The Singapore General Election is set for Friday 11 September and as Singapore is one of the most advanced digital nations there is plenty of election-focused social content, providing interesting examples for brand marketers anywhere.

For those unfamiliar with Singapore’s politics, the government here has been led by the People’s Action Party since independence 50 years ago, but for the first time in 2015 all seats are being contested by various opposition parties.

Because of this, the election is quite heated and there is a lot of back and forth on social media.

Here we’ll take a quick look the two main parties and show some of their social media strategies and what we, as marketers, can learn from them.

Facebook

The Facebook page for the People’s Action Party (PAP) is, as one might expect, well-branded with their logo and full of election-themed posts.

They have opted to use a wide variety of media including infographics, pictures of the leaders campaigning, inspirational quotes from the leaders, and videos of their press conferences.

It’s interesting that they are using hastags on their Facebook posts as that isn’t so common these days, but when those posts are clicked on they lead to Instagram photos where hashtags still rule.

Having a variety of media is very useful for a brand, as different people have different preferences of how they like to interact with brands. ‘Real’ photos of people tend to perform better when measuring clicks, but infographics will give you a chance to have a deeper engagement with your customer.

The Workers’ Party (WP) have taken a different approach and are heavy users of text in their page design…

…and in their posts.

In this age of social sharing, it does make sense to put text within your photos. People then can share your photos in order to express themselves and there isn’t some long bothersome text to read to figure out what they are trying to say.

But, for brands, using a lot of text also presents a problem. If you want to promote your page posts into the News Feed, then you must keep the text in the post to under 20% of the photo.

To help you do this, Facebook provides a tool to check the pictures. It’s not precise, but with a few clicks you can get a good idea of whether you’re close or way over the text limit and your photo will be rejected.

Here are two examples I’ve taken from the PAP and WP Facebook pages, respectively. This one is most likely safe:

But this one will likely not be promoted in the NewsFeed:

Now this may not be a problem for the parties as they might not ever need to promote these posts, or they may have other ‘dark’ posts which aren’t on their feed that they use when doing paid promotion.

Nevertheless, the amount of text you have on your photos is something you need to consider carefully if you’re planning to do Facebook advertising in the News Feed.

Twitter

On Twitter, the PAP has very similar branding to their Facebook page, but has a lot of unique, real-time content which definitely adds an element of excitement to the feed. Brands that hold events should take note.

The Worker’s Party reuse the content they have on their Facebook page, but consistently post photos with their candidates faces front-and-center.

It may just be a coincidence, but recent research with eye-tracking technology shows that when people look at photos they are instantly drawn to faces. So if you want to grab and keeppeople’s attention on social media, showing faces is highly recommended.

Instagram

Instagram can be a more difficult social network than Facebook or Twitter for brands. On one hand the reach in many countries is excellent (over 50% of those under the age of 30 in the US use it regularly) but on the other it’s difficult to know what to put there.

On Instagram, The Worker’s Party have largely replicated their content from Facebook and Twitter.

Because these photos are so ‘branded’ and quite simple, they are definitely likable and shareable by people who support the party.

But I think the issue with their feed is that the photos look largely the same as each other and so they may be too easy to flick through. That is, people may feel like they have already seen the photo even if the content is really quite different.

Brands should take note as many other companies do the same and they may also be experiencing diminishing traffic and interest because of it.

The PAP on the other hand, have made some effort to produce what looks like ‘Instagram-native’ content.

These photos may have been subsequently reposted on other networks, but they do feel like they were taken for Instagram first. Because of this will be less likely for people to pass by feeling like they have already seen it.

Native content is always a good idea on Instagram.

In conclusion…

It’s an exciting week in Singapore and it has become very lively on social media. All parties here are participating digitally to a great extent, but the two main parties both have thoughtful, yet different strategies on social media.

Hopefully we’ve been able here to extract some useful lessons here for brand marketers, but do keep in mind that what works here, or for political parties, may not work for you. So be sure to measure engagement and adjust your strategy accordingly.