Winning with social media

June 1, 2011

John Key and the National Party are winning with social media.

The Nielsen BuzzMetrics service measures and monitors comments made on internet publically displayed message boards and blogs and have determined from this how the New Zealand population who participate in social media view the performances of the leaders of the National and Labour parties, and also the two parties themselves.

John Key is clearly well ahead on overall commentary numbers and is currently in the box seat, although the gap is a little closer between the two main parties.

More importantly, when reviewing sentiment of the conversations about the political leaders it should be noted that both leaders have more negative comments made about them than positive, although for John Key, this is a pretty close call. Phil Goff, however, has a much lower positive sentiment than John Key, and a much higher negative rating as well. This means that overall Phil Goff is 21 points behind John Key on a combined positive and negative sentiment rating.

Both parties have substantial proportions of negative sentiment and are level with a much lower positive sentiment.

However, when reviewing the negative gap, it still favours National by a reasonable 10 points margin.

Overall the results were generally more balanced for the Prime Minister and his party, however with tones ranging from vitriolic to supportive . . .

Phil Goff and Labour appear to have attracted more consistently negative comments, surrounding his leadership qualities and the party’s election chances . . .

 . . . John Key has a much bigger fan base and number of followers on Facebook and Twitter, but Phil Goff has actually tweeted more. Phil Goff also has more recent postings on his Facebook page (16-25 May), but a high number are made by other people while John Key appears to be the only “poster” on his page. However, Key leads quite comfortably for the average number of comments and “likes” per his recent individual postings on his Facebook page compared to Goff.

 Summarising, Tony Boyte, Nielsen Associate Director of Research, Media comments “Clearly these early findings, especially regarding sentiment, highlight how important it is for New Zealand politicians to monitor what is being said in social media, right now and throughout the lead up to the November elections”.

Social media will play a part in political campaigns and the findings in this report are more or less consistent with polls. National and its leader are more popular than Labour and its leader.

People are more likely to complain about things they don’t  like than to praise something they do which could explain why both parties and their leaders attracted more negative comments than positive ones. 

However,  the views people give on social media don’t necessarily indicate how they’ll vote or even if they’ll vote at all.

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