Social Media in the Virginia Senate Race

By Too Conservative

I talked with Peter Smith at the Old Dominion Watchdog about social media and the 2012 VA Senate race.

Here’s a snippet:

Vincent Harris, a social media consultant who has worked with several GOP campaigns including Gov. Bob McDonnell’s 2009 governor’s race, said the Facebook gap is more important to the race than Allen’s weakness on Twitter.

More than half of Americans have a Facebook account; 7 percent use Twitter.

Twitter accounts “are not at all engaging average voters, and that is just a fact,” Harris said.

Harris said Allen has taken advantage of the personal or social touches of Facebook, while Kaine’s page seemed far less engaged than his initial announcement video or Twitter account. Allen’s page allows supporters to post on his wall, and he also engages directly with fans in comments, “likes” supporter’s statuses and solicits feedback — features absent from the Kaine page.

“It seems like Kaine’s releasing information, without trying to get information back,” Harris said.

Allen’s chief online advantage lies in advertising. Facebook allows candidates to target potential voters based upon profile information, providing a 21st century version of the direct mail campaigns traditionally used to drive support.

“Facebook really has the most advanced metrics in terms of online advertising,” Harris said. “George Allen, who has a problem with women and minority voters, is going to be able to micro-target with specific messages just seen by that specific niche audience.”


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