Election Special: Social Media

Gone are the days of advertising only on the TV and radio. Politians are picking up social media to engage with voters.

Laura Daly reports.


79 per cent of Aussies use social media.

More than a third of us are online at least five times a day, and politicians have noticed.

Even the Australian Electoral Commission has increased their online promotion.

The AEC’s using Facebook to educate on people voting processes.

In Australia, politicians started significantly using social media to campaign in 2013.

Since then, engagement has continued to evolve.

Axel Bruns, Social Media Expert: “Increasingly, social media is just really, really central to how people inform themselves, and of course, the parties understand that, and that’s why they’re also using social media to get their message out.”

Social media marketing is one of the biggest draws for political parties, it allows them to send targeted advertisements to individuals, for a fraction of the cost of traditional ads.

Platforms like Facebook hold a lot of personal data from age and gender, to location and even relationship status.

The tools are all there for political advertisers to target us with specific messages.

Axel Bruns, Social Media Expert: “For a party, for a candidate, it’s very much possible to target people of a particular demographic within their electorate and have a very targeted and tailored message that they can push out.”

As well as advertising opportunities, social media also allows candidates to engage with members of the public.

Long gone are the days of waiting for open public forums for community members to discuss their concerns, now, we are able to tweet, comment, and chat with candidates online, giving politicians a unique chance to connect, and gain favour with voters.

Axel Bruns, Social Media Expert: “Political parties, politicians, journalists as well, can’t afford not to engage with that, because so much of public communication now takes place there.”

For better or for worse, social media is a major part of life.

Facebook alone has 15 million active Australian users, leaving politicians with two options: get online, or get left behind.