Ann Romney, you’ve probably heard, recently joined Twitter. You may have caught the news if you follow politics very closely. Since this story broke, however, you’ve probably not seen one of her tweets in your Twitter stream.
Now, this isn’t to single out the former first lady of Massachusetts for being slow to embrace the medium. She’s not the only one guilty of lackadaisical tweeting. In fact, there’s not much chance that you’ve seen first lady Michelle Obama’s tweets in your Twitter stream either.
Both women have Twitter accounts, and post an occasional tweet here and there, but their presence is largely absent from the conversation taking place on the social media platform. Simply put, this isn’t an effective use of their profiles and both campaigns are missing an opportunity to connect with female voters online.
To maximize Twitter’s potential of reaching the optimal amount of people, users should tweet 10 to 30 times a day depending on their goal. This may seem like a lot, but consider that a tweet stays in someone’s Twitter stream only for a few minutes, possibly seconds even. If someone is not tweeting a lot, only a fraction of potential viewers will see their message on Twitter.
Some politicians and politicos strategically disregard reaching the bulk of their followers—and thus recruiting new followers—and use Twitter mainly for earned media. But when you’re involved with a presidential campaign where victory sometimes hinges on one day’s news cycle or a small margin of votes, the once-in-a-while Twitter strategy is insufficient. The national and local press is covering your every step and, pure and simple, a campaign needs to be a part of the conversation and reach voters. That means producing tweets and reaching as many people as possible.
Here’s a look at the numbers as of May 2: Romney had tweeted 13 times from her Twitter account since her first tweet on April 11. Obama and/or her staff have tweeted 163 times since her first Tweet on Jan. 12.
Ann Romney’s Twitter production: 0.6 Tweets/day. Michelle Obama’s Twitter production: 1.4 Tweets/day.
Women are vital to a presidential campaign and, at least by all Twitter indicators, conservative women are fired up this year. There’s a great opportunity for Romney to be utilizing the energy, volunteers and activist groups on Twitter to connect with Republican women.
The recent Sandra Fluke controversy—and the one surrounding Romney’s career outside the home—energized conservative women, and two Twitter hashtags developed: #WarOnMoms and #WarOnWomen. Ultimately, in the world of hashtags, only one of them was going to live on. In the end, #WarOnWomen became more popular, and it’s still going strong.
We can compare both hashtags over time in a sample period of April 12 – 30. #WarOnMoms decreased from 2,800 uses on April 12 to only 21 uses on April 30. Meanwhile, #WarOnWomen has continued strongly, ranging from 3,500 to 7,000 uses a day.
It demonstrates that there are conservative women on Twitter who are very active and increasingly rallying around a specific theme.
The Romney camp is missing an opportunity to proactively corral these potential activists and put their energy to use. Instead of capturing this momentum and energy, Romney’s only producing 0.6 Tweets a day under her handle. And while it’s true that Obama’s Twitter account is not doing much better at 1.6 tweets a day, she has 805,000-plus followers—20 times Romney’s list.
Kellen Giuda is a partner at Digital Acumen, a technology company that focuses exclusively on the Twitter platform and, among other things, previously hosted the first ever all-Twitter presidential debate.