Pew Research's Internet and American Life Project's most recent "Social Media Update" tells us that 73% of online adults are now using social media and Facebook is the dominant network. We've all heard the data on Facebook usage: 802 million daily active users globally and 1.28 billion users logging in at least once a month.
That is a lot of people.
BIPAC is running an ad campaign on Facebook to influence American potential voters with our pro-prosperity message. Our ad targets approximately 175 million Americans who are 18+ on Facebook.
That is a lot of potential voters.
You can't say something about Facebook and an organization's social strategy these days, without quickly following it up with Twitter. 500 million tweets are sent each and every day, on average, by Twitter's 255 million users who log in at least once a month. That is 5,787 tweets a second. Not all of them are about kittens and pop music. Politics is one of the trending topics across Twitter.
23% of Twitter users are American, which is about 58.7 million people (or about 1/3 of the reach of Facebook). Still a lot of people. Especially if you consider that in the last midterm elections, in 2010, 90.7 million ballots were counted across the United States. So a candidate or political organization can reach a large percentage of potential voters by pushing content across social media, listening to potential voters, being responsive to constituents and potential voters online, presenting geo-targeted and personalized ads, and creating their own narrative by being self-publishers. It is more than a 21st century direct mail program because it is a two-way form of communication.
Similar to what BIPAC is doing on Facebook, we are also presenting ads on Twitter with a goal to influence potential 18+ voters. But an ad strategy is far from a social strategy. A true social strategy is based on content, listening to your audience, a sharing strategy, and participating in broader topical conversations. The root is "social" for a reason...
I use our online political advocacy work purely to set the stage for what we are seeing with a lot of creative digital campaign work by the BIPAC Action Fund's endorsed candidates. And in this blog post, I wanted to share with you some data from what we've seen in the primaries and what we expect in the general.
Of all online adults, the following approximate demographics are on Facebook and Twitter (according to the aforementioned Pew study's sample size):
The power of social media and real-time reporting additionally provides organizations like ours and yours with intelligence that wasn't easily attainable 10 years ago about how candidates are reaching these voting blocks.
Comparing how many followers Candidate A has compared to Candidate B doesn't really tell us much. But comparing and contrasting how "influential" Campaign A is compared to Campaign B is across all of social media tells us a great deal of information about how they are connecting with potential voters.
Case-in-point, Eric Cantor's campaign primary channels on social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) had 404,901 followers as of this past weekend. Dave Brat's had 22,744. Brat won the primary with 36,110 votes as compared to Eric Cantor's 28,898 votes. The gap of 404.9k to 22.7k shrinks considerably after the vote if you ask yourself how many of the 400k-plus live in Virginia's 7th district (NOTE - the district has a total population of 758k) v how many live elsewhere. It is the difference between data and intelligence. What I find more telling is how influential those channels are across social media. That provides a better litmus test of how well they are being received in their district/state as-well-as across the broader political spectrum. Cantor's campaign channels scored a 73/100 on Klout while Brat's scored a 70/100. Both strong numbers. And pretty much identical. This is telling. The campaigns online influence was essentially equal as of our pulling of the data on Klout.com. And we all know who outspent who and by how much. Again, an ad strategy is not a content strategy. Content and the message is king - and as BIPAC preaches, the messenger and the trust that they have with the potential audience is critically important.
A second piece of intelligence we can glean from social media is looking at the sentiment of the conversation revolving around a candidate online. Let's look at the Mississippi Senate Runoff - for instance. Thad Cochran won the runoff. And a lot is being said about it in media. Unfortunately, not a lot is being said about our industry's efforts to Get Out the Vote. It wasn't just Democrats voting in a Republican primary... But I'll leave that kind of analysis up to BIPAC's Political Affairs department. What, I will add to the storyline is that for every one negative thing said about the BIPAC endorsed Thad Cochran on social media over the last 30 days, there have been 28 positive or neutral things said about the senior Mississippi Senator (according to SocialMention.com data). Like the VA-07 example, McDaniel had about 14k more followers on social media than Cochran but they were pretty much equally influential across social media. And this 28:1 favorability of all dialogue on social media tells us a great deal. Any brand would want that. The sentiment around the "Chris McDaniel" brand was 13:1 favorable.
I've prepared some data on each of the BIPAC U.S. Senate endorsed candidates below. It looks at their following and how influential they are on social media. It also compares that against their primary challenger (if one existed or if it was a crowded field, I choose the individual who received the second most votes) and their general opponent. Lastly it looks at how many votes they received in the primary.