It’s all but official Justin Trudeau will join the Liberal leadership race tomorrow. Which makes Trudeau a good candidate for my digital makeover series. Of course, I fully expect there to be wither leadership-specific digital properties or a rework of existing ones when the announcement is made. So, this makeover could be moot in a little over 24 hours. This at least gives an historic account of how Mr. Trudeau has been doing.
Justin Trudeau’s digital ecosystem boasts a website, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter stream, YouTube channel and Flickr photostream. However, it’s an ecosystem that connects only inward, really. With the exception of his Flickr profile, all of his outposts link back to the website.
His website includes embedded thumbnails from his Flickr photo stream and a list of his most recent tweets, both in the right sidebar, and features dedicated pages labelled Photos and Videos with embedded content from Flickr and YouTube respectively. Otherwise, his website does not provide the user-familiar links to his outposts.
There is also the branding challenge that his outposts are identified by a variety of property names:
- Justin on his website. It’s actually to his credit he secured Justin.ca. If not for some other very popular Justins, he might have ranked first in Google searches of the name. Instead, a Google search of Justin in Canada puts him, well, not on any of the first few pages of results.
- Justin Trudeau on his Facebook Fan Page
- JustinPJTrudeau on his Twitter stream and YouTube channel
- 25480181@N06 on his Flickr photostream. The cryptic username is automatically assigned. It would appear he has not selected a vanity name with Flickr.
Three opportunities for improvement:
- Add user-familiar links to your outposts on your website.
- Harmonize your biography/description on each site, with flexibility granted to Twitter due to its limit on description character count.
- Apply the vanity name JustinPJTrudeau to your Flickr account.
Justin Trudeau’s digital strength can be found in his Twitter stream and Facebook Page. He updates both channels regularly with a good mix of political and personal messages (more on FB below). Although his Facebook Events page hasn’t been updated since March 2010.
Like all online participants, Mr. Trudeau can be testy. Still, he has a good online voice and often replies to and retweets posts issued by others.
Mr. Trudeau’s Flickr stream is routinely updated with photos of him in action. Many of the photos, including those taken at this summer’s India parade, do a lot to humanize him.
There’s a big HOWEVER, though. For the vast majority of people including those relying on search engines, the official website is still the authoritative online source of information from a politician. And this is where Mr. Trudeau’s website is a decided liability. In a phrase, it’s not a source of regular and meaningful communication.
Visitors arrive at Mr. Trudeau’s website on a blog-style news page which features mostly official statements a few personal messages. There are three posts from 2012 (a Happy Canada Day message, a copies of the Liberal Party’s official statements on the opening and closing of the 2012 Olympic Games). The next most recent post goes back to July 5, 2011 when Mr. Trudeau was named critic for Youth, Post-Secondary Education and Amateur Sport. This could be a problem for people considering the prospect of Mr. Trudeau becoming leader of the Liberal Party.
His YouTube channel hasn’t been updated since May 1, 2011.
Three opportunities for improvement:
- Turn your website into a central hub of authoritative information, both official statements and updates on the issues you’re working on. You should have at least one new post each month.
- Post at least one new video each quarter.
- Bonus: make your Flickr photos available under a Creative Commons, attribution-noncommercial license so social media content creators can use them.
Participation & Community
Trudeau’s tweets for the last 30 days have been 32% regular tweets (fresh content) and 34% each for replies (conversation) and retweets (amplification). I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mix quite that balanced before. Don’t get too hung up on his rather large 152,146 Twitter followers, though (an often misused and abused metric). Aside from the fact The Status People Fakers Tool suggests 13% of Justin’s following is fake and 34% inactive, followers more likely suggests a lot of people subscribed to his updates rather than they would vote for him in an election.
Trudeau has a lively and active audience on his Facebook Fan Page. His updates are effective at attracting Likes and drawing out comments from his Facebook community. However, Justin is not an active participant in his own community. He has provided the gathering place and feeds the discussion. Recent popular topics include a post about the NDP shouting down Elizabeth May, wishing the Jewish community a ‘shana tova’ and sharing that going to Montreal ComicCon was “for my kids, really!”
Three opportunities for improvement
— well, maybe two just one:
- Participate, even occasionally, in the comment threads of your Facebook posts. Be seen as a member of the community.
- Harness the input of your community by incorporate polls into your Facebook Page.
- Continue to build the strength and size of your community so you can activate it when you need it.
Interruption (the bonus category)
Coupled with his active and energetic Twitter and Facebook updates including images of him being arrested by Star Wars Stormtroopers and photos of an outing at Centreville, Trudeau allow the public to posts to his Facebook Page. Both are reasonably rare among MPs.