Thursday, November 15, 2012

Did Obama's Social Media Success Help Him Win?

Before Barack Obama won the Presidency, he trounced Mitt Romney in social media -- at least in terms of Twitter followers, Facebook likes and YouTube fans. A number of stories, from the TV news to the "Direct Marketing News" magazine, tallied the social score pre-election: On Twitter, Obama had 21.5 million followers to Romney's 1.6 million. On Facebook, Obama had 31.6 million likes, while Romney garnered just 11.6 million. Obama's YouTube channel had 254,000 subscribers, with Romney reaching a mere 27,000. Similarly, Obama's Instagram feed had 1.5 million followers, while Romney attracted only 68,000. Did Obama's social margin translate into a vote margin? No ruling on that as yet. But to put Obama's social victory in perspective, it was one piece of an expensive multi-channel campaign that included micro-targeted online ads and, of course, television, and his social reach tapped a relatively small segment of voters: A recent Pew Research Center survey found that social media networks are a regular news source for just 17% of the population. For a good discussion of social media in the recent Presidential race, see the Channel 4 story at

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