What’s The Secret To Matheson For Congress’ Facebook Page Growth?

By Jennifer Moire 

Maybe a picture is worth 1,000 words: More creative and visual Facebook posts could be making the difference for one Democratic Utah congressman locked in a tight re-election bid. We’ll soon learn whether his Facebook efforts result in a win on Election Day. As part of our ongoing series examining how campaigns are using Facebook, we spoke to a representative with Rep. Jim Matheson’s campaign to win re-election in Utah’s Fourth Congressional District.

According to the spokesperson, the campaign started ramping up its Facebook efforts in August, when the page had about 1,700 likes. Today, the Matheson for Congress page has nearly 5,000 likes, and its reach has increased by 200 percent. The amount of people seeing the congressman’s content has quadrupled.

The campaign attributes the Facebook fan page growth to a few specific tactics:

  • Facebook ads: Matheson for Congress says it is promoting several Facebook posts and targeting to specific groups. At the same time, the team is making a point to be more visual in everything that is posted. Previously, a lot of posts were just text. Today, every post is some sort of meme or picture, which the campaign says has really helped in terms of engagement and page growth. The meme post is something we’ve seen throughout this election cycle. The presidential campaigns take a similar approach to underscore a point or message of the day, especially following the debates — think Big Bird, or binders full of women.
  • Campaigns within a campaign: Currently, the campaign is running a highly visual “Republicans for Jim” effort on Facebook, which features a different voter every day who is supporting Matheson. Earlier, the campaign tested the top 10 reasons why Matheson won the debates, with one reason posted each hour on a single day.  “The amount of people that visited the page blew our minds. We never thought we would get that response.”
  • Testing:  The campaign aide adds that willingness to try new things and test different types of content seems to be working and bringing people back to the page.

The content is so engaging, Matheson’s campaign says, that it is drawing in his opponent’s supporters, who visit the Facebook page and comment on posts.

The campaign says it is seeing comments on almost every post.  It’s “good to see our constituents engaging and helping us. We are impressed every day by how many people are sharing posts.”

The campaign’s advice to other politicos?

  • “Post everything, even if it’s something that you don’t think is a big deal. Take a picture and post it. You never know who it’s going to reach. Post everything, post every day, and visualize what you’re posting.”
  • This is a campaign that only recently embraced Facebook and other social media. In 2010, the campaign hardly used social media. “It’s amazing how its blown up.  We are excited that it’s working for us and it’s been a lot of fun.”
  • The first social election, as this cycle has been dubbed, isn’t just taking place at the presidential level.

Readers: Do you think Facebook will make a difference in this election cycle?