by Todd Bailey
With the inevitable GOP nod going to Mitt Romney, now that former PA Senator Rick Santorum has dropped out of the race, it is mission critical for Romney to get his Social Media act together. A conflicting, and sometimes confrontational, social voice as well as the limited social reach he currently maintains are just a few of the inadequacies the campaign needs to address.
Since Obama re-wrote the books on campaigning in 2008 with his extremely successful Social Media campaign - capturing 66% of voters 29 years of age and younger using his ability to leverage social media and organize local events, as well as volunteers, garnered unprecedented numbers of engagement and followers. Social Media has become an integral part of any candidates chances at being elected.
Goals of Social Media in Political Campaigns
- Share Ideas & Messages - accomplishments and Behind the Scenes
- Engage Followers - respond DIRECT to followers and ask for input or Q&As from voters
- Convert followers into volunteers - Having them engage by location and spread the word
- Remarketing your conversions to share/retweet the candidates message expands its social reach and is in itself a personalized endorsement
Be Careful of the Voice
The election is quite different now that it is evident that Romney will get the nod, so the Romney campaign really needs to polish up it's message and positions and begin to publish them more frequently and with clarity.
Discovering your social voice is important in gaining followers and having those followers willing to share your content messaging and overall goals. Personal attacks and siting downsides of opponents is only targeting a segment of your audience and most users are not receptive to these online mentions.
Social Media is an amplification of sound bites that can be used by an opponent, the media and the general public. As important as Romney's messaging and social voice is, equally as important (if not more important) is the voice of what other people are saying about the candidate. Currently Romney's immediate social network is 1/25th that of President Obamas:
- Romney - 1.5 million Fans
- President Obama - 25 million Fans
- Romney - 400k followers
- President Obama - 13 million followers
Note: Keep in mind; in 2008 Facebook had just 100 million users compared to 800 million users in 2012
We expect Romney's social numbers to dramatically increase as we come closer to the convention and general election.
So What's New for Social Campaigning?
- Ann Romney's growing Pinterest profile has become a great experiment on a new social platform at targeting the female demographic
- Continued E-Mail blasts and viral videos will be apart of campaigns
- QR Codes on campaign literature, signs and other political advertisements
- Direct partnerships with social platforms as President Obama recently announced a Live Town Hall with Facebook and other partnerships with Twitter
Expect to see Romney shift his messaging on social platforms to solidify his voice and attract followers and fans from other GOP candidates that have dropped out. Without the important social votes Romney stands little chance of penetrating President Obama's influence in the young vote. Without a larger audience in the social arena the Romney campaign can not garner the traction required and will need to rely on his bank account for traditional media buys.
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