Five Social Media Trends We Spotted in the Midterms
 

Five Social Media Trends We Spotted in the Midterms

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The 2010 midterm elections weren’t just fought across TV and radio – they were fought across social media networks too. For three weeks, Vocus monitored key races in Massachusetts, Kentucky

The 2010 midterm elections weren’t just fought across TV and radio – they were fought across social media networks too. For three weeks, Vocus monitored key races in Massachusetts, Kentucky
and Nevada to spot emerging trends – here’s what we found…

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Five Social Media Trends We Spotted in the Midterms Five Social Media Trends We Spotted in the Midterms Document Transcript

  • Vocus White Paper The 2010 midterm elections weren’t just fought across TV and radio – they were fought across social media networks too. For three weeks, Vocus monitored key races in Massachusetts, Kentucky and Nevada to spot emerging trends – here’s what we found…
  • Five Social Media Trends We Spotted in the Midterms 1 American politics went wild this election season. The Tea Party sprang up from the masses calling for change. Republicans searched for new voices inside and outside their ranks, while Democrats fought a war on all fronts – including within. At Vocus, it wasn’t the commentary, controversy, debates or advertisements that we found the most exciting. With millions of people discussing every twist and turn of the elections online, we were able to apply our new social media monitoring tools to key races to identify and analyze new trends. Of course, we’re politics junkies – but what we observed went well beyond politics, and is relevant to everyone who uses social media in their PR. After all – what’s an election campaign but a huge (if short-lived) PR machine? Here are five election trends from politically-focused social media that will still apply even when the election billboards are faded and gone. Some are exciting; some are unexpected – so what will they mean going forward? 1) Social media levels the playing field We saw it during Barack Obama’s run, and with Howard Dean before him. Social media gives you the means to take your message a long way. In fact, you don’t even need to be a big name beforehand; with social media, you can give any establishment Goliath a run for its money. It lets you shape a discussion, keep it going, and build yourself an online reputation many times the size of your offline footprint. In Massachusetts, newcomer Sean Bielat monopolized Twitter, while incumbent Barney Frank abdicated it entirely. Bielat became the loudest online voice of the campaign, with followers retweeting his messages 970 times. Although Frank emerged victorious from the race, it was the toughest challenge of his 30-year career. Might things have been easier for him if he’d matched Bielat on social media? It’s not just on social media that it counts, either. Many news networks took an interest in what people were tweeting too – meaning that any well-timed or relevant tweet had the potential to earn big exposure.
  • Five Social Media Trends We Spotted in the Midterms 2 2) You don’t have to be famous or local to have a big voice on local issues When you think influence in political information and news coverage, you think of major newspapers, traditional news programming on radio or TV, or perhaps websites like Drudge or the Huffington Post. Individual social media users? Not so much. Yet, our chart of influential tweeters in the Nevada and Massachusetts races (that is, the most frequently retweeted individuals) shows that the most vocal participant in these battles was none other than… @imwindowman, a window installer from Virginia with a sideline in political activism, and now an influencer based on his volume and reach. Did he sway anyone’s opinion? We don’t know. But it goes to show that a single influencer – maybe from a completely unexpected quarter – can make a message resonate far and wide. The better you know your audience, the more likely you’ll be able to find them and enlist their support. Take Cary Conover, a thought leader in the energy industry. Although his Klout score is a more modest 27, a closer look reveals him to be a valued voice on his field, with Klout acknowledging him as “influential to a tightly formed network that is growing larger.” View slide
  • Five Social Media Trends We Spotted in the Midterms 3 3) Not being involved is #fail In the end, Barney Frank won by a comfortable margin. But would he even have had to worry had he had his own Twitter presence? By abdicating any sort of social media presence for himself, Frank let opponent Sean Bielat become the top tweeter about his campaign. The results weren’t pretty. If Barney had taken to Twitter himself, perhaps his personal word cloud - which shows the key topics being discussed around his name - wouldn’t have featured the terms ‘fails’, ‘retire’ and ‘Bye Bye Barney Frank’ quite as prominently. Not participating in social media doesn’t mean you’re not going to appear on it. It’s far better to join the conversation and shape it before your competition does. Two weeks to polling day: 10/12-10/18 One week to go: 10/19-10/25 Almost there: 10/26-11/01 4) Loyal online followers will make themselves heard After a Rand Paul supporter was caught on film allegedly stomping on a MoveOn.org activist’s head, negative social media sentiment around Paul’s Kentucky Senate campaign spiked. At the same time, though, the amount of positive sentiment shot up too, as supporters rallied around Paul to point out that the event wasn’t his fault. When things go wrong, it’s good to have a strong community behind you. They can help as third-party advocates for your organization – or, at the worst, provide honest feedback that will help you make a better go of things next time. View slide
  • Five Social Media Trends We Spotted in the Midterms 4 5: Slacktivism skews results… It feels good to tweet your support for a cause, and to express it in your Facebook status. So good, in fact, that there are some who believe social media might discourage the need to take a more active role in support … like sending money to charity, or in this case, actually voting. Welcome to “slacktivism.” Unlike activism, it takes little effort and accomplishes even less. And social media – any platform allowing for fast, easy self-expression is rife with it. You should always bear slacktivism in mind when analyzing social media performance. Our monitoring of the Reid-Angle race in Nevada showed a significant amount of negative sentiment towards Reid throughout – far more so than towards his opponent – which, on face value, might have translated to a defeat. However, on polling day, Reid kept his seat with a comfortable 50 percent of the vote. It wasn’t just social media that got it wrong, the big pollsters called it the same way. Perhaps there’s a far wider lesson here. Listening and monitoring will only get you so far. To achieve real results and escape from the slacktivism trap, you need to engage in a way that inspires people to act.
  • Five Social Media Trends We Spotted in the Midterms 5 About Vocus Vocus, Inc. (NASDAQ: VOCS) is a leading provider of on-demand software for public relations management. Our web-based software suite helps organizations of all sizes to fundamentally change the way they communicate with both the media and the public, optimizing their public relations and increasing their ability to measure its impact. Our on-demand software addresses the critical functions of public relations including media relations, news distribution and news monitoring. We deliver our solutions over the Internet using a secure, scalable application and system architecture, which allows our customers to eliminate expensive up-front hardware and software costs and to quickly deploy and adopt our on-demand software. Vocus is used by more than 7,700 organizations worldwide and is available in seven languages. Vocus is based in Lanham, MD with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit http://www. vocus.com or call (800) 345-5572. http://www.prweb.com/releases/Vocus-Earnings/Q3-2010/prweb4703774.htm