It would also be safe to assume that Al’s overall communication (PR) strategy on climate change is being advised by external high-level expertise using a systems approach. This system approach means that social media is only one of the many communication avenues being used, as evident by Al’s high profile off-line activities such as talk show appearances, movies, and books to name a few.
With Al’s acclaimed global success for his work on climate change, it would be unclear if any improvement regarding his use of social media would lead to improvement in the bigger picture. Why make this point? Because after reviewing his social media usage, it becomes evident that social media is mainly being used as a support role for his off-line activities. Because of this and other factors discussed below, his social media use, in my view, is ineffective.
Al uses twitter, google plus, YouTube, Facebook and his website (Gore 2017). Given the global reach of these social media channels, they can be extensively leveraged. Barack Obama, Katy Perry, Coke Cola and Bernie Sanders are a few examples of people who influence vast audiences via social media. (Iacobucci 2013, p.172).
Other factors that contribute to Al’s low social media effectiveness level are: –
- A low number of followers – With twitter, he has only 3.2 million followers compared to Katy Perry’s 103 million follwers. A similar story with Facebook, as Shakira’s hips obviously don’t lie with her having over 100 million followers, whilst Al Gore has only 540,000 followers (Reagan 2017).
- No two-way conversations – He is not engaging his followers.
- Far too much repetition – The messages are often repeated day after day.
- Doesn’t leverage the distinctiveness of each social media channel – each social media channel has its own distinctiveness and core followers.
- Little use of engagement with products – Products (Advertisers) are highly sensitive to social media and industry engagement can occur via social media trends.
- Little origination of content – highly effective social media create their own content and stories have proven to be highly effective in engaging followers.
- The great man trap – There is a danger of having too much exposure of Al.
But all is not bad in Al Gore’s world of social media as there are positives. He positions himself as a brand (Iacobucci 2013, p. 173), with brand qualities such as authentic, passionate, positive and quality and he ensures that messages are consistent and are fully aligned to the aim of tackling climate change. This supports his crusade of championing climate change as being highly credible and authentic.
His messages are easy to understand and he only uses high-quality relevant imagines and short form videos. His use of metaphors and literary devices are extensive and highly effective (Chaffe 2015, p.361) such as ‘Al is hotting up’ (algore.com). Any reposts he uses are only from other sources of high reputation such as the New York Post.
In summary, his use of social media could be significantly improved.