the top.

7 Tips for LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn is a unique social network. It is where a broad range of professionals spend their time online, and there are a lot of them who do so! The perception that people set up their profile and then forget about LinkedIn is unfair too, as in April 2015, there were 187 million unique monthly visitors to LinkedIn.

But what are these people doing when they are on LinkedIn? It is one of three things:

  • Connecting and engaging with their individual connections
  • Participating in LinkedIn groups
  • Checking out company profiles and updates

If someone is checking out your company page, then you want that to reflect what your business is all about. To help you do that, here are 7 tips to impressing the audience with your LinkedIn company page:

1) Set up your page correctly – Make sure that the description of your business on your page is accurate, and that you display all of the products and services that you sell. You can add some rich media here, so make sure you use it – it’s more engaging.

2) Target your updates – If you are lucky enough to have a large company page following, you will soon realise that sending one message to all of your audience will not work – you need to segment. And you are able to segment by company size, seniority of role, location and more. And when you do share your message, include good wuality images: stock photos won’t do it!

3) Sponsor key posts – Ensuring that your update is seen by your audience is not easy. Not everyone is online at the same time particularly if you have an international audience, although digging into the analytics will help you know when best to post. So for your most important posts, consider sponsoring them.

4) Careers page – LinkedIn is more than just somewhere to find a job – but having said that, it is still somewhere that people go to find a job! You should set up a careers page to promote your business and attract the best calibre of candidate. Again, this can be sponsored if you are trying to recruit for a particularly important.

5) Your staff can help – A great way to kickstart your LinkedIn company page is to ask your staff to interact with your page. They can help to share your posts, which will expose your messages to your staff’s connections, and can even get involved in creating content for the page.

6) Don’t always be selling – When you do some research into why people unfollow social media accounts, one of the key reasons is because the account is always selling their product. You should have a mix of content about your industry, your business and content that your audience would find useful or entertaining.

7) Know your analytics – The LinkedIn analytics package is getting better and better after every update. In the package now, you will be able to tell what posts were engaged with, so you will be able to work out pretty quickly what day, time and style of content is working.

Do you have any top tips for LinkedIn company pages that have worked for you?

7 Ways to Use Twitter Live Streaming

Twitter Live Video Streaming

Twitter Live Video Streaming

We are only three or so months into live video streaming through Twitter, but it is already starting to build some momentum, generating tens of thousands of tweets per day.  Through Meerkat and Twitter-owned Periscope, anyone with a smartphone can stream their own video content live to their Twitter followers.  Periscope also allows you to save streams so that people can catch up on them in the future.

Even in its infancy, there are some businesses who are adding this tool into their content strategy.  If you are thinking about joining them, here are some ideas of how you could use live video streaming as part of your marketing plan.

1) Interviews – Not everyone can attract Hollywood’s A-list stars to have a chat in front of their smart-phone, but there are probably interesting people who you could persuade to do so.  Interviews are a good means of finding interesting angles on topics, and I have seen some excellent ones with a business’s staff: a nice way to give your business some personality.

2) Replies to Social Media – If you are receiving the same question on social media over and over again, why not answer it with a video?  Especially if you are able to demonstrate it physically or on a computer screen using your smartphone.  If you run the stream on Periscope, you can point subsequent similar questions to the recording to help them out too.

3) Live Events – Live events are taking place everywhere for all sorts of industries: don’t believe me?  Well, you are missing the Plumbing and Heating Exhibition in London while reading this…!  But not everyone can make events in person, for example a lot of relevant events for me take place overseas, so to be able to catch up on the highlights on a live stream would be great.  Of course, this can open up some copyright issues – just ask Floyd Mayweather.

4) Webinars – We have all sat in on webinars with colleagues at work, but what about if you could open this up to a webinar about a more fun topic?  Podcasts are being tentatively used by some (predominantly big) businesses, and while it is true that video podcasts are still less popular than audio podcasts that might change with live broadcasting where the followers can engage and interact in real time.

5) Behind the Scenes – Everyone likes to take a look behind the curtain, so why not let them?  I have seen some really interesting streams looking round people’s offices and chatting to colleagues, and it doesn’t have that polished promotional video feel to it.  With some audience questions (the polite ones, these streams can attract trolls!), this is a nice way of allowing people to find out a bit more about your business.

6) ‘How to’ Guide – Assuming that you have already put in the ground work of entertaining and informing your audience, you are entitled to sell a little bit!  I have had a lot of conversations over the years about new products and how to describe them in words – not easy in some industries.  But to be able to demonstrate your product in a video immediately makes any new features clear: and a more ‘amateur’ feel to the video will take away some of the corporate selling feel.

7) AMA – As live video streaming is all about interaction, this must surely be the ultimate way of using it.  Named after Reddit’s fantastic sub, AMA means Ask Me Anything.  The traditional rules of AMA state that every question should be answered, not just the positive ones.  So, you might need to put your armour on for this one: there are ways to limit who can comment and block those who get out of hand, but this risky tactic can come with great rewards.

Do you have any plans to use live video streaming as part of your marketing plan?  If so, please leave a comment and let me know!

How Not to Use Marketing Automation

Social Media Automation

Social Media Automation

When I am speaking with fellow digital marketers, one of the factors that is often brought up is the lack of time: ‘I spend all of my time updating the website or running reports when I actually want to spend more time developing my marketing’.

