The Liberal Party's social media presence throughout the Federal election campaign has been patchy at best, hallmarked by a PR 'broadcast'-style approach and is typified by Opposition leader Tony Abbott, who hasn't bothered tweeting in almost a month.
Amnesia Razorfish social strategy manager, Karalee Evans, said social media was clearly not on Tony Abbott’s agenda and that he may have “missed the boat”.
“He’s not using social media as a chance to get his message across and there’s a million Australians on Twitter," Evans told Computerworld Australlia. "That’s a million people that he can potentially communicate his policy and his thoughts to for why we should elect him so he’s crazy not to.”
In contrast to Abbott, former Liberal leader, Malcolm Turnbull, was demonstrating how Twitter should be used for political benefit, Evans said.
“[Turnbull] is engaging with people, he’s having debates with people around the NBN and around the filter," she said. "He’s actually authentic and transparent in his policy views, which is proving quite successful, he has many more followers than Tony Abbott which then increases his reach and the number of people that he can get that message across to.”
Despite the imminnent election day, Evans said there was still time for Tony Abbott to “do a 180 degree turn and start engaging” with social media and followers.
“I think if he was to [engage] now there might be some initial backlash as to why it’s been so long… But I think people quickly get over that and use the opportunity to ask the questions that matter to them," she said. "Every day that goes past during this campaign period is more and more disappointing, purely because of the sheer number of people who are trying to engage with all three party leaders and all three party’s social brands.”
The Australian Greens use of social media, while basic, has been commended for its two-way interaction with followers, using the platforms for engagement rather than distribution tool.
The ALP launched its own social media space called LaborConnect, in addition to its presence on mainstream social networks, inviting followers into a “Labor backyard” to engage in conversation, ignoring conversations that were already taking place.