With the Presidential debates over and the election only weeks away, both candidates are hitting the social media hyper-drive. While Obama has the lead across most indicators, Romney is definitely pulling ahead on engagement – at least that’s what the numbers indicate.

Obama Leads in Connections, Romney Leads in Engagement

Obama has a wide lead in-terms of actual connections – with 21 million Twitter followers and 31 million Facebook page likes. Notably, the President’s social network surged after the third and final debate, adding substantially more likes, followers and connections than Mitt Romney across all channels.

Romney garnered a significant boost to his social networks following the first debate. Yet, Romney’s lead in Facebook buzz as well as popularity may actually be Obama voters talking.

3 Takeaways from the Presidential Social Media Blitz

Like any other brand, the candidates both use social media to build awareness, and foster a loyal community. Aside from the zingers, there are some notable takeaways we can pull out of the candidate’s social media numbers.

1. For Social Media, Demographics Matter

While social media may not be important to every member of the electorate, it is still the largest and most accessible channel with the greatest reach. Romney’s lag in social connections across channels may be due to the fact that more 18-24 year olds are using social media – but this doesn’t soften the actual impact of the social network demographic.

For small and even large businesses, it may be tough to use social media to reach a targeted demographic – especially if your market is not keen to social networking. Regardless, these channels are just too huge to forget, just ask the Romney campaign.

One facet of social media analytics is growth overtime – but many high-volume brands may not always know what conclusions to draw from their social media history – or what to do with the metrics.

Social media growth metrics can tell you what strategies worked, and even give you deeper insights into how your audience finds and engages your brand. If strategically leveraged, social media can become free advertising for your events, promotions and any other public communications campaigns.

3. It’s All About Engagement

Having a social profile or Twitter feed is not enough – it is about fostering communities, conversation and buzz. While Obama may have had more time and publicity to aggregate his social following, the Romney campaign has more people talking.

Brands and companies in the early stages of social media should remember one thing – it’s not about the number of followers. In essence, social networks are best utilized when they become a space for interaction – and not aggregation. It’s all about quality over quantity – but having 20 million more Twitter followers certainly can’t hurt.

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