Bill English has an active social media strategy, likely well funded and professional – Socks, pies and pizza: How to turn the Prime Minister into an everyman
While the Facebook posts may appear cringeworthy, social media experts say they are part of a sophisticated strategy to build an everyman image for English and introduce him to as many people as possible.
Social media expert Philippa Crick, director of Cre8ive Marketing, says English is clearly being advised by professionals.
“On Facebook, people like to see you are authentic, human and honest, so him posting about walk/runs shows his human side,” she says.
“It looks to me like a deliberate strategy in place to keep it real. He’s trying to say he is the real everyday man. He is not putting feta and spinach on his pizza.
“That is a clear strategy.”
Crick says the best way to build an audience on Facebook is to ask questions in your posts and upload videos. In 2015, two videos were posted to English’s Facebook page. Last year there were seven. So far this year he has posted 76 videos.
The walk/run video may appear home made, but it has been engineered to perform well on Facebook. The video is vertical in shape, has been subtitled so people can watch without sound and has been carefully edited to make it pithy and humorous. All things that make video popular on Facebook.
Media commentators can see right through the lipstick, and are cringing at it – Revealed: Silly old Bill English’s humble hero social media strategy. Duncan Garner writes – Stick to plain English: We’re all cringing at PM’s social media silliness
After eight years behind the scenes, totally mastering the art of boring us all to a slow, painful death, Bill English has been forced to step out from the shadows.
The attempt to re-cast the prime minister as a fun-loving, hard-exercising, sheep-shearing, pizza-making family man – clumsily advised and poorly executed – is truly cringeworthy to watch.
English has clearly been told to dig around for a personality – and promote it on social media. The result is a mawkish, awkward attempt to re-package him as something he’s not: John Key.
In social media terms the like-farming is working, the numbers are going up. But Bryce Edwards reminds us that social media and elections are different things – LOL! Politicians ‘keeping it real’ on social media
Next time English wants to show off his spaghetti pizza he might want to remember that success on social media does not translate to electoral success.
If it did, perhaps Kim Dotcom would be prime minister. Social media success is often in the eye of the beholder.
Alice Snedden goes further, and thinks that English is actively damaging himself – Keep up the good work, Bill English, Labour thanks you
For months now I’ve enjoyed the giving tree that is Bill English’s social media presence. I assume the point of his social media presence is to make him seem like he’s just an ordinary guy, one you could get a beer with after work. He’s the Pinocchio of politics; always trying to prove to the public that he’s a real boy. But the harder he tries to seem normal, the more he seems like the New Zealand’s new stepdad who keeps trying too hard to win us over and just doesn’t get that we need space. He’s awkward and hard to watch.
His continued efforts to seem like one of us are not happening by accident. Whoever is running the National Party campaign has clearly decided that Bill English is not your fun loving, drunk uncle, John Key type. And they’re right. He couldn’t be further from that.
I wish he would just stop, but the part of me that wants Labour to win hopes that he doesn’t. His public persona is disingenuous and it lacks authenticity. In many ways I guess that makes him the perfect leader of the National Party. I just hope people see through it.
Yeah I’d like to hope so too, but I’m sure a lot or people are buying counterfeit Bill.