08 May, 2012

Memo: If You’re Not Fighting the War in Social Media, You’re Losing It

I’m going to pick on @indgop on Twitter for a bit, but not because I don’t appreciate IN’s GOP, but because they need to get better at dealing with social media. And I’m sure they’re far from the only ones.

I follow most of the big political players on both sides of the aisle. So, I follow @RNC, and @BarackObama for example. I like to know get the straight scoop not just form my side, but from the opposition as well. That way I see how they’re using social media, and learn how to combat their spin with truth. So, of course, here in IN, I also follow @INDems and @indgop.

@indgop is the official Twitter account for the Indiana Republican Party.  Currently, @indgop has 1,386 tweets, 3,015 followers, and is following 1,909 (I’m one of those 1909. Thanks for following). They have tweeted 21 times so far in the month of May. In the month of April, they tweeted 36 times. @indgop tweets so infrequently that I’ve had to check several times to make sure that I’m still following them. That’s not a good thing.

Indiana is a purple to red state. We voted for President Barack Obama (D-USA), but in 2010 rode the Republican wave and elected a 2nd GOP Senator, and increased the GOP U.S. House delegation as well. We have a GOP governor, but have often had Democrat ones, and up until recently have generally had 1 GOP Senator and 1 Dem Senator.

So, let’s compare @indgop to @INDems, the official Twitter account of the Indiana Democrat Party. Despite being in a red-ish state, @INDems has more followers, at 3,512. Now, they follow far fewer, a mere 319, but have tweeted over twice as many times, 2,903. So far in May, they have tweeted 87 times. That’s in 8 days. In the last 38 days, @indgop has only tweeted 57 times.

If you’re not fighting the war, you’re losing.

There’s no reason @indgop should be behind @INDems in either tweets or followers. There are far more conservatives in IN than libs, and there should be more for @indgop to tweet about as well. We have the Governor’s mansion, both chambers of the General Assembly, both U.S. Senators, and 6 of 9 of Indiana’s Congressmen are Republican. And, while it’s not a state level position, the mayor of Indianapolis is also a Republican.

I RT @INDems several times a day. A lot of their tweets are not party related, but simple things like reminder’s about today’s primary. I can’t remember the last time I RT’d something from @indgop. Given my political leanings, I would much prefer it was the other way around. But, if I see something useful, I’m going to RT it, no matter who it comes from.

Here’s the problem with this. If I RT @INDems, and others do as well, that will help them gain followers. They already have more than @indgop. And gaining followers will help them get out their message for their actual party tweets. Now, maybe right now in IN it doesn’t really matter. We won’t be giving our electoral votes to Obama this time around. And Mike Pence is going to be the Governor next year. And we’ll still have two GOP Senators from IN next year, regardless of what happens in the primary today.

But, @INDems is playing the long game. They’re not thinking just about 2012, but about 2014 and 2016. They’re laying the ground work for it now. And, who knows, maybe they’ll get lucky, and pull off an upset somewhere even this year. But, come 2014 & 2016, when things maybe aren’t so bright for the GOP in IN, @indgop is going to be behind. And once you’re behind in social media, it’s very hard to catch up.

Make no mistake. It may not happen here in IN, but social media will play a role in this year’s election, and may very well be the deciding factor in some elections by 2014 & 2016. If your state or local organization is behind here, you need to work with them to catch up.

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