Why the Crist Campaign Isn’t Winning on Social Media or the Web

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:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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:

Click to enlarge, although you'd do better to go to the website itself

Click to enlarge, although you’d do better to go to the website itself

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:

Click to enlarge, but you pretty much get the point here.

Click to enlarge, but you pretty much get the point here.

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:

Click to enlarge,=

Click to enlarge

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.

Florida’s 2014 Gubernatorial Election on Twitter, January 2014

After flatlining most of the month, Charlie Crist’s campaign has started to show some life on Twitter towards the end of January.  Nan Rich’s campaign continues to limp along, however.

But when you look at the charts, the power of incumbency becomes strikingly apparent.  In January, there was a 1 day peak for Rick Scott of over 13,000 mentions on Twitter:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Over 12,000 of those mentions were in regards to a proclamation about sleep apnea. Still, even without that spike, we can see that at no point was Rick Scott really lagging in the conversation, and on almost every day he was leading it, sometimes strongly.

I’ll throw up a logarithmic plot so we can see what was happening to Crist and Rich throughout the month:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

What we can see is that towards the end of the month Charlie Crist was closing in on 1000 mentions a day — Rick Scott territory — while Nan Rich was struggling to stay above 10 mentions a day.  Let’s be clear, if you need a log plot to be seen, you’re in trouble.

The big uptick in Charlie Crist’s mentions occurred about January 20th, when Jim Messina joined the Crist campaign. As much of the discussion on Twitter was inside baseball, it will be interesting to see if the mentions keep coming once there’s no net new campaign organization news.

Charlie Crist is still flailing at Twitter, unfortunately.  In January, he averaged slightly less than one tweet a day.  Rick Scott, on the other hand, averaged almost 7 tweets a day.  It is a competition and Crist is still not showing up for the game.

Another, more mechanical problem is that Crist changed his Twitter user id from @charliecristfl to @charliecrist.   I’m not sure when it happened, but the way it was done is problematic.  People who are looking for and/or mentioning his old account are going to get lost in Twitterdom.  Yes, if you had followed his old account you will automatically be following his new account, but Charlie Crist needs to do a lot better than just to hang on to his old followers. And right now, if you google “Charlie Crist Twitter”, the first hit points you to his old user id — which someone has taken over and has zero tweets. That makes a bad impression.

Let’s hope, for Charlie Crist’s sake, that the recent hiring of Teddy Goff to advise the campaign is the start of a more savvy social media strategy.


Why does Charlie Crist get so few tweets from women?

In the last three months of 2013, 45% of all tweets that mention Rick Scott are from women, while only 38% of those that mention Charlie Crist are from women.  I’m surprised — I would have thought the leading democratic candidate would generate more excitement from women. When you combine this with Crist getting only 3/5ths as many tweets as Scott, it doesn’t paint a rosy picture for him at the moment. 

(For what it’s worth, 64% of Nan Rich’s mentions come from women, but she’s got bigger issues than that to deal with at the moment)

If you’re expecting an answer, I’m afraid I have none.  My guess is that since Crist isn’t campaigning on Twitter in any appreciable way, people are more talking about him, obliquely, in the context of the race rather that about the issues he wants to raise.  Scott, on the other hand, has a constant stream of news, activities, and events to discuss — and a more representative sample of people are affected by and react to those.

Perhaps, then, when Crist starts campaigning in earnest — especially on Twitter — we’ll see a more balanced group of people tweeting about him.  But until then, it’s Charlie & the boys club on Twitter.

How Florida’s Gubernatorial Hopefuls Ended The Year On Twitter

Let’s just say The Grinch stole Cristmas …

Click to enlarge, although it doesn't get better for Crist if you do...

Click to enlarge, although it doesn’t get better for Crist if you do…

After a huge spike for the announcement of his campaign, Charlie Crist has taken a seat in the back of the Twitter bus along with Senator Bill Nelson and fellow democratic hopeful Nan Rich.  Meanwhile, up front, Rick Scott is clearly driving the bus…

A look at a detailed analysis of Charlie Crist’s recent Twitter activity shows us a couple of key things:

  • He’s not tweeting every day (see the daily stats tab) or with any decent regularity
  • Most of the mentions of Crist are not in response to his Twitter activity, but spontaneous comments from others

Compare this to Rick Scott’s Twitter statistics, and you can see the difference a consistent and constant use of social media makes — much more of the Twitter conversation about Rick Scott is driven by Scott’s social media team.  About 12% of the mentions of Charlie Crist on Twitter are driven by Crist, while almost 40% of the discussion of Scott is driven by his tweets.  Charlie Crist should be able to swamp the discussion on Twitter right now, given that the news about him is generated by him. 

The difference a little effort makes is between being adrift in social media and controlling or at least shaping the conversation.  Even Senator Nan Rich is able to drive 33% of the conversation about herself on Twitter.

Crist’s half-hearted use of Twitter even extends to his home page, which looks like he hired a 13-year old to do a knock-off of Nan Rich’s Twitter home page:


Where have I seen this before?

Compare that to Rich’s:


I knew it looked familiar!

Rich’s looks more professional all the way around.  And I can’t help but noticing that in the photos block, Crist’s photos are basically all just of him, while Rich’s are of her and other people.  Charlie’s managing to turn Twitter into an anti-social media, I’m afraid.

For the sake of completeness. I’ll note that Rick Scott’s page is a bit stark in its design:

2014-01-02_13-39-36 But at least his photos aren’t all of himself.

What’s disturbing about Crist and Twitter aren’t the numbers or style themselves, per se. They can all be fixed long before the elections.  Rather, it’s the lack of effort that the Crist campaign is putting into social media. Given the cost of a bare-bones social media effort is so small, the lack of investment here, where the ROI is so high, makes me wonder about whether the campaign is getting the big things right, too.

The 2014 Florida Gubernatorial Race on Twitter — The Elephant in the Room

The start of November saw Charlie Crist’s filing to run for Florida’s Governor as a Democrat.  This was an event so unsurprising that the GOP had attack ads out virtually before his announcement. Still, the announcement caused a splash on Twitter, and Crist managed to dominate the conversation for a few days:

November, 2013, chart of Twitter mentions for Florida's gubernatorial candidates

Click to enlarge

Continue reading