In 2008, President Barack Obama turned heads for putting social media services such as YouTube and Facebook at the forefront of his presidential campaign. But this time around, no social media platform appears to be irrelevant as the major party candidates try to woo younger voters via platforms including Tumblr, Eventbrite, and Square.
While Facebook and Twitter still reign supreme as social media campaign tools, web users can also find animated GIFs of President Obama’s latest speech on Tumblr or Mitt Romney’s most recent Foursquare “check-in” (three days ago at Augusta Expoland in Fishersville, VA). In addition, President Obama has uploaded his campaign playlist to Spotify and both campaigns “pin” images and campaign ads through official Pinterest accounts. Romney is even posting short videos to little-known social media platform Tout, where he has amassed more than 11,000 followers.
“The more people you talk to, the more likely you are to win,” Zachary Moffat, the digital director for the Romney campaign, told The New York Times. “Social extends and amplifies that.”
The exact payoff from the candidates’ expanded social media efforts is still unclear. But with Twitter noting that last week’s presidential debate was the most tweeted event in political history, both campaigns seem to be keeping tabs on as many social sites as they can.
“What’s the return on putting your pants on in the morning? We don’t know,” Jan Rezab, the chief executive of social media analytics firm Socialbakers told The Times. “But we just know it’s bad if you don’t do it.”
However, technology start-ups in the social media space aren’t the only ones benefiting from the upcoming presidential election. The Romney campaign also uses online ticket sales start-up Eventbrite for its event organizing. And since January, both the Obama and Romney campaigns have been using mobile payments company Square to accept campaign donations, according to Politico.