As reported here on IVN on Tuesday, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz defeated Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in the Texas Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate. With 52.92% of the vote, compared to Dewhurst’s 47.07%, Cruz was the Tea Party favorite, running against the Republican backed “establishment politician”.
So how’d he do it? I’d argue that a considerable amount of credit should be given to his social media strategy and execution. Going into the primary, Ted Cruz had over twice as many fans on his Facebook Page and over four times as many followers on his Twitter account. But as we’ve seen before, it’s not always about the number of followers a candidate has. It’s about how they use the platforms to encourage people to get out and vote. And a closer look at his social media profiles reveals that his strategy consisted of three key components:
1) Direct Engagement: Ted Cruz does not just use Twitter to blast out campaign updates, but he uses it to thank his supporters, reply to questions and comments posed by followers, and encourage people to spread the word and get out and vote.
2) Facebook Timeline: Cruz utilizes Facebook’s Timeline layout to share endorsements, share multi-media posts, and invite his followers to join events. He is consistent in posting, unlike his opponent, and shares a variety of media with his followers. He creates events, invites his fans, and shares them on his social media channels.
3) Facebook Tabs: Ted Cruz highlights three unique tabs on his Facebook Page – “Vote #CruzDay”, “Join Ted”, and “Give Now”. Most impressive is the custom tab entitled “Vote #CruzDay”, which directs users to a landing tab with information on polling locations and phone banking (pictured above).
Pablo Schneider notes:
Cruz made extensive use of social media. In January of this year, Cruz made the announcement that he was running for Senate on a conference call with conservative bloggers. His campaign has staffers devoted to digital strategy and social media.
What do you think? Is social media a good indication of popularity in the polls? Could it influence success come election day?