Republicans are going to have to
ratchet up their social media presence if they want to compete with the
Democrats' operation this election season.
There's a significant difference
between the Twitter and Facebook presence of the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee,
according to data compiled by software and analytics firm, OhMyGov Inc.
The DCCC started off 2012 with
just over 475,000 Facebook fans compared to the NRCC's 23,400. On Twitter, the
gap isn't so large, the DCCC had 39,763 followers on Jan. 1 to the NRCC's
Over the past two
months, both organizations have seen their social media presence increase. As
of Feb. 20, the DCCC has increased their twitter following 17.4 percent to
46,367 and their Facebook fans by 29.4 percent to 615,000. Their Facebook fans
saw large increases on Jan. 25 - 26, the day after President Obama's State of
the Union Address, and from Feb. 8 - 10, the two days after Rick Santorum was
declared the winner of the Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota caucuses.
The NRCC has also been steadily curating followers. Since
Jan. 1, they have increased their Facebook fans by 75.2 percent to 40,682 and
Twitter followers 28.4 percent to 26,644. They've made a public push for
Twitter followers by posting a large banner on the front page of NRCC.org that
says: "Follow us on Twitter: Click Here."
The DCCC has been using its
Twitter account to attack Republican candidates as well as to galvanize support
around trending issues, such as last week's contraception debate. Recently the
account has posted a number of links to news articles about Congressman Michael
Grimm (R-NY), who has come under fire for improper fundraising and close
business ties to a convicted criminal.
Across the social media pong on Facebook, the DCCC's account
focuses on polls and petitions. The polls ask their fans to weigh in on issues
and the petitions urge them to "support President Obama's budget" or "Call out
Eric Cantor." In order to participate in the polls, Facebook users have to
authenticate their account with the DCCC. To do so, the organization asks
permission to access basic information such as name, gender, networks, list of
friends and current city. They also ask for permission to send users email.
The Republicans post less
frequently, only about once per day on their Facebook page. About half of their
posts link to their nrcc.org blog, which is filled with criticisms of President
Barack Obama and Democratic Party policies. Since the beginning of the year, all
65 of their posts attacked the Democrats.
The RNCC Twitter account takes a
similar line, focusing on alleged Democratic policy failures by linking to their blog
and frequent tweets about high unemployment.
For example, recent tweets
include "12.8 million unemployed Americans... #failedstimulus" and "Is
#Solyndra Obama's idea of an economy built to last?"
Perhaps both sides' increasing negative tone has turned off
average Americans. The U.S. boasts 116 million Facebook users, with about 15
percent of those users declaring themselves liberal and 10 percent
conservative, according to Mashable.com. That leaves both parties' organizations
missing out on reaching about 15 million possible supporters through Facebook.
And about 13 percent of adult Americans use Twitter, according to Pew Research. So even if only 10 percent of Twitter users
hold strong political beliefs, that leaves about 5 million people who may be
interested in DCCC or NRCC messaging on Twitter.