Our Competitive Edge reports help marketers and business owners see who’s earning the most social media engagement – them or their competitors. The report also helps marketers get new ideas from comparing successful, engaging posts with unsuccessful ones.
We thought it would be fun to try running the Competitive Edge for politicians competing in the 2012 election. We’ve compared the social medial following and engagement earned by Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. Check out our report for the week of August 30-September 5, 2012.
What does this report tell us?
1. Early morning posts do well for B2B – and presidential candidates, too.
The Competitive Edge shows the time of each post (Pacific Time), rounded to the nearest hour. Posting in the early morning is often recommended for B2B companies, and we can see here that many of the candidates’ most engaging posts were posted between midnight and 4am PST.
Out of the most engaging three tweets from each candidate, 75 percent were early morning posts. The other top tweets were posted at 2pm PST, and two at 8pm PST (which is pretty early in the morning on the East Coast).
Of the top 3 Facebook posts from each candidate, I would define seven or ~58% as early morning (counting the 9pm and 11pm PST posts) and five as during the day (from 1pm to 5pm PST).
Romney’s most engaging Facebook posts include a clear call to action: “Stand with Mitt. ‘Like’ and share to help us get to 6 million Likes!” At the time we generated this Competitive Edge report, nearly 810,000 people had liked that post, and nearly 23,000 people had shared it on their own Timelines, making it show up in the Newsfeeds of many of their friends. That’s great amplification, and helps spread Romney’s message more widely.
Let’s give it a shot: Would you like to tweet this point?
3. Photos do really well on Facebook.
The three most engaging posts from each presidential and VP candidate contained an image. In the Competitive Edge report, you can click on a specific Facebook post that shows an image icon and view the image (and the rest of the post, too).
Not convinced that photos ramp up the engagement level on Facebook? Just click to view all of the Facebook posts in the report (by clicking the “95 posts” bar in Romney’s column), and scroll down to see the least engaging posts. Romney put out several Facebook posts without images and – spoiler alert! – all of his non-photo posts received less engagement than his posts with photos.
4. Candidates that posted more often got more engagement and fans.
Of all the candidates, Mitt Romney posted the most on Facebook (95 times in one week) and Barack Obama posted the most on Twitter (263 tweets in one week). Guess who gained the most fans and got the most engagement on Facebook? Romney. And who got the most engagement on their tweets and gained the most new Twitter followers last week? You guessed it – Obama.
5. Twitter may skew more Democrat than Facebook.
Since Obama is the incumbent, it seems logical that he’d have more social media followers – after all, he’s had four years and lots of public exposure to help him build a following. It also seems logical that Obama would not be gaining new fans nearly as quickly as the Republican candidates, because they’re newer on the national political stage, and so they have some novelty value.
We’re guessing Facebook reflects the Democrat/Republican ratio of the nation, because it seems everyone is on Facebook - including my grandparents. So the numbers play out just as I would expect: At the time we created this report, Obama had 28 million fans and Romney had 6 million, but Romney gained 815,000 Facebook fans in the week of August 30 – September 5, compared to Obama’s gain of 228,000 fans.
On Twitter, Obama also has a lot more followers – 19 million compared to 1 million for Romney. But in this platform, Obama had a much greater gain in followers: 324,000 to Romney’s 97,000. I’m not quite sure what to make of this, honestly. Are Twitter users more likely to be liberal than the general U.S. population? I would also venture to say that following a candidate on Twitter is less of an endorsement or foreshadowed vote than liking a politician on Facebook, since I imagine many people follow the opposition just to keep tabs on them, or to add some drama to their lives.
If you have a theory on Twitter’s political demographics, I’d love to hear it in the comments.
6. Google+ still hasn’t quite caught on.
When I created this report, I could find Google+ profiles only for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama – no Joe Biden or Paul Ryan. Do the campaigns not have time to manage another social media outlet for their VP candidates? Do they not think Google+ is important? If you have any ideas about this, tell us in the comments section.
Paul Ryan already has more Facebook fans and Twitter followers than Joe Biden, and that’s likely an embarrassing fact for the Obama campaign. Because Biden’s had extra time to gain followers, he should really have more than Paul Ryan. The numbers may be telling us that Ryan gets more engagement because he’s a new player – his selection was just announced, while Biden’s been on the scene for four years – or that Biden is simply boring. What do you think? Again, tell us in the comments section below.
8. Romney may not have the crackest technical team. Our Competitive Edge reports show the social engagement on blog posts – how many people shared them on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. But we can only do this analysis for blogs with working RSS feeds, and Romney’s blog doesn’t have one.
Update: When we set up this Competitive Edge report, the blog on MittRomney.com wasn’t allowing our tool to collect data on its blog. See comments below for more info.
Do you think these social media numbers say anything about how the election will play out this November? We’d love to hear from you – tell us in the comments below.
Could your company use some help with social media, including a weekly Competitive Edge report? Fill out the form on AboutUs.com and we’ll give you a call to discuss how we can help.
This article was written by Kristina Weis, the Director of Marketing for AboutUs who also helps AboutUs clients with their social media and content marketing. Her personal blog is at KristinaWeis.com and she tweets at @KristinaWeis.