While the media pundits have been chirping about Romney vs. Obama II and the fact that the president was more ???awake??? and engaged in the second debate, all of this newfound enthusiasm doesn???t seem to be having any real dramatic effect, especially in the social media world.
In fact from what we are seeing online, it may be the president that is limping his way to the finish line while his adversary is catching his second wind. While the stakes are high in Monday night???s debate, my sense is that there is a potential for a technical knockout by Romney based on the latest social media data. Let???s take a look at online movement since last week???s debate
President Obama ??? 31,037,230 Up 170,738 ??? 3.0 million talking & engaged ??? up 400,000
Mitt Romney ??? 9,972,998 up 561,668 ??? 2.9 million talking and engaged ??? up 300,000
Paul Ryan ??? 4,825,100 up 112,806 ??? 1.9 million talking and engaged up 300,000
Joe Biden ??? 467,749 up 8,399 - 540,681 talking & engaged ??? down 120,125
Mitt Romney continues to lag significantly behind the president and there is absolutely no chance that he will take him in terms of overall Likes. However, the more interesting trend here is what is happening in recent days: Romney and Ryan combined have generated nearly 800,000 new likes since the last debate while the Obama/Biden ticket has barely raised their number by 200,000.
The Republicans have generated more than four times the volume of Facebook Likes in last five days. Interesting as well is the data on the ???engaged??? social media component, where the Romney-Ryan combo has increased their total by 600,000 and the president & VP have a net increase of 280,000. It appears that the net effect of the Biden-Ryan debate is a huge positive for Ryan and a negative for VP Biden as 120,000 fewer in his base are engaged and/or talking about him.
President Holds Twitter Advantage
President Obama still holds a commanding lead on Twitter - currently up 172,512 from last week with a total of 21,085,275 followers. From a focus standpoint it appears that the Romney camp doesn???t believe that Twitter will be a significant factor in garnering a social media base.
Romney is up 65,566 Twitter followers during this same period with a current follower total of 1,488,566. No doubt during tonight???s debate, both camps will be highly active on Twitter framing their candidate???s position in order to build momentum in real time on Twitter.
The team out in Chicago has really done an excellent job of keeping followers informed and entertained with their non-stop tweeting strategy. Neither Paul Ryan ( 458,240) nor VP Joe Biden (268,040 ) are really a factor in helping or hurting the top of either ticket.
Mitt Romney continues to gain in the all-important engagement metrics on Facebook. More than 28 percent of Romney???s loyal followers are actively engaged in their connection to the candidate. While the president has nearly three times the number of Likes (31 million vs 10 million), Only 9.8 percent of this much larger base is actively involved with his Facebook connection. In fact, despite this 20 million differential, Romney only lags the President by 233,778 engaged followers. As the election draws near, more data continues to surface regarding the importance of ???likely??? voters. Like so many polls that continue to indicate a tight race between the two candidates, our look at active and engaged social media constituents is pointing in the same direction. We continue to see indications in this key audience segment of growing momentum for Romney despite the large base established by President Obama early in the race.
Tonight???s final debate could provide the Romney-Ryan ticket with the ability to land a technical knockout in the battle for the hearts, minds and votes of the social media voter segment. Romney needs to continue to seize the moment and incent his social media base to become more active, engaged and passionate about his candidacy. In doing so, this group can light up the Internet with their own ground game focused on reaching and engaging as many online voters as possible with the core message and urgency to get out the vote.
Al???s recommendation to Romney-Ryan
My recommendation in these final days would be to stop all direct mail and random digit dialing. The interactive tool kit can be an incredible weapon because of its ability to target, engage and monitor the connection between message and prospective voter.
The dissatisfaction around what is perceived as ???negative TV political campaigns??? is palpable in many markets. As a viewer, these ads border on monotony. Now is the time for the team at Romney-Ryan to have a special focus on swing state voters and reaching them effectively via email and the social web. I continue to believe that the team is ???missing it??? in terms of its use of email marketing. All of the emails that I receive regardless of the ???sender??? lack any real power or enthusiasm. Team Romney should have brought in the right team to create incredibly powerful email messages a long time ago. There is still time to create impactful messages leveraging email marketing. What has been sent thus far is amateurish and is not truly leveraging the amazing power that this channel can deliver for the campaign
This can be corrected quickly. (If you need help let me know!)
Huge opportunity online in the home stretch
In a very tight race, every moment counts. On Monday evening, Mitt Romney will have the final opportunity to show the dramatic differences between his leadership and that of President Obama. There continues to be a huge opportunity to use this broadcast platform as a springboard to the final laps of this race. If the Republicans sharpen their messaging and focus attention on states and tactics that are efficient and effective (social media and email) they may well motivate the most active and engaged social media members to demonstrate their interest level in seeing change at the voting booth.
As Mitt Romney and many other republicans have stated at the beginning of this race for the White House many months ago, the stakes in this election are incredibly important. This election will determine whether we change our direction and rise above the global challenges we face at home and abroad or continue on a path towards weakness. Republicans need to unite and get focused on leveraging the tools and tactics that are a mission critical component of effective marketing in 2012 and beyond.