In the lead-up to the General Election, we’ve seen extensive use of social media by the parties and MPs vying for power. The majority of that activity revolves around Facebook and Twitter – clearly hugely important for reaching people en masse. Does the buck stop there though?

Is Streetlife an attractive alternative?

Streetlife is a London-based social network that focusses on bringing people together online at a neighbourhood level. If Facebook and Twitter are for targeting the masses, perhaps Streetlife is the equivalent of door-knocking by the local MP? Some stats around its user-base:

  • 74% of users are aged 40+
  • 32% of users don’t use any other social media platform
  • 50% of users want to engage with their local MP via Streetlife vs 14% who would actively follow their MP on Facebook or Twitter

Interesting figures. An ‘older’ demographic that compares to 36.5% of Facebook users that are over 40 (source, most up to date I could find) and 38% on Twitter (source). Streetlife certainly offers a way of reaching more mature voters. Consider that 32% of users don’t use another platform – this means that a large proportion of the 800,000 users aren’t reachable on Facebook or Twitter.

The final stat above is very interesting and I think offers a strong argument for using Streetlife. During all of the research I’ve carried out around people’s use of social media when it comes to gathering info and opinions, it has been clear that many users just aren’t interested, or they find the noise too difficult to cut through – too much rhetoric and not enough facts. If parties/MPs use Streetlife at a very localised level, they could well deliver a much cleaner and relevant message to constituents.

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Not a huge audience

800,000 is small-fry when compared to Facebook and Twitter, but that doesn’t mean it should be disregarded. If I was in charge of these digital campaigns, I’d be looking to add Streetlife to the mix, but with a very careful, open and responsive approach. Of course, there would need to be a sizeable, active Streetlife in the appropriate community. A key issue with political social media is the that in the vast majority of cases, the level of response to questions, comments etc from the parties is shocking. That approach is bad enough at a wide level, but at a local level, it could really alienate voters. Success across social media means a great content approach, mixed with a truly responsive attitude. The key phrase here is ‘don’t overstretch’. Will Streetlife become a key campaigning tool? Perhaps it’s too late for this election on a wide-scale, but who knows what the future holds?

If you use Streetlife and have had interactions with MPs, candidates etc, I’d love to hear you thoughts! Please do leave a comment.

You can read my GE2015 coverage here.

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