I expected to start this month’s update on the Florida gubernatorial race with how February was the month that Charlie Crist finally engaged on social media. That’s how it started to look at the beginning of the month. And, indeed, the execution of the campaign in other places is picking up: hardly a day goes by without an email from the campaign (kind of uninspiring emails, but at least they’re trying); there are more and better posts on Facebook.
But with February in the history books, it looks like the Crist campaign is still trying to find its new media footing. The only thing that saves them, at this point, is that the primary looks to be a non-event, and it’s still 8 months out to the general election.
Let’s start with the activity on Twitter:
The month started out strong for Crist, with his mentions on Twitter consistently exceeding those of Scott. But by mid-month, the Crist presence on Twitter wilted, while towards the end of the month Scott’s mentions shot up. You can try to spin the mentions as positive or negative for either candidate, if you like, but the trend is clear: towards the end of the month Crist was fading from the conversation.
Because of their respective follower counts on Twitter (44K for Scott vs. 16K for Crist), even pulling even with Scott in mentions wouldn’t even things up; for Crist to be heard as often as Scott he needs to have nearly triple the mentions.
In Facebook, Crist is also making a weaker effort than Scott. Scott averages two updates a day to Facebook compared to Crist’s one — the same level of effort Nan Rich is putting into Facebook. As with Twitter, the key to Facebook is frequency; you need to be making constant updates for people to notice you.
The lower frequency of Facebook posts has a double whammy effect: there are few posts to be seen, and it wins Crist fewer followers. Just like on Twitter, Crist has about half of the followers Scott does (40K to 90K). Senator Rich has about 19K followers, for reference.
Finally, although this is a bit beyond the world of social media, let’s compare what you see if you decide to hit the campaign web sites for each candidate. First Scott’s:
Some things I’ll point out here: The design of the site is great, just really good execution. A nice, responsive design (make your browser wider and narrower and see what happens). Second, notice all the photos of Scott? Only one, at the end, is of just him. Scott is always engaged with other people.
OK, and now Charlie Crist’s:
There is so much wrong here that I just don’t know where to begin. Is the Crist campaign’s slogan Charlie Crist, TL;DR ? Will nobody pose in a picture with Charlie Crist? Do they just have one talented middle school kid running their web site who doesn’t have much time for the campaign now that soccer practice has started?
Compare this, even, to his 2006 campaign web site:
An 8 year old site looks amazingly better than his current one.
I just have to ask … where the hell are all these great, experienced political geniuses the campaign’s brought on board? Not on Twitter, on Facebook, nor on the web. Right now, the Crist campaign is at the level of a really talented city council candidate. If this is any indication of what’s going on inside of the campaign, it’s going to be a long, painful 8 months for Florida Democrats with a denouement of a slasher flick.