I spend a lot of time evaluating candidates in races across the country. Many factors go into evaluating a candidates electability. The process starts by making sure that the candidate has the ability to raise enough money to be competitive. If they can afford to win the office their running for the next thing to evaluate is their digital footprint. What happens when you search the candidates name on Google, Facebook, and Twitter will be what a huge block of voters base their voting decision on.
For a while I’ve been using Representative Tom Cotton’s web presence in his Senate campaign against Democrat Mark Pryor as the example of someone getting it right. His online presence is worth taking a look at:
Wikipedia is a critical online presence that can seem alien to many people. Wikipedia is almost always one of the top first 3 or 4 search results on the major search engines. Wikipedia can be extremely frustrating for the uninitiated with a complex community structure of volunteer editors.
Cotton’s page portrays him fairly and accurately as an impressive candidate with an exemplary resume.
He has two twitter accounts @TomCottonAR has respectable 6200 followers and is updated regularly. @RepTomCotton has 5,000 followers is also active. Both accounts make effective use of pictures and graphics. We’d like to see a candidate of his caliber with a higher follower count hence the minus.
Candidates cannot underestimate the juggernaut that Facebook has become. There have been many stories about Facebook declining but most of those stories are based on younger users moving to other social media venues. Older people (read voters) still use Facebook and any effective campaign must reach people there.
Cotton has an astounding Facebook presence with 144,000 likes and 41,000 “talking about this”. Nearly every post has engagement well into the thousands.
It was a close call between A and A+ and the only room for improvement is the “likes” to “talking about this” ratio.
Overall (My Grade: A+)
I didn’t look at his Instagram, Pinterest, and whatever the kids are using these days. I should probably know more than I do about Instagram and Pinterest as they seem to have a sizable and growing audience especially with women. When I do find the time to go figure them out, I’ll start by seeking out Tom Cotton’s pages, confident that his technology team will have provided a sterling example of how to do it.
Having a big presence in social media and on the internet is only valuable if as a distribution method for quality content. The most recent video ad for Tom Cotton is extremely well done. Cotton manages to respond to a mean-spirited attack from his opponent with a good natured rebuttal that highlights many of the most impressive aspects of his resume.