Whether you voted for President Barack Obama or former Governor Mitt Romney yesterday, we can all take a page out of the candidates’ social marketing books. Let’s take a look at some of the social media and SEO practices used by both candidates.
Obama’s 2012 Social Media Strategy.
Right off the bat, Obama retained the social media advantage he claimed back in the 2008 campaign. A Yahoo! Finance report showed that as of Nov. 1, Obama garnered 21.5 million Twitter followers over Romney’s 1.6 million, as well as besting Romney’s 11.6 million Facebook fans with his 31.6 million. Obama’s “Four more years” tweet after winning the election was even named the most retweeted of all time by both Mediabistro and BuzzFeed, with 510,000 retweets and counting at the time of its posting.
Yahoo! pointed out that this discrepancy can be attributed to the demographic of social media platforms. For example, of the 500 million Facebook users in 2008, 64% fell in the $26,000-$75,000 income range, while the president “has built his campaign on rebuilding and investing in the middle class.” Similarly, the report showed that the most active users on Twitter landed in the 18-29 demographic age range, while exit polls from the New York Times in 2008 reported that 66% of voters in that same age range voted for Obama. It looks like Obama knew who his audience was.
Mashable noted that Obama’s team even created an interactive timeline for a fictitious user called “Life of Julia” to show what life would be like under Obama’s policies as opposed to Romney’s. In addition, Obama participated in an online chat with Reddit users and in August his team released a voter engagement app that synchronized with Facebook, Twitter, SMS, email and the campaign’s Dashboard web app. This meant that “organizers, voters and volunteers could fully engage with the campaign,” Mashable wrote.
Obama also topped Romney in SEO.
Beyond social, Obama’s team also capitalized on SEO. According to SEO Vote 2012, on average, Obama’s cost-per-click was $1.15 while Romney spent $1.32 per visitor. However, as of Nov. 7 Obama had spent about $11,000 more on Google’s Adwords despite paying less per visitor to his site. Yahoo! surmised that this can likely be attributed to more people clicking on Obama’s ads than Romney’s–shown by Obama’s sharp rise from 3 million unique visitors to 8 million between April and August 2012. This can be compared to Romney’s peak at slightly above 3.5 million visitors in August.
Tyler Collins from Orange County SEO explained to Yahoo! that, “Links from third party websites serve as ‘votes’ in the eyes of the search engines. The more links (or votes) a website has, the more authority is assumed, therefore resulting in higher rankings in the search results pages. As indicated in the SEO Vote 2012 data, President Obama’s website has 144,655 links pointing to it, while Governor Romney’s website has 27,372. We often see a direct correlation between larger numbers of links to a website and higher rankings in the search engines.”
Don’t forget social marketing brand consistency.
Yahoo! also pointed out that while Obama’s 2012 “Forward” slogan didn’t create the same vision as 2008’s “Change” or “Hope,” his team still succeeded in creating a consistency imperative to any successful campaign, be it presidential or business. The key, the president of the design division of at Sterling Brands, Debbie Millman noted is positioning. Great brands “know who their target market is … and they know if they’re successful in reaching that market, that people will aspire to be in that market, too,” she said.
Romney’s 2012 social media strategy.
While Obama undeniably dominated the social marketing scene in 2008, come 2012 Romney’s digital team upped the ante. Targeted Vector, the same interactive advertising agency behind FedEx, released the VP app for iPhone and Android users, which directly shared with users his Paul Ryan pick. Mashable added that the Romney camp also rolled out the Mitt Events app, which helped users find and RSVP to nearby Romney-Ryan 2012 campaign events, as well as invite other supporters, check in at campaign events and access event news and live Twitter and photo streams.
Yahoo! wrote that voters “want the experience, not just the expression. Candidates need to find ways to not only engage potential voters, but to use them to help round up more support. Candidates need to remember that product still matters and need to consistently offer on-brand experiences.”
Who do you think utilized social media best in the 2012 presidential campaign?