The social media strategy of La France Insoumise
Jean-Luc Melenchon is a presidential candidate who progressively had more and more influence. La France Insoumise (Unbowed France) is the name of the political group created by Jean Luc Melenchon. In 2012, Melenchon had 11.2% of the votes for the presidential election. In 2017, he has even more influence and might even reach the second round of voting.
I’ll try to analyze how La France Insoumise built a strong community on internet. What are their tools? What is their strategy?
Punchline culture and oral heritage
Melenchon is an excellent speaker, one who loves conflict and argument. He comes from a culture where constructive conflict is the basis of progress. From this culture also comes the nature of punch lines. He isn’t scared of voicing his opinions or taunting people. It also means that some people can see him as violent and offensive.
You have to know that Melenchon doesn’t write his speeches. You could think that writing a speech allow for better punchlines. When you improvise, you become bolder and impetuous. It’s a dangerous ground though. You can say undocumented opinions and facts like Trump does. Improvising allows for better punchline but also potential slip of the tongue.
This basis of punchline culture allow for great moments to be spread on the internet. The internet is full of punchlines and headlines. For instance, Melenchon made one of the first meetings with an hologram, on two different places. It’s a great PR move enabled by his likeness for innovation and risk taking. He was also remixed by Khaled Freak two times (Hypocrites, Ceux qui se Gavent). Those video both have 1.4 million views and were used in real life political marches.
In October 2016, Melenchon & his crew started a weekly political review called “La Revue De La Semaine”. It was kind of the first time a politician this important was making weekly content on a channel. From October until today, he stood up to the challenge. At some point, you could see he was very tired. But some of those weekly reviews allowed for great Public Relations moves.
This Youtube channel was also a great tool to keep his political followers updated. Every one of his public speaking can be seen on his channel for people who couldn’t attend real life events. For Melenchon, those 280 000+ followers on Youtube can be reached easier than with Facebook or Twitter.
Using Youtube in a clean, efficient way gave him a big advantage over his opponents. Youtube algorithm is really good to keep your followers up to date. But also to make people discover your content. Without paying for big ad agencies like the other, he could spread his political point of view. Other political candidates started doing the same thing but with weaker results.
50% of community work is organization. Organizing a national-scale promotion of a candidate is no small work. La France Insoumise was efficient in scheduling big events and creating initatives.
Discord is a service to create voice and text groups similar to Skype or Slack. An official France Insoumise Discord was created months ago. Right now, there are 15000 people on it and 3000 of them are very active.
Every TV program now has an official hashtag to follow the social feeds on Twitter. This Discord will be squatting every hashtag possible. Every candidate is doing this but it’s amazing to see synchronized efforts from the inside. They want to be here on every front possible and place their ideas in the mix.
Melenchon is historically from the far-left wing. He’s close to socialist and communist way of thinking, where people comes before business. His direct opponent is Marine Le Pen, from the far-right wing.
Those two communities are at war, with spies, sabotages and propaganda pictures. Even better than House of Cards.
Melenshack & Fan games
The supporters of La France Insoumise also started to make tools to promote their candidate and help organize their actions.
Someone made Melenshack, an online platform to upload pictures and memes about Melenchon. It’s a lot of work to build a tool like this. It became an important tool for the partisans of Melenchon who want to spread the word. Another example of how committed some people can be.
Another initiative was making viral free games to help with promotion in the press. Those free games, again, were made by fans of the political movement. It’s likely that there was no budget to make it.
Big up to online communities
The first time I really got interested in Melenchon was in November 2016. He gave his official support to the 18–25 forum of jeuxvideo.com. The 18–25 is a place full of trolls. Yet, a left-wing political candidate noticing and thanking an online gaming community was weird.
Several times, Melenchon spoke about his online communities on his video and TV appearances. He mentioned the Discord in one his latest TV appearances:
There is this group on Discord, what they’re doing is amazing. Change comes from the bottom and is capable of organizing itself. If I’m elected, I’ll still need those people. I won’t be able to do everything.
This is important.
A community grows if it’s validated by their leader. They have a specific goal: the presidential election. Being often reminded by their mentor that they have value and they’re known by him reinforces their partisanship. The more reinforced they are, the more they’re willing to convince other people with ideas.
Thanks for reading this. I wanted to provide some insights about an online political communication. What’s been amazing me the most is the consistency and energy those people put in communication. Obviously, there are many more initiatives I haven’t covered. They could very much be professional communication people. Maybe some of them are?