Lee Hsien Loong Knows A Thing Or Two About Social Media
With over a million likes on his Facebook page and over 570,000 followers on his Instagram and Twitter accounts, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is a social media juggernaut (at least by Singaporean standards).
Admittedly, part of that huge following comes from the fact that he’s the head of our government and the most prominent political figure in the land.
But the secret behind PM Lee’s massive social media audience is definitely more than just a perk of his job.
Look up the other cabinet ministers who are active on social media, and you’ll see that few of them have managed to break 100,000 Facebook likes (Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam stands at around 103,000).
Clearly, PM Lee is doing something right. This 64-year-old politician can definitely teach you a thing or two about growing your audience.
Read on as we break down some valuable lessons we can all learn from PM Lee’s impressive social media presence.
Visuals, visuals, visuals
It’s probably nothing new for seasoned marketers, but I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this.
When you scroll through PM Lee’s social media accounts, the first thing you’ll notice is the sheer amount of high-quality visual content.
Source: Lee Hsien Loong’s Instagram
Sure, there’s the typically professional, politician-type shots of PM Lee shaking hands on state visits, kissing/carrying babies, and participating in grassroots events.
But the rest of his feed looks more like that of a travel/photography enthusiast. It’s certainly not what you would expect from the official social media account of a high-level politician.
Take a look at his Facebook and Twitter accounts and you’ll see a similar collection of photos among his regular updates. And some of his most popular photo posts can garner tens of thousands of likes, and hundreds of comments from his fans.
We all know that visual content is generally more effective at driving engagement and impressions on social media.
PM Lee might have an advantage since his job gives him plenty of prime photo opportunities all over the world, but that’s no excuse for you to be a slouch about visual content.
If you’re trying to grow your audience on social media, remember that visual content – whether it’s photos, videos, or graphics – is a prerequisite to generate meaningful impressions, engagement, and followers.
Show off the cool stuff you do
Modesty may be a virtue in real life, but on social media all bets are off.
People crave engaging content. So if you want to grow your audience, don’t be too modest. Now is the time to show off anything cool, novel, or special about you.
Case in point: PM Lee’s coding skills. It’s definitely novel to see a politician (in his sixties, no less) who also knows programming.
The Internet was understandably surprised and impressed to learn that our PM could code. The post was shared 18,000 times and got over 50,000 likes.
Source: Lee Hsien Loong’s Instagram
You might be scratching your head about how you can show off your brand’s more interesting elements, given that you don’t have the benefit of being a public figure of PM Lee’s stature. But all it really boils down to is getting innovative at creating engaging content.
For instance, maybe your brand has an intriguing founding story and/or history, or is involved in meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. Or maybe your company has certain unusual workplace practices that people might not know about.
If you think out of the box, it isn’t difficult to create content that showcases something unique about your brand. You’ll be surprised at the number of ways you can generate interesting content that makes people go “wow”, or at the very least, “cool”.
You’d think that Singaporeans would be uninterested in the day-to-day work PM Lee does, but the opposite seems to be the case.
Most of PM Lee’s social media updates are about the daily ins and outs of his job, whether it’s celebrating the start of Ramadan with the local Muslim community, or going on an official state visit to speak with Myanmar’s new government.
People are hungry for this kind of behind-the-scenes content. It’s why things like all-access backstage passes and insider stories are such a hit. Everyone wants to peek behind the curtain and see how things – whether it’s the Prime Minister, or a brand they know – work.
And just like how behind-the-scenes content lets PM Lee highlight the hard work he does to serve Singapore and his constituents, it also helps your brand demonstrate that it takes its products seriously, and puts its customers first.
This L.L.Bean video is a good example of behind-the-scenes content that brands can offer on social media channels:
By showing audiences how they test their products for quality and durability, this video not only builds trust in the brand, it also commands the attention of people and grows your audience.
The post got nearly 12,000 views, and was shared over 170 times. It might not seem like much, but consider the number of friends each of these 170 people have. The number of potential impressions L.L.Bean was able to generate is no small matter.
Put a face to your brand
The incredible thing about PM Lee’s social media presence is how much it has softened his public image. By sharing little tidbits about his life, PM Lee has made himself more relatable, accessible, and personable.
Source: Lee Hsien Loong’s Instagram
From his regular walks (#jalanjalan) to cute photos with his wife Ho Ching on Valentine’s Day, PM Lee’s social media presence allows us to see the person behind the PM.
He’s managed to transcend the conventional stuffy-politician persona to build an organic audience. PM Lee’s fans follow him on social media not because he’s the prime minister, but because they like and identify with him on a personal level.
The same goes for brands too. You want to make your brand human so that consumers find you authentic and relatable.
If you’re still sceptical about how applicable this is to brands, just take a look at what SMRT has been doing with its content.
Due to frequent train breakdowns and service disruptions, it has drawn considerable criticism and negative sentiment from the public.
To combat its growing negative image, SMRT has been featuring employee stories in an effort to humanise itself. Such content not only helps counter the negativity associated with its public image, but also has the potential to capture more attention.
The people-centric stories told in these videos are more likely to provoke empathy and an emotional connection with viewers, garnering more engagement and impressions.
Tell a story
PM Lee is someone who knows the value of good storytelling.
While his Facebook and Instagram updates are very visual, they’re always accompanied by text. Sometimes it might be stories about his old radiographer, or about the origins and objectives of the Shangri-La Dialogue.
Using photos and concise blurbs of 100-150 words, PM Lee manages to tell a readable, interesting story with virtually every update.
Storytelling is a fundamental human need, and today people are more hungry for content than ever. Which is why stories are so powerful when it comes to building your audience: effective storytelling produces the type of content that audiences want.
If you still aren’t convinced, PM Lee’s story-heavy Facebook page only proves my point. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single post with less than a thousand likes.
Brands and anyone aspiring to have a bigger social media presence would do well to learn from our PM. Fundamentally, the stories he tells constitute content that people enjoy and appreciate, which is how he’s managed to amass such a huge following on social media.
And if you want to grow your audience too, it’s time to start telling your own.
Tell your story with Bolt
Want to grow your audience like PM Lee, but need a bit of help telling great stories?
Bolt connects brands with content creators that can help you tell stories that will reach, touch and engage your audience.