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Driving Forward > Digital Marketing Blog

A Social Media Scorecard – 2010 US Senate Special Election in MA

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The recent special election to fill the vacated US Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts was certainly one of the most highly charged and closely followed statewide elections in recent history, both on state and national level. Not only was the Democrats filibuster-proof 60 vote majority at stake, the fact that a Republican was threatening to take the seat, in what many consider the bluest of blue states, made this an election for the ages.

In the end, it was Scott Brown, a Republican, who won the seat with a convincing 51.9% of the vote over Maratha Coakley’s 47.1%. Independent Joseph L. Kennedy (no relation) received 1%.

While there were many factors that contributed to Brown’s victory and Coakley’s surprising defeat, one area I decided to look at was how effectively the candidates used social media to get their message out and rally their base. In doing so, I looked at the following:

Here I not only looked at how many fans each campaign garnered, but also how they each leveraged specific elements and available functionality on their Fan Pages. As you can see via the above Social Media Score Card, Scott Brown’s campaign and base were clearly more engaged than that of Martha Coakley.

Here I looked at baseline metrics in terms of how many Followers, Tweets and times Listed. As you can see via the above Social Media Score Card, Scott Brown’s campaign and base were once again clearly more engaged, as there Total Score for Twitter was 228% higher than that of the Coakley campaign.

With YouTube, I analyzed the volume of content posted as well as level of user engagement. While you will see that Martha Coakley had one more video than Scott Brown, his base was clearly more engaged as indicated by the number of channel views, video views and channel subscribers.

Website Integration
While this is not something you can necessarily quantify, looking at how each campaign integrated social technologies into their websites, is a sign of how well they understand the medium and how they looked to leverage it.

Again, Scott Brown is clearly the winner as his campaign integrated a Twitter feed right on the home page, and integrated Chiclet sharing technology throughout the site. So not only did users who made it to the “mother ship” see what was being communicated in the social sphere, Chiclets ensured that they also had the opportunity to share content from the site directly within their own personal social networks. This last point is very important as chiclets enable users to advocate directly to their base of friends/followers, and since the message is coming from a third party, not necessary the source itself, it adds additional credibility. Conversely, Martha Coakely did not have any of this kind of integration or technology within her site, which was a huge missed opportunity.

Additionally, one thing neither candidate did was incorporate the Facebook Fan Widget into their site, which could have made for much more effective Facebook integration for both campaigns.

The Winner – Scott Brown!

Total Social Score:
– Brown: 946,109
– Coakley: 135,053
– Margin of Victory: 601%

While Scott Brown won the election, he also clearly won the race when it comes to Social Media. As you can see via the Total Social Score outlined above, Brown’s presence was 600% greater than that of Coakley’s.

With the impact and influence that Social Media is having on today’s cultural landscape, its more important than ever to leverage this channel as it provides a huge opportunity to connect with your base, be they constituents or customers. Having a well defined social media strategy and presence will enable you more effectively reach, connect and market to your base and also give you a leg up on the competition.

This was certainly the case with this election, as while both candidates were all over the airwaves in terms of traditional media, when it came to Social Media, the Brown campaign clearly won the election, and in the end, made what seemed improbable, probable.

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