Number of Facebook fans is less important than how those fans are engaged

Facebook FansEach month — whether on a mobile device or a computer — the average American spends over 7 hours and 45 minutes on social media, which is about 22% of the total time spent online. Presently, there are over 150 million U.S. adults with a Facebook account – a fact that political campaigns are keenly aware of. This year, almost every serious candidate for federal office invested in a Facebook page and strategy.

Politico analyzed the relationship between fan base and fan engagement in 33 of the most competitive House races and all 33 Senate races over a three-month period, ending with the November 2012 election. For the most part, having more fans than your opponent did not correlate with a victory on Election Day. In all of the Senate races except Arizona, candidates who were more engaged with their Facebook fan base won elections, even when their fan bases were smaller than that of their opponent. The results were similar for the House candidates, although only 20 of the 33 most competitive races were won by candidates with a measurable Facebook fan engagement advantage. The key to activating fans is creatively embracing Facebook: deliver content that connects with voters, motivates your base and drives support, while appealing to core values, emotions and reason.