Canadian political parties are currently in communications overdrive. Everyday there are more than 24,000 messages shared about the four major political parties and their leaders. On August 27 Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced his plan, to run three years of federal budget deficits his name was mentioned more than 11,000 times on Twitter in a single day.

Even with all of that engagement three social media lessons hold true:

1. Don’t feed the trolls stick to planned messaging.

If your brand receives 6,500 mentions a day, you are either doing something very right or very wrong. Political parties are forced to contend with direct criticism and public attacks on their positions. One thing they don’t do is engage in drawn out Twitter fights about facts and figures.

Every issue in a political campaign is a contentious one — no matter what the parties say there will be a backlash but when the attacks come in on social media the party does not respond. Avoid negative discussions when in crisis while also continuing with your communications plan. Think like a politician. if you plan to engage on a controversial subject understand who will respond negatively and who you will rally to your cause.

2. Use humour when appropriate.

Humour is an effective tool to drive engagement with your following and has been a bright spot for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s campaign. Harper’s most popular messages recently have been humourous.


A poll of 12,400 social media users by the Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange found that 43 per cent of users share things that are funny on their social channels. Humour is humanizing and broadens the appeal of your messaging, use it to tie popular subjects that are a bit beyond the scope of your brand to your campaign. The Conservative Party even uses humour on the party’s 404 redirect page, which features the tagline its first attack ad on Trudeau.

The Conservative party isn’t alone in its creative use of the 404 page.


The Liberal’s 404 message features a moose being rescued by a squadron of geese (similar to Twitter’s fail whale) and the New Democrat Party’s 404 goes after Harper.Liberal-404


3. Executive engagement makes a difference.

As part of our review we are monitoring certain battleground ridings, including Edmonton Centre where the incumbent Conservative MP has retired leaving the field wide open. On Wednesday, Trudeau made an appearance at an event in the riding.  The result on social media for Liberal candidate Randy Boissonault, was dramatic. Trudeau`s appearance and engagement with Boissonault increased mentions of the candidate`s name by 224 per cent increase between Tuesday and Wednesday evening.


Trudeau is the party’s executive and his engagement in the riding made a difference in his candidate’s social reach. Your brand’s social media account, or that of your executives, carries a lot of social influence. Raise the profile of your team by sharing their content or engaging with them online.


Follow our social tracking of the 2015 election on Twitter @Cision_Canada




About James Rubec

James Rubec is a data geek, a former public relations lead and journalist with a love of content and advocacy. Ask him anything @JamesRRubec and be sure to follow @Cision_Canada

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