The importance of followers

April 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s been well documented: Social media success is a good predictor of election success.

Of course, Facebook itself was one of the first to report on this phenomenon in the wake of the 2010 elections:

“[An] initial snapshot of 98 House races shows that 74% of candidates with the most Facebook fans won their contests. In the Senate, our initial snapshot of 19 races shows that 81% of candidates with the most Facebook fans won their contests . . .

On Election Day, users over age 18 were able to click an “I Voted” button and post a story to their Facebook wall telling their friends that they voted. More than 12 million people clicked the “I Voted” button yesterday compared to about 5.4 million in 2008

(From The U.S. Politics on Facebook Page (Facebook.com/USpolitics))

In our experience with the U.S. Senate race between Republican Joe DioGuardi and Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand–we saw this effect play itself out. Gillibrand had well over twice as many followers on Facebook than DioGuardi and she won the race handily. She also had big time name recognition and support from established power brokers in her party like the Clintons. DioGuardi was a major underdog who, amazingly, had her down at times during the race. But her presence online and across media forums, as well as her fundraising prowess, were ultimately too tough to overcome in a blue state.

Twitter and Youtube views show similar patterns for “normal” races. By that we mean there are occasional races that don’t fit the mold, such as Harry Reid (15,ooo-odd fans on FB) defeating Sharon Angle (108,000 fans). Then again, Reid also had big time money and support coming from high places. However, most “normal” races have proven time and time again that the more your visibility and support across the social media channels–the better your chance to win. It’s really a no-brainer.

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