November 5, 2010|
A few days ago Facebook released a study that showed that in most cases the candidate with the most Facebook fans won the election. Specifically, they wrote:
“The Facebook political team’s initial snapshot of 98 House races shows that 74% of candidates with the most Facebook fans won their contests. In the Senate, our initial snapshot of 19 races shows that 81% of candidates with the most Facebook fans won their contests.”
Folks a lot smarter than I am have deftly pointed out the problems with the concept that you can predict election results based on the number of Facebook fans. We have no idea how many of the fans actually live in the district of the politicians they are fans of. Tea Party and colorful folks tend to attract more fans that more straightforward candidates. Etc. Etc.
However, I did want to add one small point to the discussion. For politicians in lower profile races (Congress in particular), the number of Facebook hands is more an indication of how hard they have worked to recruit fans than it is of voter enthusiasm.
These fans don’t just appear out of the blue – campaigns work hard to actively build their fan base using a variety of tactics. Do they have a prominent Facebook link on their site? Do they include their Facebook address in email communication? Do they post compelling content? Do they run Facebook ads in an effort to promote their page?
Politicians with national profiles can simply put a Facebook page up and watch the numbers grow. But your run-of-the-mill Congressional candidate has to work to grow their supporter base. If you put in the time and spend some money you can make your numbers go up. If you don’t, your numbers will stay pretty flat unless you are a sensation like Christine O’Donnell or Sharon Angle.