Sound familiar?  Well, marketing automation is for you.  It does exactly what it says on the tin (sorry).  For example, you email your prospects informing them of a new product.  For those who click on a link in the email and then go on to download a brochure on your website, you send a thank you email and your sales team get in touch with that prospect.  Doing this manually would be very time consuming, but many email providers offer this automation service.  Remarketing is also an example of a popular marketing automation tool.

But while automation can save you a lot of time and help you to spend time developing your plans, it does need to be handled with caution.  So, what should you avoid when automating your marketing?

Generic Broadcasting – The time that you save with marketing automation should be used to not only improve your content in the first place, but also to personalise through segmentation.  Consumers in all market places are becoming more and more sophisticated, and can spot poorly executed marketing automation.  And their perception is likely to be that you don’t care about the communication.

Being a Spammer – Automated emails are a great way of engaging with recipients who have shown an interest in your email, but you should still spend time focusing on the quality of your communication.  Avoid the usual spam trigger words and don’t go sending an email to thousands of people all at the same time.  Marketing automation can increase the risk of spam, but a good email provider will help you with this.

Bad Time Automating – Automated communications are tricky: you’re writing them at a time where the context of how the communication will be received isn’t known.  Most of the time, this is absolutely fine as you are only scheduling a few hours ahead, but beware of shifting events.  Inappropriate scheduled communications during events can seem very insensitive.  Also, companies that send the same response to all tweets are open to abuse (just ask Bank of America), and quite apart from anything, it is very poor marketing.

Communicating Constantly – With marketing automation, communications with your audience should become a lot easier.  But don’t get carried away.  If it is easier, then the temptation will be to communicate more often, but this is as off-putting for a recipient as communicating poorly.  It can also have a detrimental effect on the size of your audience.

Send and Forget – One of the objectives of most communications is to elicit a response.  Whether that is an open from an email, a click on an advert or a reply / share from a social media post.  So when you are automating, you should always have a process in place for monitoring their impact – you should be able to set this up as an email or smart phone notification.  Ignoring this can result in recipients not talking (positively or negatively) to anyone, something to avoid at all costs.

Image via thehospitalityblog.com

The “Social Media” Election?

Social Media Election

Social Media Election

When Barack Obama won his first Presidential victory in 2008, it was regarded as the first election that was won by social media.  Whether this is quite true or not can be questioned – in 2008, social media adoption was obviously much less than it is now; also how one communication channel can take the credit for the victory seems a little far-fetched.  But what is clear is that Obama was able to engage traditionally disenfranchised voters via social and turn that support into votes.

That is the size of the prize.

In the 2015 UK General Election, social media can really play a part in a political campaign.  So, how have the four main parties used social media, what are they getting right and what are they getting wrong?  To save any accusations of bias, the parties selected are the four most popular on the BBC Election Poll tracker, and the parties are listed in alphabetical order!

Conservative
The Conservatives have a strong social media presence – 464k Facebook followers (the largest of the parties featured here) and a strong presence on Twitter too: 155k followers and David Cameron has just short of 1 million followers himself.  The approach from the Conservatives is to provide regular updates on the campaign and use images and video which deliver stronger engagement.  They have also famously spent big on Facebook advertising to the tune of £100k a month, although the ads themselves were not particularly ground-breaking.  The key finding for the Conservatives is the language they use which is somehow too formal to sit comfortably in the social media environment.

Labour
Labour have a full 100k less followers on Twitter and Facebook than the Conservatives.  But they engage with their audience in a different way.  They use less stuffy language and have even branched out onto Instagram: recognising that images tell stories of their own, although they only have 400 followers mainly due to a sporadic posting frequency.  Labour have had some successful engagement on social media due to the sheer number of candidates on social media – they also seem to have a content plan, with an objective to dominate the conversation on key issues like the NHS. They encourage calls to action too, with a request to share or use the hashtag on most posts.  But there is also a rather dull countdown to the election: if you follow a political party on social media, you probably know when the election is.

Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats have the smallest Facebook and Twitter audiences of all of the parties featured – 112k on Facebook and 95k on Twitter.  But that’s not to say that they are not ambitious: Nick Clegg has said ‘In the final week of the campaign, two million voters will hear our message on Facebook, on YouTube and on social media’, although the press office had to clarify that a high proportion of this will be via social media advertising.  They have a more relaxed tone of voice than the two main parties and have encouraged use of hashtags, a good way of increasing their outreach, but has also attracted some criticism which has been ignored.  I have liked their short informal videos featuring Clegg on his campaign bus; I found the one where he read out mean tweets particularly good, although I still felt that his personality was still being subdued.

UKIP
For a party which is currently polling at around 14% of the vote, its social media presence is significant – it has more Facebook followers than Labour and the Lib Dems combined.  Social media has a tradition of challenging authority and UKIP’s challenge to the established political establishment is almost tailor-made for social media.  They use call to actions well and make a point of trying to engage with their audience, rather than just broadcasting their messages. However, UKIP are no strangers to social media gaffes, so spending time apologising for posts can confuse and dilute the message.

Conclusion
What the vast majority of posts seem to lack is an insight into the personalities of the individuals at the top of the parties.  One of the reasons why Obama was so successful on social media in 2008 and 2012 was because he was prepared to share some of his personality amongst the political messages.  For example, he took to Reddit to engage with younger voters via an AMA (Ask Me Anything), a risky but ultimately successful campaign.

There are so many opportunities to engage with audiences: they don’t stop at Facebook and Twitter and they must not stop at constant campaign messages.  If social media is to play a role in elections, these are lessons that all parties need to learn.