Best media relations campaign 2015 Article icon



Agency: Blue Rubicon

Five years ago, the election was one characterised by apathetic voters. Six million eligible voters were not registered while 22 million people simply did not bother to cast their vote.

This year, Facebook was keen to become part of the solution and encourage more people to register and vote on 7 May while simultaneously acting as a useful platform for politicians and political parties to engage with their constituents.

Research revealed that the more people talked about politics on Facebook, the more likely they were to vote. Indeed, a study published in Nature in 2012 revealed that 300,000 people had voted in the previous US election after seeing Facebook posts from their friends on the subject.

The social media platform used this knowledge to create content and PR stories to stimulate election-related discussions. Elizabeth Linder, Facebook’s government and politics specialist, participated in a series of media interviews, including BBC Breakfast, discussing the role that the social media platform could play in the election.

Working with the Electoral Commission, in a groundbreaking partnership, Facebook launched a campaign, encouraging of age adults to register and vote by posting reminders in newsfeeds, linked to the voter registration page. These reminders were viewed by 15 million people while more than three million people downloaded an I’m a voter button, featuring a giant megaphone, which appeared at the top of their newsfeeds on polling day.

The button had previously been used in three US elections, the EU Parliamentary elections, the Scottish Referendum and India, where 4.3 million people shared the megaphone, reaching 31 million people.

Partnering with Sky News, Facebook hosted a series of live Q&A sessions at which party leaders and other influential politicians answered questions directly from the public. It was the first and only time the leaders answered questions in such a way.

The first session of the Stand Up and Be Counted; Ask the Leaders debate, which was attended by prime minister David Cameron, former Labour leader Ed Miliband, former Liberal Democrats’ leader Nick Clegg and the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett, was hosted by Sky’s political editor Faisal Islam.

Each leader was quizzed in front of an audience of 60 young potential voters, and the sessions were live streamed on the Facebook pages of Sky News, as well as its website and YouTube channel.

Following the debate, each politician participated in a 15 minute Q&A session on their respective Facebook pages. The social networking platform also worked with politicians and potential candidates to help them engage with constituents on Facebook, spotlighting the best examples in the media.


example, Facebook could advise which political themes were being discussed online by people

within individual constituencies.

Between January and May, there were 52 million interactions, such as likes, shares or comments, about the election on Facebook. These revealed that the economy was the most mentioned election-related topic.

Facebook found that, in the five months between 1 January and 1 May, there were more than 4.5 million economy-related interactions from 1.4 million people while the economy was the most discussed topic in 350 of the 651 constituencies in the UK. Europe and immigration was the second most popular topic, with 3.7 million interactions from 1.3 million people.

Facebook was also able to analyse the discussions around political parties. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, it found that UKIP was the most discussed political party on the social media platform, between 1 January and 1 May, attracting 15.6 million interactions from three million people.