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The UK's first social media election?

Friday, April 17, 2015 - 02:20

Digital strategy is proving to be a fundamental part of the UK election campaigns. With the closest vote in decades approaching, Ciara Lee asks what content has the best online impact.

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It's this video from the UK's Green Party that's been top of the Unruly Media Viral Video Chart. It's a satire of the upcoming general election, but many say social media campaigns and videos like this could prove decisive. The Labour party's offering, featuring actor Martin Freeman, has also been in pole position. Sarah Wood is from Unruly Media. (SOUNDBITE) SARAH WOOD, COFOUNDER AND COO OF UNRULY MEDIA, SAYING: "People like video that is relatable. This is one of the great things about social media. You have ordinary people talking to ordinary people and sharing their opinions. And I think the best videos are the ones where you have ordinary people saying extraordinary things." According to Unruly Media, the best political ads create a strong emotional connection with the viewer. (SOUNDBITE) SARAH WOOD, COFOUNDER AND COO OF UNRULY MEDIA, SAYING: "It's very curious that the most popular videos at the moment don't even feature the party political leaders, they don't feature the politicians. This is an interesting conundrum for politicians. It's key that they are trusted, that they are believed, that they are seen to be authentic and genuine. And it is the same with videos. The videos that get shared are the ones where there is an authentic and naturalness." Almost two thirds of the British public have active social media accounts, whether it be Twitter or Facebook, they're exposed to political content. And that's an influential factor for younger voters particularly. US President Barack Obama's election in 2008 was driven by a strong social media campaign. And the Scottish Nationalist Party was quick to adopt many of his strategies during the recent referendum. (SOUNDBITE) SARAH WOOD, COFOUNDER AND COO OF UNRULY MEDIA, SAYING: "You can really see them on social, you see them using video very effectively. They have SNP studios, so they are crowdsourcing a lot of their content and encouraging their supporters to create photos, videos and graphics, upload those to the portal and the best ones are getting shared." Leaders of the future are going to need to be compatible with an evolving digital age, reaching the public on multiple platforms. For now though, the challenge they face is how to reel in the floating voters and the disengaged, and convert online views and debate into action at the polls.

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The UK's first social media election?

Friday, April 17, 2015 - 02:20