Who is winning the Facebook battle in the U.S. House of Representatives? We have an indication from the Republican side of the aisle, since the winners of the 2011 GOP New Media Challenge, were just announced.
Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana took first place for the second year in a row of the contest, which the GOP says generated 300,000 new Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and YouTube views. He increased his Facebook likes by 1,620 or 6.1 percent during the seven week contest.
What’s Congressman Fleming’s secret for success? “It’s as simple as listening and engaging with your constituents. A little friendly competition goes a long way to driving innovation, especially as we seek to communicate our positive vision,” he said in a press release announcing the win.
In all, the GOP Caucus said that 80 percent of Republican members are on social media and 106 of its members and committees participated in the challenge. Caucus Vice Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers added, the challenge “helps us better equip Members with innovative ways to use these tools.” And with the hotly contested 2012 elections approaching, Republicans will need to engage at every level.
Facebook is getting in on the action, announcing a Facebook DC Live event on Tuesday, July 12 with the House Republican New Media Caucus Chairs. The Members will engage with the Facebook community regarding their use of the social network and other tools to connect with constituents, colleagues, and other stakeholders about their activities in Washington and at home. Tune in to the live event here, or RSVP to watch and ask questions in advance, here.
Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes says the company plans a similar event with House Democrats in the future.
In 2010, Republicans claimed to have 79 percent of its members on Facebook (about the same as this year), compared to 34 percent of House Democrats, according to Mother Jones.
We asked the Democrats about their social media strategies for Members, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD) office replied:
House Democrats have been very active on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, for several years. We believe that tools like these are an important way to communicate with our constituents who are using social networks in growing numbers. We are always striving to utilize new technology to distribute information as quickly and effectively as possible, and I am committed to providing constituents every possible opportunity to have a conversation and have their voices heard.
Last June, our office (the then Majority Leader’s office) organized a social media contest to get members involved and engaged on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Members were ranked based on the number of new followers on each site. The top 50 members at the end of the contest were named online all-stars, and the winning members – Del. Pedro Pierluisi (PR) and Rep. Jared Polis (CO) — were named most valuable players.
A live online scoreboard monitored the progress throughout that time. Overall, the competition resulted in House Democrats creating over 50 new accounts and acquiring over 43,000 new fans, followers, and subscribers during the three weeks of competition.
Which lawmakers are you a fan of on Facebook?