On the eve of Super Tuesday, Republicans are still on the hunt for coveted primary votes. One site that specializes in social media analytics is trying to read the Facebook tea leaves in order to pick a big winner. Not surprisingly, frontrunner Mitt Romney has the most social momentum, but Facebookers don't seem to want to quit Ron Paul.
Socialbakers "analyzed major campaign milestones throughout the past 30 days to identify how major events impacted Facebook engagement and popularity. The findings show a correlation between social performance with events such as Romney's win in Florida, Santorum's caucus success and Romney’s wins in both Michigan and Arizona."
For those 30 days, Socialbakers compiled the following data:
- 1. Romney: 109 total posts, 682,328 total Facebook user interactions
- 2. Santorum: 268 total posts, 513,130 total Facebook user interaction
- 3. Paul: 50 total posts, 508,879 total Facebook user interactions
- 4. Gingrich: 52 total posts, 303,991 total Facebook user interactions
Going over to check the candidates' pages for ourselves today, we found Romney now has more than 1.5 million fans, and for the most part, we see how he sticks to simple, clear status updates to generate the majority of his interactions with supporters (40 percent). Romney's latest status update, "The President has run out of ideas. Now, he's running out of excuses. And 2012 will be the year he runs out of time," garnered 13,365 likes and more than 2,000 comments.
In contrast, Romney's biggest threat, Rick Santorum, who has only a fraction of Romney's Facebook base with not quite 166,000 fans, has the majority of his interactions through links, and his most recent Wall entries are no different. Scrolling down his wall for a post with high engagement, we found one from Friday linked to a Patch article, with this intro: ""We need someone who can stand up and say we have a candidate who throughout their career has not only checked the box on conservative issues, but has fought for conservative issues." ~ Rick Santorum." With that post, Santorum had 1,824 likes and 1,263 comments.
But it still seems at least a little stretch to correlate Facebook interactions and fans with results at the polls. Just look at Ron Paul, who is second only to Romney in terms of fans with about 894,000 fans, and neck-and-neck with Santorum when it comes to interactions. His Facebook posts seem to consistently generate hundreds, if not thousands of comments. One post just simply stating his debate was on CNN Feb. 22 drew 3,556 comments. But, he has not won a single primary.
Finally, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who won an upset victory in South Carolina, who also gained some Facebook fans since the Socialbakers study for a total of 291,901, had the least amount of interactions, at just shy of 304,000. Comments on his Wall do not crest the 1,000 mark.
No doubt Facebook's 845 million users figured prominently in Socialbakers decision to focus on it for its study, but it also referred to a June 2011 Pew study that revealed Facebook users tended to be more politically engaged than other social networkers, with the exception of LinkedIn folks.
More on the methodology, as we're sure there are skeptics eager to take it apart: "Measurements are taken as averages for given days and computed from Socialbakers’ social media analytics solution, Engagement Analytics Pro (data is sourced from Facebook's Open Graph API). All data is public data and published by Facebook users on open and public fan pages."
The Socialbakers infographic also features a word clouds from each candidate and the only one who seems to mention his opponent (no, not President Barack Obama) is Santorum, for whom Romney makes a frequent appearance in his Facebook posts.
Check out the rest of the infographic for yourself:
- On Facebook, Obama reigns but Santorum, Romney making big gains
- President Obama now using Facebook Timeline
- ’Mo’ aka Michelle Obama now on Twitter