Mitt Romney’s former rivals need to step up their online support

Gut Check Time.

With Mitt Romney’s win Tuesday night in the Texas GOP Primary, the candidate has achieved the magic number of delegates to make him the party’s nominee for president.  None of this should come as a surprise to those of us who have been monitoring the primary season with all its twists and turns.

When Newt, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul dropped back, Romney’s path to the nomination was a relatively easy trot to the finish. Winning the nomination of the party isn’t truly the top prize in this race.  All the debate drama and internal squabbling will surely disappear on election night should Mitt Romney win the presidency.

While many continue to cite polls and surveys that indicate that the race will be one of the closest in our history, the news within the social media landscape couldn’t be more disparate from these market studies. 

As of Wednesday, Mitt Romney has amassed a total of 1,791,263 Facebook Likes and 521,344 Twitter Followers. The president’s team has done a masterful job of leveraging interactive and social media ; creating an army of over 26,769,218 Facebook Likes and over 16 million Twitter followers. 

In simple math, Barack Obama has 15 times the number of Facebook Likes and over 30 times the number of Twitter followers than Romney.  While there are some who continue to dispel this data and who harbor a belief that Facebook and Twitter communities are a non-issue — i.e. ”they don’t vote” — nothing could be further from the truth.

President Obama and his campaign team have built an incredible communications platform that allows them the ability to cost efficiently broadcast their message to an amazingly large group of influential constituents.  The GOP and Mitt Romney’s folks seem at a loss to wage anything close to a strategy to slow down the meteoric rise of the President online and infuse their strategy with a much needed jolt.  Despite the fact that most folks aren’t tuning in to the latest crop of 30 second attack ads, the GOP and Mitt Romney’s campaign continues to spend millions of dollars producing them. It’s clear that TV is an addictive campaign drug. While there is a momentary satisfaction and euphoria involved, the lasting effects are minimal and result in a constant need to inject more in order to achieve the same level of “high”. As with all drugs, we know that dependency on this false state of mind ultimately destroys any chance for success.

While the sound bites around the GOP standard bearers resonate in unison, I find that after all of the politicking and speech making, there is really no solid plan to leverage the power that a truly united GOP could bring to supporting Mitt Romney’s bid to make Barack Obama a one-term President. In taking a lap around the  Facebook pages of many great GOP brands, here’s what I found:

Rick Santorum — Rick’s got a respectable 187,790 Facebook Likes. While he has posted a congratulatory message to Mitt Romney on his site, there is no real sense that Santorum is doing anything substantial to move his support to Romney. Most of the content is stale and dated.

Ron Paul – Ron continues to maintain a couple of Facebook sites and has more than 1.2 Million Facebook Likes. Ron hasn’t done anything on his site that would indicate that he is supporting Romney for President. Most of the information is old.

Newt Gingrich – Newt sits at 294,000 Facebook Likes and is steadfast in his attacks against the policies of the president.  There is no outward support within his posts for Romney; the only indicator is a paid link by the “Join Mitt Romney” campaign on this and other sites, which actually links to Orrin Hatch’s page.

Michele Bachmann — Michele’s endorsement of Mitt Romney has been buried on her page in the days since she first made it May 3rd. Since then, there is no ringing endorsement and sustaining support of the GOP nominee. The site seems like it is frozen in time.

Jon Huntsman – Jon’s site never really got ramped up and is still sitting with 37,312 Facebook Likes – his site doesn’t look like it has been refreshed since he dropped out of the race.

Rick Perry — With Rick’s 177,908 Facebook Likes, Rick sends along his congrats to Mitt on winning the primary battle. Here again, the support is virtually non- existent. Most of the posts are focused on local Texas activities.

Chris Christie –The Governor of New Jersey has almost 59,000 Facebook likes and was outspoken in his support of Romney early on. However, his site is more Christie-focused. Mitt’s not gaining a lot from the Christie site for sure.

Marco Rubio — The Florida senator and the social media pick for VP slot has more than 261,347 Facebook Likes and is doing the best job of consistently attacking the “failed policies and promises of the current administration. While he does demonstrate support for Romney, it’s not as aggressive as it should be — especially in a tight race.

Seems that somewhere along the path to the presidency, the GOP misplaced the strategy demo that provided instruction on how to support Candidate Mitt Romney online. Could it be that all that has been provided by his fellow Republicans in their endorsements is a bit of lip service to the party; a veiled effort to present a unified front to those who would think otherwise? If what has been demonstrated online thus far by all of these folks is any indication for the support in the fall, Mitt and the GOP are looking at four more years of Barack Obama.

It’s time that everyone who wants to see true change come to Washington in November got on the same Facebook page.  It’s time that the Romney campaign provided chapter and verse on what should be done tactically to show unwavering support for the nominee of the party. To do anything less brings great hypocrisy to a party whose “primary” candidates spent millions of donor dollars trying to make us believe that the reelection of Barack Obama would be devastating for our country. 

And what of Sarah Palin who could be the real X factor online? Palin sits with more than 3.3 million Facebook Likes. Her site has absolutely no mention of Mitt Romney within its posts.  It’s not enough for everyone in the party to knock Barack Obama. Those attacks without a massive effort to harness the collective universe of Facebook followers online in support of Mitt Romney are wasted breath.

It’s gut check time for the GOP.  Time to meet muscle with muscle. Time to get everyone truly behind the nominee in a concerted, coordinated and integrated tactical plan to build a monster community of supporter and evangelists.

The litmus test is about to be given to all those who in their stump speeches, primary debates and television interviews proclaimed the dire need for change in the White House. It’s time that the GOP and the campaign staffs all got together and showed some real understanding of how to build and execute  this online  tactical plan quickly.

As wacky as it may sounds, it’s time to park personal agendas and your egos at the door and for the sake of the party and country come together in a meaningful and tactical way to win in November. We will continue to monitor much more than the rhetoric moving forward; It is the execution and tactics that will tell the tale of success or failure.

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