Who Should Win The 2012 Social Media Election?

With today being Election Day, I figured it would be appropriate to write a post related to politics. Then I thought better of myself and realized it would pretty much be impossible to write anything about the election without getting overly political.

To be completely honest, I don’t follow politics that closely, so I wouldn’t be the guy to write that anyway. Unless of course, the post had nothing to do with politics and was entirely related to social media.

So that’s what we will do. Let’s present the facts and vote for the leader of the free world, entirely based on their social media usage.

Mainstream media might tell you that President Obama dominates when it comes to this, and they are right in a sense.

From a PR perspective, he does a fantastic job getting his name out there in social media.

But there are gaps in his methods. So, I wondered if Presidential Candidate Romney was doing any better.

So I broke our ‘ballot’ out into 4 primary categories:

  • Owned Assets
  • Technical Implementation
  • Usefulness of the Content
  • Marketing General Share of Voice

Let’s look at the facts we can gather from social media platforms and related signals.

Owned Social Media Assets

Obama: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, Reddit, Google +, Linkedin, tumblr

Romney: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Google+, LinkedIn, tumblr

What I like about the Obama campaign’s use of social media is that they completely remove the guise that he might be tweeting all this information. It is clearly labeled in the bio that if he tweets it will be sent from “-bo”, which leaves the audience something to desire.

Both candidates are clearly promoting themselves, but Obama’s staff also seems to be more active and paying closer attention to his audience by RT’ing them, and talking with them.


On the other side, it appears that Romney (based on the screen shots below) sends out a similar generic message every couple hours, which entirely removes the notion that he is there and that someone is paying much attention to the feed.

Bonus for both candidates: 

Both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are highly active on Pinterest. It’s debatable who is doing better.

Technical Implementation

Anyone who reads my writing knows that I am big into Open Graph Tagging, Twitter Cards, controlling what people tweet and the small things we can do behind the scenes.

Let’s break down how well each of the campaigns have implemented these features.

  • Meta Data: Both candidates have Title Tags and Descriptions found on their site; however, Google appears to be ignoring them and they are not being displayed in the search engine (not good).
  • Open Graph: Both candidates have Open Graph Tags on their sites;  however, neither changes them from the Meta description, to tailor them to the unique audiences found on Facebook.
  • Twitter Cards:
    • Obama: Has twitter cards implemented on his site/
    • Romney: Does not have Twitter cards implemented on his site.
  • Authorship: Both candidates are using rel=”publisher” to confirm their association with their sites, but are missing the opportunity for authorship markup. It’s great that they are connecting their page to Google+ but they are missing the opportunity to show their headshots in the search engine as well as tie it back to their Google+ page.

I think that both candidates fall short in implementing these valuable assets across the site. I like that they are trying with rel=publisher, but someone missed the authorship part.

I will add, I especially like that Obama is using Twitter cards. Big win there.

Usefulness Of Content Posted

I have no major complaint with the content that both candidates are posting. They are posting friendly updates and images on Tumblr, they are putting up YouTube videos, and they are directing everyone where to actually vote. All of this is great. But can the search engines actually find all this content?


I took a look at both Obama’s and Romney’s YouTube accounts.

Both Candidates are posting video updates. And if I had to compare them, I would say Obama is much more to the point, and Romney is much more flashy in your face with snowboarding and extreme sports (kind of the way Chrome and IE go at it), and its much longer (about 10 minutes).

This alone is not a problem, but where Obama excels in this is that a transcript of the video is put in the description of the video, which helps the video get indexed for relevant themes.


Neither candidate is really blogging very much or sharing unique content that they pen regularly. I am not a political expert, but I do see this as an opportunity to rank higher for topics and policies they stand for. This would again tie back into authorship and associating the content with themselves.


Obama appears to have done a fantastic job doing G+ hangouts on air, town hall meetings on Reddit, of course what gets the news is his slight spelling error.


But nevertheless, for holding a town hall meeting on Reddit, that should clinch the social media voting for him. I mean could he get any savvier?


Hiding his logo in ASCII art on his website might be one of the geekiest Easter eggs around!

General Share Of Voice & Trends

I took a look at Google Trends and this is what I came up with:


There seems to be much more searching around Obama in general and he gets a lot more YouTube views:


Which implies to me at least, a larger presence digitally.


It seems like a close call to me. Both candidates are using the tools available to them. They do seem to “get it” to some extent, but I think there is still a lot of work they could have both done to boost up their presence and better share their messages. In future elections, political candidates can look to stretch these assets even further.

But since this is election day, let’s leave it to you to vote. Who do you think the winner should be?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social


About The Author: is the Director of SEO for Kahena, a Digital Marketing agency focused on sustainable SEO, vertical search optimization, and online advertising. At KDM, he leads strategy for all accounts and is experienced in SEO ranging from local, digital marketing, to national and global search marketing. Aaron also specializes in social media strategy development and its convergence with SEO, content creation, image and video optimization. Follow him on Twitter @AaronFriedman.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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  • http://twitter.com/spencerwade Spencer Wade

    Very nice review, thanks for sharing….

  • http://profiles.google.com/ajfried Aaron Friedman

    Sure thing Spencer. Glad you enjoyed :)

  • Chris Koszo

    Dixon Jones at Majestic SEO wrote a cool little blog post on how the candidates stack up backlink wise (who’s getting the most links, and how). Majestic’s last political predictions in the UK were accurate, so it’s pretty interesting: http://blog.majesticseo.com/commentary/predicting-elections-2/

  • http://twitter.com/ramseomaster ramseomaster

    Why Vote for Obama on 6th Nov.?? Want more n more jobs in next 4 years?? See http://gg.gg/wep

  • http://profiles.google.com/ajfried Aaron Friedman

    Yes I saw that, and at first considered including that in the post, but this was more centered around social. But nevertheless, very cool!


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