This report contains insights of the 2017 General Election Political Campaigns communicated on Dr Joseph Muscat’s and Dr Simon Busuttil’s Facebook pages. Both political parties have their own pages; Partit Laburista (PL) and Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) respectively. However, since the leaders of both parties have significantly larger numbers attributed to their personal pages, the analysis focuses solely on these.
Since this analysis was last updated (26th May 2017 ):
- PN’s Facebook page has 28,467 followers.
- Simon Busutill’s Facebook page has 39,060 followers.
- PL’s Facebook page has 32,984 followers.
- Joseph Muscat’s Facebook page has 78,325 followers.
Many points emerge from this report regarding both party leaders’ political campaigns and how they’re communicated on their respective social channels, however, one point which is extremely clear is that they have both taken a very different strategic approach.
Joseph Muscat is central to the vast majority of PL’s communications. Typically he is portrayed alone, as the public face of his party. Communicating this type of message has proven to work in numerous other political campaigns around the world.
He has successfully released short videos thanking his audience for watching and summarising the main points discussed during a mass meeting. This type of social activity drives significant engagement from the relative platforms it is posted on.
Simon Busuttil’s imagery typically portrays him surrounded by supporters and colleagues which suggest that this is a marketing tactic used by PN. It is not necessarily directly focused on the candidate but more so on the party as a whole.
His social message takes a more emotional approach. He can be seen holding his partner Kristina’s hand, with a celebratory and colourful setting behind paired with a strong, emotional message.
Neither strategy is right or wrong, and the impact, both consciously and subconsciously that both images carry, can be very powerful.
The Party Leaders
Joseph Muscat – Partit Laburista
PL’s main campaign message is ‘L’Aqwa Zmien ta’ Pajjizna’ which focuses on Government’s achievements and the optimistic future which Malta would benefit from through another 5 years of Labour Government.
The Joseph Muscat Facebook Page’s cover photo is updated regularly (approx. twice per week) and during this week, the key message is about ‘Il-Holma Maltija’ (The Maltese Dream).
Simon Busuttil – Partit Nazzjonalista
PN and Forza Nazzjonali’s key campaign message is ‘Jien Naghzel Malta’ which means ‘I Choose Malta’. The general campaign direction is to unite voters behind a common cause which is to clean politics and put national interests before personal ones.
During the political campaign period, the cover photo is updated once per week on average.
Data collected between April 23rd and 22nd May 2017.
The page has a following of over 78,000 followers and has increased by 4,640 during the analysis.
The graph below demonstrates the days (over the last month) which generated the most followers. The largest number obtained in one day was 470 recorded on the 2nd May. The general election was called on the 1st May. There seems to be a correlation between the increase in growth and the announcement of the election.
Simon Busuttil’s Fan Base
Data collected between April 23rd and 22nd May 2017.
The page has a following of over 39,000 and has increased by 5,130 during our analysis.
The graph below shows that the 6th May was the most successful day in regards to increasing its followers. On this day, Simon Busuttil launched the Campaign headline ‘Jien Naghzel Malta’
In comparison to the Joseph Muscat Facebook Page, during this period, the Simon Busuttil Page grew by a larger number of fans and is growing at a faster rate. That said, this is expected since such page has significantly more ground to cover in terms of actual numbers when compared to its main competitor.
The two most popular days for reactions over the last month were the 2nd and 15th May.
Both days generated over 25,000 interactions.
- The reactions on the 2nd May were mainly about the general election which was called the previous day.
- The reactions on the 15th May were mainly due to the mass meeting held in Naxxar which took place the day before.
The most popular day for reactions over the last month was on the 14th May generating over 15,000 interactions.
- The reactions on the 14th May were a result of the mass meeting held in Balzan.
Joseph Muscat’s best performing post over the last month was the change of his profile picture on the 2nd of May. It gathered over:
- 7,500 reactions (6,800 likes)
- 341 shares
- 459 comments
The top performing post on the Simon Busuttil Page was posted on the 21st May and contained a colourful photo of Simon Busuttil holding the hand of his partner – Kristina Chetcuti – during a Forza Nazzjonali mass meeting. It gathered over:
- 5,000 reactions (4,400 likes)
- 151 shares
- 351 comments
Status updates with photos were the most common post type, followed very closely by video (both live and pre-recorded).
- Photo: 181 (50.56%)
- Video: 155 (43.3%)
- Link: 13 (3.63%)
- Status: 9 (2.51%)
Video content (both live and pre-recorded) is the most popular post type published on the Simon Busuttil page followed closely by photos.
- Video: 75 (53.19%)
- Photo: 63 (44.68%)
- Status: 3 (2.13%)
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