Election Anniversary: Social Media Watch – Looking Back at @JustinTrudeau’s First Year As Prime Minister

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One year ago, Canadians voted for Justin Trudeau and a Liberal majority government in the 42nd federal election.

Earlier this week, Ensight’s Will Stewart looked back at Ensight’s Post-Election Research and how the results compared with the Liberal’s first year in power. Today, we’re focusing on social media.

A month after the 2015 election, Ensight’s digital team looked at what people were saying and how Trudeau was performing on social media in a post-election edition of Social Media Watch.

At the time, we found the internet was abuzz with optimism for a new Prime Minister, and Trudeau’s use of social media, along with his “star quality”, as many described it, quickly attracted international attention. In one month as PM, Trudeau became the first Canadian politician to surpass one million followers on Twitter.

Since then, Trudeau has continued to gain momentum and dominate the social waves, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.

Over the past year, there have been more than 3,000 unique tweets sent from Trudeau’s Twitter account, generating more than one million retweets and 140,000 replies. He’s gained more than 1.3 million followers on Twitter alone, bringing his total follower count to 2.13 million as of Oct. 21, 2016. Social sentiment has also remained fairly consistent, with the net sentiment between October 2015-16 sitting at 21 per cent positive, 62 per cent neutral and 17 per cent negative.

On multiple occasions, Trudeau has ‘broken the internet’ with viral photos and social posts and has often been a trending topic on Twitter. While yoga poses, shirtless selfies, surf sessions, boxing matches, baby pandas and Tragically Hip concerts may come to mind as highlights, the PM has also successfully used his growing influence on social media to drive his political agenda and, most notably, bring attention to important issues.

In Ensight’s Post-Election Research, voters told us they marked their ballots based on Trudeau’s articulation of vision and values rather than specific policies. By voting for ‘Real Change’, they were turfing a leader in Stephen Harper and style of government that they felt did not accurately reflect who we are as a nation and who we aspire to be as Canadians.

This conclusion is evident when we look at some of Trudeau’s top tweets over the past year, which include tweets about Bell Let’s Talk Day and mental health, Syrian Refugees, the Ramadan Attacks in Iraq and the Paris Attacks, and marching in Toronto’s Pride Parade.

His more playful, non-political posts may have garnered significant traction and driven conversations among social media users and the media since the election. But when it comes to his own social accounts, it’s the content that demonstrates the values people view as traditionally defining Canada and Canadian society, including civility, kindness and inclusion – as highlighted in Ensight’s Post-Election Research – that have performed best for Trudeau in his first year as Prime Minister.

– Jeff Blay, Communications and Digital Coordinator,  Enterprise (jblay@enterprisecanada.com,@JeffBlay) and Adam Schwartz, Associate Consultant, Navigator (aschwartz@navltd.com)