2008 was a watershed year for social media in politics. Four years later, Facebook and Twitter have become essential tools for activating young people, mobilizing grassroots volunteers, building a wide fundraising base, connecting with voters and rallying supporters. Track Social’s real time data-tracking has been following the ups and downs of the 2012 campaign on social media in an effort to project winners for three Track Social Pillars- Audience, Engagement and Buzz. Here’s what the data reveals about how well Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are using Facebook and Twitter to connect with voters.
Audience – Winner Barack Obama
Audience is a measurement of the number of Fans/Followers of a candidate or brand.
When it comes to overall footprint, Barack Obama maintains a healthy lead over Mitt Romney. With a combined Facebook and Twitter audience of nearly 50 million to Romney’s 8.5 million, the President dominates.
Engagement – Winner Mitt Romney
Engagement measures the depth of conversation between a brand and Fans/Followers through metrics including Likes and Comments on posts.
Though the Obama campaign is far ahead in shear audience numbers, when it comes to generating Engagement, Romney’s campaign has consistently outpaced his opponent. Over the last month, Facebook users have posted about 18,820 Comments and 398,458 Likes on the Republican Nominee’s Facebook posts per day, compared to 15,692 Comments and 294,927 Likes on the President’s posts.
To add some contextual color on the strength of both campaigns, the campaigns are each far ahead of the global averages of 31.2 Comments and 541 Likes per day. Both candidates have been accruing as many as 40,000 Comments and 1 million+ Likes per day in response to campaign-initiated posts.
Buzz – Too Close to Call
Buzz is the measurement of the amount of conversation across social media about a candidate or brand.
When it comes to Buzz on Facebook, the candidates are neck-and-neck, regularly swapping the lead on key metrics. If we isolate Twitter Buzz, the Romney campaign is ahead slightly for mentions and Twitter lists. Obama pulls ahead for ReTweets.
The much discussed convention bump doesn’t just apply to favorability ratings – it also meant a boost in Twitter Buzz. Buzz about the President skyrocketed over the course of the three-day convention peaking September 6th more than 400% above pre-convention numbers. Romney’s RNC bump wasn’t far behind peaking during the convention at 385% above the month prior.
Final Predictions – Leaning Obama, But Still Too Close to Call
The President has always been a social media trendsetter, racking up huge Audience over the last four years. However, the surprise of this political season is Governor Romney’s impressive performance driving Engagement. With Buzz still a horse race, the overall winner for social media can’t be called until the final numbers are in November 6th. In a tight election, quality may well out weigh quantity and Romney’s Engagement edge could push him over the top in key battleground states like Ohio and Florida. However, no matter how avid Romney supporters are, they may simply be drowned out the massive megaphone the Obama campaign has built through an audience 50 million strong. Be sure to follow the election ups and downs by registering at Track Social.
To learn more about Track Social’s Social Media Pillars as well as 10 Keys to Optimizing Facebook Engagement, download the latest whitepaper here.