With the mid-term elections fresh in the rear view mirror, the serious contenders for the 2012 Presidential nomination are unofficially kicking off their campaigns. And the two likely front runners, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, have started with a pretty smart Facebook strategy.
At TechRepublican, Ethan Demme noticed Mitt Romney’s new Facebook ads running immediately after the election, congratulating “high profile” candidates. Tim Pawlenty has been doing the same thing. But the strategy appears to be even more specific than that. Here are the ads I saw:
What does incoming Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin have in common with the Feingold-conquering Wisconsonite Senator-elect Ron Johnson? Turns out, I’ve clicked “like” on both of their Facebook pages. (I’ve also seen Romney ads supporting former and future Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, whose Facebook page I’ve also liked.) In other words, I’m a self-identified supporter of these politicians – a factor that Facebook’s ad platform allows campaigns to take into account when they target advertising.
By playing on the interest of possible supporters, Romney and Pawlenty share an excellent outreach strategy. The question will become what each campaign does with the supporters they recruit. Pawlenty has already made a push to take advantage of Facebook’s capability for activation through interactive town halls, while Romney’s page is more or less a one-way communications channel – but neither has taken a decisive lead in innovation on this platform.