Back in the 2008 election, social media was a component of the campaign, but it was a relatively new component. Not many candidates knew how to utilize the Internet to their advantage, except for Barack Obama. In a 2008 New York Times article, it states:
“By using interactive Web 2.0 tools, Mr. Obama’s campaign changed the way politicians organize supporters, advertise to voters, defend against attacks and communicate with constituents.”
As another New York Times article pointed out, the Obama campaign really didn’t invent anything new, but instead merged together social networking applications to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns, and encourage people to get out and vote.
President Obama’s campaign utilized YouTube for free advertising. That same amount of video coverage through commercials on traditional TV would have cost $47 million. He is also the first President to start a website for his transition to the White House which was called Change.gov.
Here are some other things that the presence of the Internet has changed about political campaigns:
1. People can now more easily fact-check and watch past political speeches than they could before
2. Tools like Facebook allow candidates to communicate more directly with supporters
3. The Internet has become a tool to raise money
So how are the Internet and social media being used in the 2012 Presidential Election? One way is the rise of Mobile where it is estimated that over 80 million voters will access political information to help in their decision making process. This is a 200% increase from 2008. The mobile platform can be used to:
1. Support through apps – Mitt Romney has a barrage of mobile apps out this campaign season. One is an iPhone app that allows supporters to easily take photos at events and post the images to Facebook and Twitter. President Obama is using a Dashboard tool that acts as a virtual desk where supporters and volunteers can find ways to get involved in the campaign by geographical area. Another Obama campaign app supplies all kinds of information about what President Obama supports and how to register to vote.
2. Raise Funds – Both Presidential candidates are using SMS text messaging to accept donations to their campaign. While most of these donations are small amounts, small amounts can quickly add up when large numbers of people donate. Mobile also allows for the processing of credit cards at events. This seems to underscore the fact that the more convenient an organization can make giving, the higher rate of giving that follows.
3. Advertising – Romney has used ads on Facebook, Apple iAds, and Google Mobile platforms to get paid advertising out to prospective voters. President Obama has tried a more creative way of advertising through Electronic Arts (EA) games like Tetris and Scrabble, in addition to traditional electronic advertising like Google.
So, which candidate appears to be winning the social media war? Mashable also pondered this fact and investigated in this recent article. Each candidates campaign has an advantage in different areas. For instance, President Obama appears to Tweet more but Romney appears to use Facebook more often and his Facebook has grown faster since May 2012. Obama enjoys higher engagement from social media, but Romney’s content seems to go viral faster.
The conclusion though is that President Obama is probably winning the social media face-off, mostly due to the fact that he has had a four-year head start.
You are the winner when you keep up with social media news on Eric Wagner On-Line Marketing. Visit my site again – soon!