Social Media Fosters Dialog in Election Campaigns
The votes are in and social media has emerged as the winner of the 2012 U.S. Presidential election.
This election displayed an unprecedented use of social media as a tactical tool in reaching a multitude of audiences and potential voters. Analysts and news stations incorporated reports of social media sentiment as part of their pre-election forecasts as never seen before. The “Get Out The Vote” culture inspired a new breed of socially motivated peer pressure. But at the end of the day, what role did social media play in the final outcome?
Comparing The Candidates
In a comparison between Barack Obama’s social networking and Mitt Romney’s, there are many takeaways that can be learned and applied throughout your brand’s social media marketing program.
|Barack Obama Social Media
||Mitt Romney Social Media|
|Klout Score: 99||Klout Score: 92|
|Klout Score is a number between one and 100, and is a representation of your overall social media influence based upon engagement and reach.|
A study from The Pew Research Center found that the candidates did a great job broadcasting their messages within social media, but it questioned the real extent of their engagement.
Explore New Social Media Ground
The study leaned favorably towards Barack Obama’s ability to organically create trending topics, through unexpected social media appearances. His spontaneous one-hour chat on Reddit generated Obama almost 1.9 million views and more than 24,000 comments alone.
On the flip side, Romney opted to purchase some pre-packaged buzz by paying an estimated $120,000 for a sponsored hashtag from Twitter reading #RomneyRyan2012. His was the first political campaign ever to do so.
|Twitter Followers: 21,299,651||Twitter Followers: 1,569,127|
|Following: 671,342||Following: 274|
|Tweets per day: 17.6 tpd||Tweets per day: 1.8 tpd|
|Facebook Page Likes: 31,234,881||Facebook Page Likes: 10,460,025|
|Follower Age Group: 18-24||Follower Age Group: 35-54|
|Posts per day: 3-4||Posts per day: 2-3|
|C Score (conversation score): 59||C Score (conversation score): 60|
|C Score studies the recent activity on a Facebook Page including posting habits, likes, comments, shares etc.|
|*as of 10/22/12|
Be Where Your Audience Is
Everyday social media opens doors for companies, non-profits and now political candidates to reach audiences in a way they never have before. The first presidential debate on October 3rd, spurred a mind-blowing 10.5 million debate-related tweets. It was the most tweeted event in U.S. history.
Before the Internet, TV and radio were the most powerful tools for spreading your message to the masses and that has not changed… yet. 80% of all campaign advertising is still being spent on TV and radio ads. Except now those ads include follow us @, hashtags and Facebook addresses.
Social Media As Part Of The Bigger Picture
This constant and ongoing social chatter has brought us into a new frontier of voter sampling. It bridges the gap between outbound marketing (TV, radio, billboards…) and inbound marketing (Youtube, blogs, email, seo…).
By incorporating social media into the scheme of their overall campaign strategy, both Romney and Obama were granted real-time access to the underlying heartbeat of public sentiment. What set them apart was how they chose to use this entry.
In the end, Romney lacked the social saturation that Obama was able to achieve. Obama’s Twitter following is 13x greater then Romney’s and his Facebook fans exceed Romney’s by 20 million.
Can an election be won using social media alone? Probably not, but nowadays, running a political campaign without using social media is almost a guaranteed loss.
Whatever your political affiliation, you can take these 3 social media tips away from this past election:
- Explore New Social Media Ground – Just as Obama hit gold with Reddit, take the time to explore new ground in the social media landscape.
- Be Where Your Audience Is – Social media was a priority this election for both candidates because that is where the voters were. Take the time to find your audience and engage.
- Social Media As Part Of The Bigger Picture – Your social media strategy needs to be part of an overall marketing plan.
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