GOP Members Battle For Facebook Fans

By Jennifer Moire 

Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives are entering the Facebook round of the 2012 New Media Challenge this week following a heated qualification round on the social network.

Among the leaders making it into the Facebook contest are 13 members of Congress and three House committees:  Oversight, Veterans’ Affairs, and Homeland Security.

You can track the action online at the challenge’s information page, where NCAA March Madness-style brackets are posted.

The Twitter round ended Friday.  Last year’s Facebook round generated more than 11,000 new likes for members, who sometimes pleaded for page likes using original posts, videos, and news articles to gain an advantage.

To recap this year’s contest, the New Media Challenge consists of three rounds of head-to-head matchups on Twitter, in which the members with the most new followers go on to the next round. The Facebook competition comes next, followed by the YouTube battle for the most new subscribers. Winners are judged in the final rounds — Elite Eight and the finals — based on all three new media platforms.

What’s in it for a busy member of Congress to participate in this type of contest? As we’ve heard previously on this site, the population is moving to Facebook, and Congress needs to engage voters and constituents on the platforms where they are spending time.

In addition, the competitive 2012 presidential election is spurring interest in congressional races, with several House members already engaged in heated campaigns. Social media is critical to targeting and identifying existing and new supporters, as we’ve learned from the presidential contest.