“More tweets were sent during the first two days Republicans gathered in Tampa this week than in the entire 2008 election campaign,” according to chron.com. Yes, social media is abuzz these days in southern Florida. If it’s good enough for the GOP, and the Dems next week in Atlanta, it’s definitely a medium good enough for the rest of us.
Katie Harbath, Facebook’s chief liaison with political campaigns, says “Romney’s digital team deserves credit for its high level of engagement with its core audience. You’ve got to have good content that’s compelling,” she said. “The Romney campaign does a great job with this.”
Google spokeswoman, Samantha Smith, says the goal for Republican and Democratic conventions is for online connection between candidates and voters. “Even when they’re watching the conventions [on TV], voters are usually doing so with their mobile device in their hand or their laptop within reach,” she said.
However, connection is one thing but what really matters is engagement. “It really doesn’t matter how many people you have following you,” said Zac Moffatt, digital director of the Romney campaign. “It’s how many people you engage.” A candidate can boast about their “likes” or followers but are they “buying in” to the candidate?
According to chron.com, “Moffatt dismisses such numbers as ‘vanity metrics’ and says his campaign has been more effective at using social media to shape the campaign debate. As evidence, he points to the ongoing effort to embarrass President Obama after his ‘you didn’t build this’ comment about American business. The story generated little buzz in the mainstream media, Moffatt said, but Romney supporters ‘kept a narrative going that wouldn’t have happened without social media.’”
So how does this translate to doing business? When companies engage social media for their day to day business the hub bub usually surrounds the numbers. Social media specialists are now saying the numbers really don’t matter unless the people are paying attention to your product or service. It’s the quantity versus quality issue.
Kipp Bodnar, an inbound marketing strategist at HubSpot and the author, along with Jeffrey Cohen, of The B2B Social Media Book, says the companies need to ask some very key questions:
“Am I creating content at a consistent frequency that works for my business and is the content that I’m publishing…interesting to my audience? Are people actually finding it? Are people actually reading it?” Kipp says we should be focusing on “educating, entertaining, and informing my target audience, and in doing so I’m going to be able to convert a portion of those people into customers.”
The official GOP hashtag is #GOP2012; the Democratic hashtag is #DNC2012.
So what do you think about this all? How much will social media play a role in this election compared to those in the past?