It is unclear to what extent the official White House Twitter and Facebook accounts will be used as subtle campaign arms for Barack Obama's reelection efforts. However, a handful of stats from a recent unscientific survey of White House followers and "likers" indicates the administration is interested in optimizing how the social platforms are used.
The results posted on the WhiteHouse.gov site last week were not based on a scientific study, yet they could offer a glimpse into what the administration deems important in the social media realm. For instance, the administration asked about how frequently people share White House posts and tweets, and what type of content they'd like to see posted to the accounts.
Of those who responded to the survey, more than 56 percent said they share Facebook posts from the White House monthly, and 78 percent said they've shared a post at least one time.
Twitter posts from the @Whitehouse account were retweeted by 35 percent of those surveyed at least once per month. Fifty-eight percent said they had retweeted a White House tweet at least once.
"The White House is obviously a major player in the 2012 election and we can intuit that they are actively thinking about who their social media audiences are and how to communicate with them most effectively," said Laura O'Shaughnessy, general manager of SocialCode, a Facebook marketing agency based in Washington, D.C. The agency released data today on Facebook adsfeaturing GOP candidates and key election issues.
The administration also appears interested in gauging what people want to read on the two platforms. "Top requested content" included breaking and latest news, photos of the day, and "interactive" posts such as links to live streams.
Evidently the administration counts some news items more appropriate for its Facebook likers, while other items are promoted to more narrow audiences by the reelection campaign. Case in point: The White House site featured a live stream of its White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics event on May 26, but neither the White House Facebook page nor the Twitter account mentioned it, instead focusing on the President's visit with G-8 leaders in France.
The Obama 2012 camp's Latinos for America Facebook page did, however, promote the event. "The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics works to ensure that all Hispanics receive a competitive education," noted a post linking to a live stream of the event to announce new members of Obama's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
"We'll be using this information to help improve and guide the efforts of our online program in the upcoming weeks and months," noted the White House site.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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