Author: Zach Knaus
In Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts there was what some would consider a major upset victory for a Republican in a heavily democratic state. Newly elected Senator Scott Brown beat Democrat Martha Coakley in Massachusetts’ Senate election and it wasn’t even close. How could it be a Republican could win in the land of the Kennedy’s and the seat held by the democratic leader Ted Kennedy? Well one reason for this stunning victory can be attributed to Sen. Brown’s use of social media.
Analysts cite different reasons why Sen. Brown won, but a couple articles in the Wall Street Journal point to Brown’s social media outreach campaign. From the article by Susan Davis, “Atwitter in Mass.: Brown’s Social Media Strategy Tops Coakley’s,” she lays out the difference between Brown’s and Coakley’s use of social media, just look at a few of the numbers:
Facebook Fans: Brown (70,800), Coakley (13,529)
Twitter Followers: Brown (9,679), Coakley (3,385)
YouTube Video Views: Brown (578,271), Coakley (51,173)
It is clear that Sen. Brown reached a much larger community of individuals than Coakley did and in some cases by more than 10 to 1.
The second article from the Wall Street Journal details how Brown used Google ads to reach a larger audience. Even I have questioned the effectiveness of online advertising, but I think it is time to reconsider. The article is by reporter Jennifer Valentino entitled, “How Scott Brown Used Google to Get Results in Mass. Election.” She writes:
“There’s been a lot of news out today about how Mr. Brown has used social networking tools to help his campaign…But amid all the talk of Twitter and Facebook, a slightly less sexy but still powerful tool has often been overlooked — the campaign’s groundbreaking use of Google to drive volunteers and voters.
Beginning Thursday, the Brown campaign began what’s known as a Google network blast, an advertising tactic that floods Google content network Web pages in a particular geographic area with display ads from one advertiser. ‘If you were in Massachusetts, pretty much all day every day you would see a Scott Brown ad,’ Mr. Panger said, adding that earlier ads encouraged people to volunteer for the campaign, while later ones focused on getting out the vote.”
Now that we have seen the power of social media in helping Sen. Brown to victory, I hope Colorado candidates and campaigns use these tools more effectively for their outreach. I think younger voters would be excited to help build these networks and be a part of the conversation. However, elected officials shouldn’t just use these tools during an election; they should keep using them while they are in office. I hope Sen. Brown provides an example and continues using social media to reach out to his constituents in Massachusetts.