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Are you a #KFCScholar? KFC Doubles Down on Twitter Promo

In case you didn’t catch it, Kentucky Fried Chicken is offering a $20,000 scholarship to a high school senior to send a tweet with the hashtag #KFCScholar about how they exemplify the Col’s commitment to education, or something. From their release: KFC_Twitter

“KFC is asking college hopefuls to tweet why they exemplify Colonel Sanders’ commitment to education and enriching their communities, and why they are deserving of a college scholarship."

For those of us unable to apply, you can now follow the action on Slurp140! 

Do you think this latest marketing promotion will succeed? 

Will this promo / others like it be more successful than traditional TV advertising or product placement?

As of this writing at 2:15pm EST, we have tracked a total of 958 tweets by 785 users, which is a little lower than I would expect given that this promotion has been reported on by CNN and USA Today. For some background on KFC’s traditional marketing and product placement on NBC, check out this article by Willa Paskin on NYMAG.com (Note, I respectfully disagree with the analysis about NBC’s “Community,” the show is absolutely hilarious in the Arrested Development sense of things!)

SLURP-140--KFCScholar

"Politics Get Social" – A Social Media Club DC Event

blog_smcdc_event1This past Wednesday, we attended another excellent event organized by the Social Media Club DC (SMCDC), about the state of social media use in elections. As a topic that The Bivings Report has touched upon many times in the past several months, we were excited to hear the perspectives of political operatives, academics and non-profit consultants as to the best practices and tactics of the 2010 midterm elections. Lobbyists, PR professionals, and social media entrepreneurs were all eager to analyze the impact and results that Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare had on voter turnout and results.

Professor Lauren Feldman of American University shared her analysis of  the polling data her team obtained during the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. The rally offered special badges on Foursquare just for checking in, and Feldman shared statistics about what parentages of people used social media to learn about the event and its details. For instance, of the 232,122 people who RSVP’d on Facebook, it appears that nearly everyone showed up. Also worth noting- while 31% of survey respondents at the rally reported directly volunteering for a political cause at some point in the past year, twice as many- 64% used social media as a form of political participation.

As for the role of location based tools and during the election,  while 12 million Facebook users clicked the “I Voted” button, only 56,000 Foursquare users got the voting badge.  Also for those of you wondering why custom Foursquare badges are few and far between, one attendee with insider knowledge claimed that Foursquare asks for $100,000 and 6-month timeframe to get a custom badge created. 

The event speakers included:Katie Harbath, Chief Digital Strategist at the National Republican Senatorial CommitteeLauren Feldman, a faculty member at American University in political science and Michael Mayernick, founder of social giving startup giv.to. A few interesting highlights from the panelists included:

  • For the 2010 election cycle- Only 5% of all expenditures went towards social media. However it is worth remembering that  in 2004 when most incumbent Senators last ran for re-election, social media barley existed.
  • Social Media as a platform for brining partisans together: Both Democrats and Republican agree that candidates should do their own tweeting and that campaigns need to devote more resources to online engagement. Both staffers and supporters prefer candidates who engage in conversation over staff managed accounts that do nothing but push press releases. Many of those we talked to in attendance mentioned they would not contribute to a candidate who does not do their own tweeting.
  • National campaign committees are seeing an increasing amount of mobile traffic, with the NRSC receiving an impressive 7% of website traffic from mobile phones. They also found that iPhone push notifications were more valuable then SMS text messages.

Moving forward, the Q&A session also brought up some interesting social media policy questions, such as whether or not it is appropriate for elected officials who leave office to keep their official titles in their Twitter handles and if official accounts such as @PressSec created by Robert Gibbs belong to him or the government. The consensus was that for accounts like @GovMikeHuckabee, keeping the “Gov” title is acceptable as a matter of protocol, but that @PressSec belongs to the office of the @WhiteHouse Press Secretary, not an individual person.

Get-Out-The-Visualizations! Social Media & Election Day

Besides Slurp140, here are a few of our favorite tools for following the election via social media that have recently come to our attention. Is there a website or tool you recommend?  Let us know!

 New York Times: The Election Will Be Tweeted (and Retweeted)

nyt_twitter_joemillerAlthough it is difficult to follow or discern the content of the incoming tweets, the side by side comparison feature is worth exploring. For instance, in the case of Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, the NYT graph indicates that at least in terms of volume, the buzz around Joe Miller is significantly higher. Also worth exploring is the NYT’s use of customized Google News searches to displays recent headlines about the candidates from the NYT, Washington Post, CNN, the AP, Politico, Fox News, NPR, ANC and CBS. (If your interested in more comprehensive social and traditional media monitoring, our Impact Watch service combines media monitoring with sentiment analysis that can be branded to your organization.)

Politics + Foursquare = GeoPollster

Location-Based Polling - GeoPollsterIn response to my 10/28 post on Foursquare’s I Voted badge, Adam Kraft of GeoPollster wrote in and informed me of GeoPollster, which allows you to cast your vote whenever you check in on Foursquare! After logging onto the GeoPollster site, you are asked to select your political party (Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian or Republican) and add the GeoPollster account as a Foursquare friend.  Although so far, only 272 Fouraquare users have done so, I predict this app will soon be incredibly popular in Washington D.C. as a new front in ongoing completion between Democratic and Republican Hill staffers for domination of our local watering holes.

