SG General Elections: 6 tips for social media campaigning

Following the news that General Elections 2020 have been called, political parties in Singapore have started to launch campaigns on digital platforms. Opposition party Worker's Party was the first to kick-off its campaign, launching a short 15-second teaser on its Facebook and Instagram page featuring its candidates. Titled "GE2020: Coming Soon", the film simply showed candidates smiling to the camera, and displaying its logo with the caption "coming soon" at the end. The video has garnered over 7,400 positive reactions, 857 comments, and 1,900 shares at the time of writing.

In response to the teaser, Joel Lim, senior PR and events executive at Gushcloud, took to his personal Instagram page to break down the teaser and show why it is, in his opinion, a fantastic trailer from a PR and advertising point of view. 

The six points that he pointed out which made the teaser a good one include how the teaser video was optimised for social media sharing, how it showed inclusivity, and how it manages its narrative. His Instagram post has gained 1,163 likes at the time of writing. 

joel lim wp

1. Optimised for social media sharing

Lim said the video is made to be exactly 15-second long and it is filmed in a portrait mode, showing that it is specifically created and is optimised for social media sharing.

2. Inclusiveness

Although the Worker's Party team is mostly made out of male candidates, the video featured four female candidates in the first few seconds. According to Lim, one of the hot topics out there among youths is the lack of female representation in politics. Thus it is eye-catching when the first few candidates featured in the video were females. Lim also said the team is diverse, with both young and old candidates and representations from minority groups in Singapore. This shows that the political party is embracing inclusiveness.

3. High production level

Lim noted that each candidate was shot with good lighting, and it was probably taken by a professional camera given the blurred effect in the background. This gives the video a high production value because it looks expensive, well-produced, and professional.

4. Timing

Noting that the time of publishing was right after the General Election was called, Lim speculates that the video was probably scheduled beforehand. He also said that Worker's Party was the first political party to launch its campaign, showing its readiness to run for the elections. The timing also gives the party an advantage, according to Lim, as multiple media outlets took to report about its video launch, given that it is the most relevant topic right now.

5. Omission of candidates' name

Additionally, Lim said the names of the politicians were not mentioned, and he thinks it might be deliberate. According to Lim, the names of the candidates were omitted because it was not the intention to introduce its candidates, but to focus on one particular prominent figure, Nicole Seah. "By omitting the names of the other candidates, Worker's Party is controlling the narrative: Nicole Seah is back," Lim said in his caption, adding that this will be Seah's first election since 2011. Lim further supports his point by pointing out how multiple media outlets picked up on Seah's appearance in the video.

6. Gentle smiles

Last but not least, Lim said the candidates were pictured to look pleasant and smile gently. "They are basically redefining what it looks like to be an opposition party in Singapore," Lim said. According to him, opposition parties have been long synonymous with terms such as "angry", "unprofessional", and as "complaint kings". So getting its candidates to simply smile gently with a soothing background music helps this particular opposition party change its image to Singaporeans.

Following his PR analysis of the Worker's Party teaser video, Lim also went on to provide a commentary for another opposition party, Singapore Democratic Party. In another series of Instagram stories, he shared his thoughts of why Singapore Democratic Party's campaign video may not resonate with audiences based on a branding perspective. He also analysed Worker's Party's latest and longer campaign film. In a statement to Marketing, Lim said election campaigns need to start looking towards digital mediums to reach out to voters, especially younger ones. This is due to the fact that with each General Election, there will be a new batch of first-time voters who are digitally-savvy. 

When asked why he did these commentaries, Lim said he’s always had a passion for politics and because of his background in advertising and public relations, he has a vested interest in the campaigning portion of politics. He added that in his line of work with public figures on marketing campaigns, he sees parallels between marketing and political campaigns, and thus wanted to share his insights.

“Initially, all I wanted to do was to share my opinions with my friends, as we all do on social media. Most of my peers are quite indifferent about politics. Many assume that it is boring and dismiss it entirely. But perhaps by talking about politics in an entertaining way, that can help get them to be a little more interested. I do believe that every vote matters and that each person has a voice,” he said.

Separately, media intelligence company Truescope Singapore has unveiled a list of politicians and political parties that are being most talked about. In the list, the People's Action Party is being talked about the most, followed by Worker's Party, Progress Singapore Party, Reform Party, and then Singapore Democratic Party. Among the politicians, Truescope also found Lee Hsien Loong from People's Action Party and Pritam Singh from Worker's Party are getting the most attention among Singaporeans on social media.

Earlier last week, the Elections Department (ELD) relooked campaigning, and strongly encouraged political candidates to plan for modes of campaigning that do not involve physical group gatherings. Apart from being able to carry out campaigning efforts on the internet via social media or live-streaming, ELD also said it will be more providing more airtime on national free-to-air TV channels for political parties and candidates. This is to allow all political parties and candidates to put their messages out to voters, while safeguarding public health and safety, said the ELD.

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