Fri Nov 16, 2012, 09:53 PM
applegrove (65,042 posts)
"Social and Anti-Social Media" By RICHARD PARKER at the NY Times
Social and Anti-Social Media
By RICHARD PARKER at the NY Times
But the Obama effort in 2008 built more than buzz; it created conversions, according to academic research performed by Jennifer Aaker, a business professor at Stanford, along with researcher Victoria Chang. The campaign built 5 million supporters on social networks, had 2.5 million followers on Facebook, and 50 million viewers watched 14 million hours of video on YouTube, which was then pretty new. This translated into huge offline results: 230,000 events and $639 million raised from 3 million donors. On Election Day, every supporter with a mobile phone number the Obama campaign had in its database got three text message reminders to vote. Obama won by more than 8 million votes.
Of course, an exhaustive study of Obama’s social media in 2012 has not yet been conducted — it’s only a matter of time — but the initial reporting indicates a similar performance. The president’s team, with the head-start of a huge database of supporters, just out-muscled Romney’s campaign. By September 2012, Obama’s Facebook page had 1.2 million likes — while Romney’s had just half as much, according to Inc.’s Meaghan Ouimet. Obama had twice as many YouTube likes, comments and views as Romney —and easily 20 times as many re-tweets as the Republican nominee. Interestingly, the Obama campaign has not yet been all that eager to share its social media victory strategy, though Pro Publica is busy trying to crack the story.
The difference in content and effort created results. Women for Obama, run by the Obama team on Facebook, created a story line mixing text and graphics: It was about the rights of women, their desire to control their own health care and their voting power. Only when that narrative was engaging users did the Obama campaign make the ask, getting them to donate, call or vote. “We Vote, We Decide” was posted right before the election and the page had 1.3 million likes. On the other hand, Moms for Mitt, run by the Romney campaign, had less thematic construction, featuring photos of volunteers, images of Romney and his running mate, and posts urging the “moms” to vote or make calls. It netted just 93,000 likes.
Generally speaking, social media has not proven itself able to change someone’s mind as much as it is capable of putting together communities of like-minded people. We don’t know the correlation of “liking,” say, on Facebook with voting behavior. But putting people together who are like-minded allows them to take other actions: to reach out to more friends online or to join old-school telephone drives and events and also to take more committed actions, like raising money. Obama raised $147 million from small donors who chipped in $200 or less, nearly three-and-a-half times as much as Romney. The barrage of constant e-mails from both campaigns also likely didn’t change minds. It was just the kind of consistency — however irritating — that reminded people to donate and then to vote
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