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An Analysis Of Presidential Election Candidates On Facebook

As we draw to a close for the presidential election on 30th October, I took the time to snoop the candidate’s Facebook pages… was like delving into the cookie jar ten minutes before eating dinner; irrisistable, risky and very tasty!

# 1. Name: Michael D Higgins

Fans: 4,195

First impressions: The typical dull, conservative, but safe profile pic and a welcoming message. Michael comes across as traditional/reliable, but slightly old school.

Custom pages: A simple ‘Join Michael on Facebook’ page, a Twitter feed and Flikr feed. No bolstering of his ego or use of video.

The wall: Strong interaction and plenty of updates. I felt a minor amount of trebidation when clicking on comments and expected to say some horrific stuff. Lots of positive comments and questions…that is until the comments on art works from some of Ireland’s leading contemporary Artists. Here we see Michael selling his artwork and a commenter not a happy bunny. Response? Nowhere to be seen.

My view: Looks like the page is being used consistantly and that it is driving engagement and giving supporters a chance to follow his movements. On a negative note, any adverse comments are hanging around like undeleted voice messages with no follow up. Social media is a two-way street and those who take the time to comment, do expect a response in return. To avoid answering signals either a lack of interest, concern or an inability to answer the comment honestly.

# 2. Name: Sean Gallagher

Fans: 31,193

First impressions: Again, our dragon has the typical conservative profile, although there is something about Sean’s beckoning hand that inspires trust and openness. His message is lean, but effective “Let’s put our strengths to work” (stressing ‘our strengths’).

Custom pages: By default, we see an ‘Online Canvas’. The wording obviously taken from ‘canvassing’and given a digital twist by adding ‘online’. The idea behind the message is to share a video. Nicely crafted icons for ‘events’ a ‘Twibbon’ and ‘Tweet’ are all in favour of following and supporting. Finally, a stream of Twitter updates to follow the current conversation.

The wall: Interaction is extremely high with supporters quite vocal in their support. I found it interesting that supporters rallied against supporters for other candidates and declared Sean No1.

My view: The supporters are driving the conversation here, instead of the page admin. They appear quite protective of Sean and have an admiration for even the tiniest of actions. Is one sour comment enough to unsweeten all the grapes? One pensioner stood out from the fan-list, as he enquired about the lack of support for pensioners when the medical card was taken away. After one hour of various updates, still no sign of a response to this one.

# 3. Name: Martin McGuinness

Fans: 8,693

First impressions: The ‘home’ tab shows a beaming face and positive message ‘The people’s president’. It’s bright, personal and likable. Scroll down, and you find plans for job creative from the ‘jobs ambassador’.

Custom pages: Less customisation than other candidates, but perhaps more targeted and selective. A video feed termed ‘McGuiness TV’ with supporter videos and endorsements. Next, a Twitter feed, and then a u-stream live feed. The Wall: The updates are obviously written for ‘Martin’ as opposed to ‘by’. The tone was much more casual with plenty of decoration (exclaimation marks and …) The updates were positive and uplifting, but all commenters were left hanging, as no’one responded.

My view: I’m not certain if Martin McGuiness likes his own face and adoration or if he feels that video is the best form of persuasion. He has been referred to a candidate with less support, so an emphasis on showing the support he does have may be part of the strategy to grow it. I am definately in favour of live videos giving real-time interaction.

# 4. Name: David Norris

Fans: 25,616

First impressions: David uses the emotional response ‘To believe in Somebody’. Although in my mind ‘to believe’ is proactive and strong. while ‘somebody’ is a bit vaugue and distant. Pink strikes me as an unusual choice for a male candidate. Donate appears to be everywhere.

Custom pages: We default to the ‘To believe in somebody’ page with a prominent ‘donate now’ button. There’s a Twitter feed, a Youtube feed and donate now page, plus events and the usual welcome. Interestingly, I also noted a Page Guidelines page outlining was is acceptable conduct on the page. Is this a way of aviding negtive comments? Or jusitifible considering the nature of some comments?

The Wall: Again, conversation is steered by fans with a fantasic use of media – apps, images, videos, Twitter #tags – all discussed on the wall.Of the 25,616 fans, only 1,557 are interacting, which is a fairly small percentage. There is also talk of merchdise; namely mugs.

My View: I feel that the ‘Donate’ message is overpowering the page.

While none of the pages mentioned can be termed ‘Switzerland’, social media by nature does encourage a gamut of opinions from cold to red hot. I hoped to see page editors proactivitily responding to good and bad alike, instead, even the most favoured are ignoring a great opportunity. Even questions and positive comments were left unanswered.

The general vibe here in Ireland is gloomy. People are struggling to trust and believe in those who have a hand in the running of the country. I wonder myself if candiates are more drawn to the position of power and status; a figurehead if you will, than being hailed as someone who faces brings about positive change with the people in mind. I hope that our next President will be active in society and fight for us.

Who gets your vote?

Christina is a complete geek, hence a perfect web + online marketing consultant. After ten years working with Premier Recruitment Group, LA Fitness, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Travel and a host of other companies, she now owns CG Online Marketing ( in Ireland and is an associate of the Ahain Group. She's qualified in most things online such as web server management, digital design, Google Analytics and SEO. Specialties: Social Media Marketing, SEO / PPC,Google analytics (qualified in GA IQ) Web trends + insights, Data segmentation and targeting, Customer Behavior analysis, Digital design, Writing, Ethical marketing Green marketing / Sustainable tourism and Hotel + travel online marketing

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  • Lol, this is great fun, Christina! it appears the Facebook pages are like an extension of each candidate’s personality. On a more serious note, I also hope that our next President will be active in society and fight for us.

