Can Social Media Predict Election Victors?

Nov 04, 2014
Jason Baumann

Can Social Media Predict Election Victors?

Today is Election Day in Chicago – a city (in)famous for its politics. In the spirit of the electoral process, I thought we would look at the campaigns in the State of Illinois and talk about successes and failures. To start, we looked at the top six positions in Illinois and then analyzed the campaign’s social media presence based on a list of criteria. For those of you who are local to Illinois, here is what we found…

2014 Illinois Social Election Results

Looking at these reports, here are three observations that we made about the campaigns…

1. A Lesson from Jesse White

Jesse White is a very well respected political figure that has been the Secretary of State for a very long time. People like him and vote for him – from both parties and he always win. He campaigns very little and his opposition is usually weak. We were very reluctant to award him our prediction. His campaign website is terrible. He has a very small social media presence. He really doesn’t spend much time or money on it. While it should be a priority, it is not for him. If Jesse ever gets a serious opponent, he is going to have to step up his game online.

2. Bruce Rauner is our only “A”

Bruce is an affluent businessman who has been portrayed by his opponent as want to crush anyone who is not a millionaire. He has spent millions on his campaign – a significant amount on social media and digital advertising. He has a great strategy. He uses Facebook to engage with voters and act as a resource. He tweets and even maintains a decent Instagram account. What earned him his “A” is the fact that he is making a genuine effort to reach all populations using different platforms and that someone is responding to messages on his accounts.

3. The Treasurer’s Tie was Determined by Substance

In looking at the Treasurer’s race, it was almost a tie. In fact we gave both candidates (the Democrat and Republican) the same grade. One candidate had a larger following but not as powerful of visuals. The other had better content and used Instagram. We awarded our prediction to the candidate who created better content – the Republican, Tom Cross.

We can learn a few very important things from these campaigns. First, when it matters, social media matters. Secondly, if you dedicate time to social, results will come. Finally, when it comes down to the end, what matters most is that you are really producing great content. While these lessons have come from the political world, they are valuable to any digital marketer.

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