Social Media Tips from the Republican Party

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 24 Jan, 2012

There is finally something that the Democrats and Republicans can agree on - social media is an essential marketing strategy.

Originally, it was President Obama who put social media on the political map during his campaign to the White House in 2008. However, since then, other politicians have taken note of the effectiveness social media marketing can have on campaigns, and therefore have emphasized it in their own campaigns.

A new study from iContact reveals new insights from the social media strategies of the Republican primary presidential candidates. These candidates are using social media to share messages, empower voters and raise money. However, these same strategies can also be applied to to small businesses that should be using social media to engage their followers, promote their brands and increase sales.

Facebook still reigns supreme. Even in politics, Facebook is the king of social networks. Across the board, the largest amount of followers and engagement for the candidates came from the world's most popular social network. 

Small businesses tip: Facebook is still the most popular social platform, and is the best option for small businesses to reach out to customers and prospects.

Quality is more important than Quantity. Although Mitt Romney had the highest number of Facebook fans, his Facebook fan engagement ranked the lowest at 8.97 percent. And to further prove the point that quantity isn't everything, Rick Santorum had one of the lowest numbers of Facebook followers, but had the highest engagement level at 50.42 percent.

Small business tip: If the social media follower number is high but the engagement is low, it may be time to reevaluate the content and platform being used in order to ensure that your brand's message and content resonates with your audience.

Social media + email = success. The candidates have all incorporated these two powerhouse marketing strategies into their campaigns, and made it easy for fans and followers to subscribe to both channels for constant updates about their campaigns.

Small business tip: Don't forget about email. Although social media is the popular new kid in the marketing world, email has most likely been your faithful friend for a while now. Social is good for sharing content and having discussions, but email can create long-term customers and conversions.

We are a visual world, use pictures (or videos). Much of the content on Romney's social networks includes photos and videos from events, speeches and commercials. It helps him convey his message in a unique way, and capture his followers' attention. Also, Ron Paul utilizes his campaign's YouTube channel to upload videos, and has accumulated more than 7 million clicks.

Small business tip: Attract attention in the newsfeed! Utilize eye-catching content like photos and videos, which can increase engagement and more easily go viral (which means more visibility for your business!)

Nothing is more important than quality content. Newt Gingrich has the highest number of Twitter followers, with 1.38 million. Not only does he tweet often, but the content he provides seems to be what his audience wants to read.

Small business tip: Providing your audience with quality content is still the most important aspect of publishing items onto social networks. When possible, keep content relevant, engaging, fun and insightful - because it will leave your audience wanting more.

To Google+ or not to Google+? That is the question, but the answer you get will greatly depend on who you are asking. Both Romney and Gingrich have integrated this new social network into their social media strategies. But, a recent iContact survey revealed that 48 percent of small businesses love Google+, while the other 52 percent still weren't convinced.

Small business tip: Website Magazine says, "To Google+." Although this social network isn't quite the Facebook killer that some thought it would be, it is still an important social channel. Furthermore, it may prove beneficial for small businesses to become early adopters of Google+, especially as the site grows and adds more features for businesses.

Social is a must-have marketing strategy. Campaign budgets don't matter when it comes to social media, because all candidates realize that social media is a key investment for their success. Not only is this marketing strategy cost-effective, but it also engages audiences and ensures that the desired content reaches the right people.

Small business tip: There is a small business strategy to fit your business no matter what your budget is. It is important to set goals for your social media strategy, such as strengthening your brand, generating sales or acquiring contacts. Then, it is important to monitor these goals through metrics such as followers, fans, likes, retweets or other engagement scores. This way your business will know exactly what your ROI is.