By: Jeff Blay and Adam Schwartz
Shirtless selfies, surfing trips, pride parades and concert-going have dominated social media during the first summer of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government’s leadership. But as the season comes to and end and the House of Commons resumes on Sept. 19, the focus will quickly shift to agenda pushing, debating and policy moving.
While there are still signs of the feel-good, constituency-focused themes of summer across all three federal parties, we’re beginning to see a transition into the more politically-charged issues that will soon rule Ottawa.
With Labour Day passed and only 10 days until the House sits, we decided to take a look at what content each party is focusing on and which party is performing best on social.
As they did at this time last year leading up to the federal election, the Liberals are once again leading in social activity and engagement. Through the first week of September, the Liberal Party generated 13 million potential impressions on Twitter, with the majority of activity focused on retweeting positive announcements and messages from MPs as they prepare to return to Ottawa. Key issues being pushed on social by Trudeau and the Liberals include the PM’s visit to China, investing in youth and the teacher tax credit.
The Conservatives, on the other hand, continue to use their official party account far less than the Liberals or NDP and have the lowest potential impressions at 1.7 million. Over the past week, they’ve been openly critical of Trudeau on multiple occasions, which has resulted in negative engagement and backlash from Liberal and NDP supporters. Adding to the Conservative’s lack of positive engagement is the social media firestorm created by leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, who has been met with significant criticism — including from Conservative MP Michelle Rempel —after announcing her immigrant screening proposal.
The NDP have quietly been using social media successfully, leading all parties in total tweets sent from the official party account and generating a total of 18 million potential impressions — more than the Liberals, but likely a result of sending out nearly two-times the amount of tweets. Content has been focused on amplifying positive messages from NDP MPs and retweeting high-profile articles that align with party positions, with organic content focused largely on private health care.
On average, the Liberals have consistently outperformed opposing parties on social media dating back to the October 2015 election. But can they maintain the positive exposure as Trudeau approaches the one-year mark of his leadership? We’ll have the answers in future editions of Social Media Watch.