  • Hi Niall, I find it interesting that candidates are using social media, but not embracing or considering all sides to its use. If a lack of honest responses is an issue, social media can help with this. I found overall that was one-sided or perhaps used to ‘scare’ the other candidates. If it were me, I would consider what these channels could do that helps me address concerns and listen to people. Being a representative is about more than simply acting as a figurehead or tooting your own horn.

    I’m sure there are plenty more insights to see, so hopefully readers will share their thoughts about those here.

  • Enjoyed reading this Christina, I presume Dana, Mary and Gay don’t have FB pages?  Interesting that some of them have made the error of ignorning the occasional comment rather than responding.
    Listening to Higgins being interviewed on the radio this morning, I just wanted to scream at it ‘just answer the question, man!’.  I’m looking forward to it all being over as it really seems to have dragged on and on.
    I have noticed the passion on Gallagher’s page too – supporters are really engaging on it. I didn’t see his TV election broadcast but my husband said it was very impressive. Did you see Mary Davis’s?  Having different people mouthing her voice gave me the creeps.

    A great blog post Christina, I really enjoyed reading it.

  • Hi Lorna,

    Most candidates had pages, although my post would have turned into a novell, so I took pity on readers and just concentrated on four. They do avoid direct answers and pansy round the question. Sonner or later we are going to know the truth. Would it not be best for us to prepare and trust them than worry and hate them when elected? Or is this all for ‘the greater good’ and ‘the ends justifies the means’ ? We’ll soon see I guess….watch this space!

    Glad you enjoyed Lorna.

  • Probably a case of, someone told them they need to be on there but didn’t explain why! 🙂

  • I’m thinking the same thing ; 0 ) It all goes back to the ‘if you’re going to do something, do it right’ mentally that not enough people adopt. It isn’t good enough to just follow a trend in my opinion. Its a bit like ‘greening’ – companies like to appear environmentally-friendly for the public eye, but they not actually being green. I’d say the public are catching on fast to teh honest ones.

  • Cathal Melinn

    no Mitchell Davids or Dana?

  • Hi Cathal,

    I actually found most of them on Facebook, but had to limit my analysis. Feel free to look for them and share your thoughts on how well they are using the page.

  • Great analysis, Christina. 

    Really interesting to see the Donate option on the Norriss page. Strikes the wrong note for me. 

    Still not sure who’s going to win 🙂

  • Ditto Ivan. Feels like a charity push.

  • As politicians struggle to “get” social media, this is a nicely observed piece and very timely Christina, well done. Senator Norris’ team has been accused of removing adverse comments and banning commenters from his page, interesting blog here

  • Excellent post Tina, as an Irish person living abroad this has just made my day 🙂

  • Hello Helen,

    Thanks. When you are dealing with or representing people, then they can be your biggest advocates or adversaries. In my opinion, one can easily become the other overnight. Social media could be a positive platform for politicians to change their habits and turn opinions around. It doesn’t have to be one-sided… accounts are press releases. They are too fearful of the people they are representing and if one (just one) could use social media, a blog etc to dispel that fear by answering head on, then progress can be made. (Rant over…hahah)

  • Bless you Catherine.

  • Krunal Vaghela


  • Faseeh khawaja

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     On this site i found really collective material regarding marketing niche. and  I also would like to post your website link in my posts at this website.http://www.fortunamarketing.comkeep this great work up.Regards,Faseeh

  • Elishbul

    At last – glad to see this in print as someone who was in retail. Its fine to say No especially if it protects a fair and equal treatment of your other customers and the integrity of your brand. Ethics works both ways in business.

  • Connor Keppel

    Power of FB for ya! You were probably in the right though all along which means you should have been dealt with in the first place

  • Connor Keppel

    Thanks Elish

  • Be_nice

    Recently in Knoxville TN a customer had been asked to leave from a restaurant because the views he expressed on a radio show.  Most people agreed that his comments on gay men were not well thought out.  While many cheered on the owner for kicking him out, I wonder what would have happened if someone kicked out a gay person for their views or a raciest ups the price of a condo to keep a black family out of his building.  Just thinking out loud.. 

  • Must admit, I quite often bypass call centres now and air my problem on twitter – always gets a response and I’m sure it’s far quicker than it would have been using the old-fashioned approach!

  • Anonymous

    Connor – great approach. Really like the objective approach – thinking the situation through. Good advice. Thanks for the tips. Objectivity keeps the relationship balanced. Understanding your own behavioral response and reading the customer’s behavior helps that balance as well.

  • Definitely can be a fine line to walk between doing what is right for your business and not alienating customers. However, the longer one is in business, the easier it is to listen to your gut instinct. There will always be customers who will never be pleased, so you have to choose your battles wisely and understand that not every situation is going to turn out the way you want.

  • Thanks for reading Warren

  • Good advice Bridie – plus it’s cheaper most likely!

  • Great advice Marshall – perhaps a post in that one for you!

  • A great story – and so well articulated. passion is key when talking about our business. It’s certainly felt here Sian 🙂

  • Thanks Niall – I found it so interesting to hear about a revolutionary product like that.

  • Thanks Elaine. Ciaran certainly does know his stuff and it’s great to hear such a good success story in these times

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