The recent U.S elections resulted in Barack Obama winning four more years in office.
Like the majority of candidates and parties, all around the world, he invested heavily both in time and money, on communicating online. This was the case during the 2008 Presidential campaign. The emphasis then had been on Facebook, while the latest campaign focused on Social Media as a whole.
Is there any relation between winning an election and online presence? Are heavy spenders on web activities more likely to do better in the political arena?
It seems that Obama championed the Social Media by an impressive lead versus Romney. He communicated policy agendas, feedback from the campaign trail, human interest stories, photo-ops. Literally, he exploited Social Media’s unique features of intimacy, speed, involvement as fully as possible.
A few figures should shed some light. As a result of an integrated online campaign which used Social Media and other platforms, Obama ended up with 32 million Facebook fans and 21 million Twitter followers.
On the other hand, Mitt Romney had 12 million Facebook fans and only 1.7 million followers on Twitter.
Who would disagree that the huge lead in Social Media boosted Barack Obama’s campaign?
In a number of European countries, the situation indicates that incumbents and their parties tend to enjoy higher Social Media followings than the ones not in office.
Of course, in order to achieve this, a devoted, highly professional Social Media guru team is required. There must be a clear and precise Social Media strategy beforehand. Contrary to the belief that Social Media is based on impulse and enthusiasm, if there is no plan, the desired following won’t be achieved.
Could we say with certainty that he who controls the web, controls the game? I am yet to witness the contrary!
Robert Pefanis is a communications specialist, lecturer at the University of Indianapolis, Athens.