Justin Trudeau defied the polls when he and his Liberal Party soared to a majority government during the final moments of the 42nd Canadian Election. Although much of Trudeau’s success can be attributed to mistakes made by his rivals, there is no denying that his campaign’s prowess on social media contributed to his last-minute momentum.
Trudeau has a formidable presence on social media, which is especially true when compared to his two main rivals Conservative Leader (and Prime Minister) Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. As of October 25, 2015, Trudeau had more than double the number of Facebook followers than Harper at 518,455. Pretty good considering that Harper has been Canada’s prime minister for almost 10 years.
So what did the Trudeau campaign do on social media to mobilize potential supporters to vote for him on Election Day? To find an answer, I looked at the campaign’s Election Day social media activity, particularly his official Twitter account (@JustinTrudeau) and the Justin Trudeau Facebook page.
How Trudeau Won on Social Media
1. Trudeau stayed on message (and in Twitter newsfeeds) with consistent hashtags
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 19, 2015
On Election Night, the Trudeau campaign stayed on message by repeatedly using two hashtags on Twitter:
- #elxn42 – the unofficial Twitter hashtag for the 42nd Canadian federal election. This hashtag was used in 51% of Trudeau’s Election Day tweets.
- #RealChange – the key message of the Trudeau and Liberal campaigns. This hashtag and its French version #changerensemble were featured in 54% of Trudeau’s Election Day tweets.
The repeated use of the #elxn42 hashtag ensured that Trudeau’s tweets would be seen in Twitter searches for that hashtag, which was trending during the Election. The use of the #RealChange hashtag, on the other hand, would reinforce Trudeau’s brand and gave the green light to online supporters to also use the #RealChange hashtag in their tweets.
2. Trudeau mobilized his supporters
The majority of Trudeau’s tweets and Facebook posts were directional, providing voters with mobile-friendly reminders to vote. On Trudeau’s Facebook page, these posts were accompanied by a “VOTE NOW” image (see above). This image with its use of action words created a greater sense of urgency.
3. Trudeau spoke to his supporters
Short videos are ideal for Twitter as they automatically play when appearing on a visitor’s feed.
The Trudeau campaign posted six short videos on Twitter during Election Day, like the one above. This number sounds like a lot, but pales in comparison to the whopping 22 short videos Trudeau posted the day of the Munk Debate, which featured footage from Justin at the debates, in Parliament as well as less flattering videos of his opponents.
4. Trudeau used made-for-social ads
Trudeau’s campaign used plenty of beautifully crafted images on Election Night. The campaign posted the above image on Facebook to encourage supporters to vote early on Election Day. Like Trudeau’s other Election Day images, this image uses action words, “Go vote”, and is branded nicely with the Liberals’ “Real Change” messaging.
And to a lesser extent…
5. Trudeau gave us a look behind the scenes
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 13, 2015
Though not used as frequently on Election Day, the Trudeau campaign has posted many behind-the-scenes photos of Justin with his family, supporters and the public during the long campaign. Behind-the-scenes photos are great for community engagement, creating a greater sense of openness with stakeholders.
6. Trudeau utilized “newsjacking”
According to marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, “newsjacking” is the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.
Trudeau’s campaign used the above tweet to get the attention of Blue Jays fans during a Blue Jays playoff game. To ensure the tweet showed up on the Twitter search feeds of Jays fans, the campaign added the Blue Jays trending #ComeTogether hashtag to the message. The tactic worked as the tweet got over 500 retweets.
What do you think of this article? Do you think social media is responsible for Trudeau’s majority? Let’s discuss! Leave a comment below!