Facebook Ratings: Election2010

While we will soon know whether in-state Facebook fans are more valuable than out-of-state fans,  the blog All Facebook has created a nifty page that gives a quick overview of how the two primary national parties stack up on Facebook. Although it would be nice to see how all of the races stack up, we understand and appreciate how much a programming would be involved in tracking 435 House and 37 Senate campaigns.
Facebook Ratings - Election 2010Facebook Ratings - Election 2010- house and govs

Foursquare’s “I Voted” Badge- How Will Campaigns Use It?

WebWhile most of the news surrounding Foursquare’s announcement on Mashable that users will now get a custom badge for voting on election day, so far not much has been written about the most interesting, and potentially explosive aspect- the Foursquare election data visualization site.

Although Gowalla was first to announce an election badge and actively seek to partner with individual campaigns, Foursquare along with partner organizations have taken it to the next level with their integration of OpenStreetMap and official polling locations provided by the Voting Information Project.

Traditionally campaigns have monitored turnout on election day by recording the cumulative total of votes cast per polling place on an hourly basis. This data is then put into a spreadsheet / giant whiteboard and if turnout is lower than expected, you redirect all of your phone banks and canvassers to ‘flush’ your voters out of their homes and to the polls.

In 2008 the Obama campaign realized that rather than wait an hour, they could get real time results that would not only tell them how many people voted, but also who voted. Thanks to smart phones, a simple web application and local election laws allowing campaign volunteers to be inside polling places, the Obama campaign now had real time results of how well they were doing. (Disclosure: I volunteered for the Obama campaign as a legal poll monitor and observed this first hand. I do not know if McCain campaign had a similar program.)

If voters do embrace Foursquare to check into polling places for the 2010 midterms,  not only could this boost turnout for key demographics and identify issues at polling places, it could also make exit polling obsolete.

ivotedbadgeWith this new data on hand, a savvy campaign or organization could create another app to search for the #ivoted hashtag and report back a list of users who checked into certain precincts. Next, an algorithm performs a quick sentiment analysis of past tweets to determine political affiliation, and BINGO- up to the minute election results. While no automated sentiment analysis is perfect, I would imagine that counting & comparing  the number of politicians  someone follows would get you close. Cross checking with the candidates followers would get you closer still.  Count the # of  @BarackObama vs. @SarahPalinUSA re-tweets and you’re there.  

So What Should Campaigns Do?
Besides email address and cell phone numbers- Ask for Twitter handles. Encourage your supporters to sign up for Twitter and Foursquare to support your candidate and let you know when they have voted. If you have a Foursquare account for your candidate, you would also have the benefit of a customized stream of your supporters checking in and voting.

What Will Campaigns Do?
As my former colleague Philip de Vellis of Murphy Putnam pointed out at the Politico / Facebook panel on politics and social media Monday evening, in times of uncertainty campaigns tend to fall back on what they know- namely TV ads. Others mentioned that campaigns have shifted to spending less than 5% of their budgets online. Given that devoting resources to something new and unproven is a little bit scary, I predict that widespead adoption of social media advertising (and spending that follows) will not be broadly adopted until 2012.

For some background on how this all came about, check out the 9/28 RWW blog posting “Could Location Base Services Increase Civic Engagement in Millennials.”

Top Newspapers Ranked by Twitter Followers

Jeremy Porter from Journalistics has a post up where he breaks down the top 25 newspapers as measured by Twitter followers.  Below are the top 5 accounts, according to his research.

  1. @nytimes – 2,668,948
  2. @wsj – 464,591
  3. @washingtonpost – 204,514
  4. @latimes – 83,335
  5. @usatoday – 72,929

We’ve covered this ground a bit ourselves in the past, so I found his post both interesting and troubling. 

First the interesting part. 

He finds the New York Times now has more Twitter followers than print subscribers.  Wow. 

Also, while I think he missed some newspapers and accounts, the dominance of the New York Times on Twitter is hard to dispute.  In addition to the main New York Times account he lists, the NYT has a variety of other topic specific accounts that have well over 100,000 followers each.  Brand still matters, and the Old Gray Lady’s brand still has some life.

On the troubling side, the methodology here is really flawed and this list should be taken as entirely anecdotal.  All he has done is found the main Twitter accounts of major newspapers and listed the number of followers.  This ranking methodology doesn’t take into account the many, many different Twitter strategies being employed by newspapers and media in general.

Lots of newspapers don’t really promote an overall Twitter feed and instead push topic specific feeds that attract tons of followers.  Lots of papers have chosen to promote the accounts of individual reporters and columnists instead of accounts for the paper themselves.

So you can’t really measure how a newspaper is using Twitter by looking at a single, central account.  To perform a meaningful study, you’d really need to look at the potentially hundreds of different accounts that make up a newspapers Twitter universe.  Hopefully someone will take on that larger research project at some point so we can get some meaningful data on how newspaper are using Twitter.