SOCIAL MEDIA: A Candidate’s Path to Increase Name Recognition

Written by Mary Anna Mancuso on December 12, 2014

Name recognition is the first step to winning an election.

With midterms over, speculation has begun over who will run for president. High profile names such as previous Republican presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Then there are lesser known potential contenders such as Republican Governor from Wisconsin Scott Walker and Governor Mike Pence from Indiana.

Governor Walker and Governor Pence are two Midwest heavyweights who have had their fair share of success stories in their time as Governor. Walker has a proven record of taking on labor unions and winning, while Pence made history by passing the largest tax cut in the state of Indiana. However, this does not make up for the face they’re not well known outside of their home states.

If Walker, Pence, and other lesser known candidates want to position themselves as a viable option in 2016 they’re going to have to step up their game and introduce themselves to Americans by utilizing social media. In a time of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest the ability to increase a candidate’s name id has never been easier.

Thanks to social media, we as a society are connected 24/7, and politicians have taken notice. In March 2011, months after a New York Times article declared, “few Americans, in fact, even know his name,” Tim Pawlenty used Facebook to make history by being the first presidential candidate to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee on social media. Pawlenty recognized early on the importance of using social media to reach voters and increase his name id.

In less than 24 hours after Pawlenty published his video announcement on Facebook, thenumber of likes on his page jumped from 74,000 likes to a little over 79,000 likes. While Pawlenty wasn’t able to secure the nomination in 2012, he understood the importance of utilizing social media to get in front of voters and ensure they knew his name.

Lesser known candidates such as Pence and Walker could stand to learn from Pawlenty if they want to make a run for the White House in 2016. A Vanderbilt study shows that brief exposure of a political candidate increases voter support by 13%; and with technology moving at a rapid speed candidates are going to have to cut through the noise. By leveraging Facebook ads and promoting posts on Twitter, lesser known candidates will be able to reach the voters where they congregate.

While Name recognition is not the only thing a candidate needs to win, it’s definitely the place to start. After all, raising money is a lot easier when the people know your name.

Originally published on Political Hype

Mary Anna Mancuso was Deputy Communications Director for Congressman Connie Mack’s U.S. Senate race in 2012. After innovating several successful social media campaigns, she was named one of Florida’s up and coming conservatives by the top political blog in Florida, “The Shark Tank.” Today, Mancuso hosts a lecture series called “Politics 3.0” which focuses on how social media has changed the political landscape. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Brockport College, Mancuso obtained a Master’s degree in Political Science with a dual concentration in American Politics and International Relations from Long Island University. Her background is in communications with a focus on online social media. Previously she has worked at the New York Bureau of Fox News, NBC-Universal, and as the Deputy Communications Director for the Republican Party of Virginia.