Obama's and Romney's Battle for Social Media Engagement

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When engaging in social media, "likes" don't always equal loyalty. Many companies have come to realize that true customer loyalty and engagement takes more than sending promotions to solicit "likes."

When engaging in social media, "likes" don't always equal loyalty. Many companies have come to realize that true customer loyalty and engagement takes more than sending promotions to solicit "likes."

The same holds true for the 2012 Presidential race in which the question, "Do followers equal votes?" is in focus. If that holds true, Obama will have a clear victory over Romney. As of this morning, Obama had 21,738,038 Twitter followers; Romney had 1,682,876. On Facebook, Obama had 31,785,880 "likes," while Romney garnered 11,914,646. The same goes for Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, and YouTube, with Obama dominating in sheer volume.

But as smart marketers have come to realize, it's not quantity that matters, but quality. They know that the true quest for loyalty comes from communicating with customers on a one-to-one basis, serving them in the channels of their choice, and rewarding them for their participation. In the Presidential race, Obama may have more fans, but the Romney camp claims that his are more engaged.

At a panel on social media during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Zac Moffatt, digital director of Mitt Romney for President, underscored this when he said that although the number of Obama's fans trumps Romney's, engagement is what counts. He cited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act as an example of how Romney's fans are more engaged. After that announcement, he said that Romney's social media audience saw a 27 percent engagement while Obama's was 1.5 percent. On Facebook alone, as of this morning there were 2,401,788 people talking about Obama, whereas Romney's smaller fan base produced 2,442,749 people talking about the Massachusetts governor. And Tumblr reported that in October, Romney had three million reblogs and Obama had 2.5 million reblogs.

Whether quantity or quality wins out in tomorrow's election remains to be seen. Will Obama's greater fan base come out and vote, or will Romney's smaller but more engaged following determine the outcome?

You be the judge.

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