While we looked at the candidates’ social-media presence fairly often during the primary, we haven’t done much with it since. To that end, I am going to review the online presence of each candidate (not counting independents or write-ins) in all four congressional races, AR-Sen, and AR-Gov. We might hit some of the other down-ballot stuff as well if we have time. We’ll look at what kind of use each candidate is making of the more common outlets (Facebook, webpage, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr) and note if they are using any of the less known outlets (e.g. Foursquare, GoWalla, etc.)
Up first, AR-01.
Other: Features a blog on his webpage
Integration: Assuming you are looking at the pages on a regular desktop/laptop rather than a smart phone, visitors to Chad Causey’s webpage can access his Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts without ever having to scroll (see screenshot). With a decently sized monitor, you can even “Like” Causey’s Facebook page without scrolling and without going to the actual Facebook page. My only knock from an integration standpoint is that there is no link to the Flickr account, but that is minor as such things go.
Crawford, on the other hand, has the links to his Facebook page and Twitter account as well as the “Like” Facebook interaction box positioned about halfway down the page. This is not the end of the world, but it’s certainly not preferable. Worse, Crawford doesn’t link to his YouTube or Flickr accounts at all.
Consistency: One of the most overlooked aspects of building one’s social-media brand is consistency in the actual URLs whenever possible. Causey scores 100% on using the same form of his name “chadcausey” in each of the URLs; 60% on using the same account name, “chadcauseyforcongress,” as his webpage address; and limits the variations on the main account name to one shortened version.
Conversely, Crawford is all over the place. His webpage is at “meetrickcrawford,” but that phrase is not repeated in any of his other accounts; he uses two different forms of his name, “crawford” and “rickcrawford,” across the platforms; he uses three different account names; and he even has a variation in his preposition, using both “for” and “4.” Even more strange, he actually owns “crawfordforcongress.com,” yet rather than use that address as his webpage URL, it merely redirects to “meetrickcrawford.com.”
Activity: Causey’s webpage was last updated yesterday with the news of his calling for congressional pay cuts; his Facebook page was last updated yesterday with news of Causey leading in the latest DCCC poll; his Twitter account was last updated September 18 with the rather mundane and detail-free “Packed day for the Causey campaign today…”; his YouTube channel was last updated September 8 with his “Generation Gap” commercial; and his Flickr account was last updated April 7.
Crawford lasted updated his webpage today with news of his endorsement by the National Right to Life PAC; his blog was last updated September 4 with a post about the jobless rate being the fault of “Obama and Pelosi;” his Twitter account was last updated on September 9, touting a $25 donation from Paragould and linking people to a page where they could donate as well; his YouTube channel was last updated August 30 with his miltary-themed commercial; and his Flickr account was last updated on July 24.
Donating: The “Contribute” button on Causey’s webpage is visible without scrolling and is done in red (all other buttons in that column are blue). Causey does not seem to use his Twitter feed or Facebook account to solicit donations at all.
Crawford has two separate links for donations on the main screen of his webpage, the second of which shows that a donor can use any major credit or debit card. His Twitter feed is almost entirely messages that tout what another donor has given and ask readers to click a link (provided) to donate. His Facebook page does not seem to be used to solicit donations.
Miscellaneous: Causey’s webpage address is featured on his most recent commercial two different times, for a total on-screen time of about 10 seconds. Crawford’s ad features his URL for roughly 25 seconds from the beginning of the ad until it is replaced by the “Paid for by…” tag. I definitely prefer the latter approach there.
Crawford uses his Facebook page as a recruitment tool to find people willing to phonebank for him. Causey does not, but he does have a couple status updates that ask people to put signs in their yards. Both men seem to have abandoned their Flickr accounts primarily because they decided to post pictures on Facebook instead.
Neither candidate has forayed into the world of Foursquare or GoWalla as a way to let people know where they are and where they are going to be, which seems like a wasted opportunity for one of them.
Conclusion: While the candidates have the same presence in terms of accounts, I give a slight edge to Causey in social-media usage due to the frequency with which he updates his accounts, better consistency of URLs across the platforms, and better integration and cross-reference between the platforms. Causey could take a couple tips from Crawford, however, with respect to using Twitter as a fundraising tool and placement/screen time of his URL should Causey do another commercial between now and November 2. Likewise, Crawford’s usage isn’t far off of where he’d probably like it to be, and I would recommend that he copy some of Causey’s tactics vis-a-vis integration and activity if he wishes to fix the problems.