How Perry And Gingrich Dominate Romney in Social Media Influence

mitt romney 2

Photo: Flickr user Gage Skidmore, CC.

Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich have more than twice the “social pull” among Twitter followers than Republican presidential nomination favourite Mitt Romney, according to an analysis of the GOP candidates’ social media influence.The analysis was performed for Business Insider by PeekAnalytics, the social audience measurement unit of the people search engine PeekYou, in an attempt to find out who in the Republican presidential field is best utilising social media to publicize their campaign.

Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann have both spent brief periods leading the race but their influence on Twitter — or lack thereof — suggests they are already also-rans. Their followers have less reach than even the average Twitter user, PeekAnalytics suggests.

As for Ron Paul, he is popular with Ivy League graduate Twitter users, but no one else.

Newt Gingrich's fake Twitter army dominates

Unsurprisingly, Gingrich has more Twitter followers than any of the other candidates by far. This is because he bought many of them from companies that supply thousands of 'spam' followers, Gawker reported.

  • Total Twitter Followers
  • Newt Gingrich: 1,370,386
  • Herman Cain: 168,171
  • Mitt Romney: 164,416
  • Michele Bachmann: 115,704
  • Rick Perry: 108,475
  • Ron Paul: 79,125

Perry has the largest proportion of real followers

Perry has the greatest proportion of 'verified' followers. This is important because the web is riddled with people using fake identities. According to PeekAnalytics, verified followers are: 'actual people, with verifiable online identities and footprints.' Despite Gingrich's large number of fake followers, he still has nearly half a million genuine followers -- the most of the field.

Number of 'verified' Twitter followers:
Rick Perry: 51,402 ↔ 47%
Herman Cain: 77,548 ↔ 46%
Mitt Romney: 76,002 ↔ 46%
Ron Paul: 34,845 ↔ 44%
Michele Bachmann: 50,418 ↔ 43%
Newt Gingrich: 477,054 ↔ 34%

It's not just about the sheer number of Twitter followers you have. It's also about how influential that network of followers is. Social Pull is 'an even deeper, more accurate, and significant idea of who exactly is receiving a given social media message, and how far that message can potentially travel to those motivated to receive it.' It is expressed as a multiple of the influence of an average Twitter user.

Surprisingly, Perry and Gingrich have far wider influence than Romney:

  • Social Pull
  • Rick Perry: 1082x
  • Newt Gingrich: 934x
  • Michele Bachmann: 526x
  • Mitt Romney: 404x
  • Herman Cain: 466x
  • Ron Paul: 184x

Romney v. Gingrich: Gingrich wins ... or does he?

Gingrich (in blue) has more total consumers following him than Romney (green). But as many of Gingrich's followers are fake Romney can draw consolation from the fact that he has a far greater proportion of consumer users than Gingrich. Individual verified consumer users are way more important than business or 'private' followers, as consumers vote (businesses don't) and private users deliberately reduce their influence on Twitter by making their Tweets closed to the public.

Romney's female problem

One third of Gingrich's followers (in blue) are female but only one quarter of Romney's (in green) are women. Gingrich also over-indexes more with the middle-aged and elderly.

Ron Paul, the Ivy League candidate

Ron Paul's supporters (green) are much more likely to be Ivy League graduates than Perry's are (blue). If a score of 100 per cent represents the average presence of Ivy Leaguers among a person's Twitter followers, then Perry is under-supported among them and Paul has nearly double the average.

Bachmann and Cain: the shut-ins of the social media world

It's not just about Twitter, of course. PeekAnalystics also looked at the total number of connections the politicians' Twitter followers had in other social networks such as Facebook and FourSquare. On that measure, Michele Bachman (green) and Herman Cain (blue) both have low 'reach.' In fact, they have less reach than the average Twitter user -- surprising considering their high media profiles.

Download a full copy of the report here.

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