Like All Brands, Presidential Campaigns Must Convert Followers to ‘Customers’

Many brands know that success on Twitter is based on converting followers into active, loyal customers. It’s something presidential campaigns will need to keep in mind in the lead-up to this November’s election.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, speaking at AllThingsD’s D: Dive Into Media conference about his company’s role in the upcoming election, said, “Candidates that don’t participate on Twitter while the conversation is happening will be left behind.” To support his claim, Costolo cited the 14,000 tweets per minute that were generated as a result of President Obama’s failed “spilled milk” quip in his State of the Union speech.

Twitter is projected to have 24.1 million U.S. users who are of voting age in 2012—up from 3.4 million during the 2008 election, according to eMarketer. And they will most likely be using the microblogging site for receiving news updates. A study conducted by MGD Advertising found that 82% of U.S. adults now consume most of their election news on the Web, according to Mediabistro. In comparison, only 26% of U.S. adults in 2008 received some of their election news online. Twitter will be a major platform through which voters stay up to date on the latest news coming from the campaign trail. Part of this will involve following the candidates’ official Twitter accounts, as well as all of the pundits and news organizations whose job is to keep voters in the know.

As Election Day approaches, it will be interesting to see which presidential campaign is most effective in engaging its audience. Each campaign will have to develop effective strategies to convert its interested listeners into engaged and active followers—or, in the case of the upcoming election, voters.

Follow Sahil Patel: @sizpatel