— Paul Ryan (@PaulRyanVP) August 11, 2012
Mitt Romney’s campaign revealed a new Twitter account for Paul Ryan today, and it has already broken 60,000 followers. Romney gained 1,688 new followers the day he launched his presidential campaign, and never received this many (excluding an odd spike). The only politician to ever receive more followers on one day is Barack Obama, and only once: the day Osama bin Laden was eliminated. So I consider this account launch an impressive success. What went right?
This account was created on August 2nd, at 11:34PM ET, which holds a hint about when Romney made his decision. It turns out @MarcoRubioVP and @TimPawlentyVP were created at the same time. The account @RobPortmanVP was created by @dan_verg_ on July 21st, “just to have some fun, because I was sure he’d be picked.” Securing Twitter accounts early is important; Twitter rarely releases accounts held by squatters. Leave the account unedited and unused for as long as possible so you don’t tip your hand about who created it. This was a slightly risky move.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) August 11, 2012
Mitt Romney was the first person on Twitter to mention @PaulRyanVP, and this release by a high profile individual is essential to bootstrapping a new account. The above tweet has broken 10,000 retweets, far outpacing his previous record of 4,108 retweets. Over the next few hours Herman Cain, John McCain, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Reince Preibus and other Republicans with influence showed their support using Ryan’s new Twitter handle. For those outside politics, look for somebody with a large number of followers such as a celebrity to help advertise your account on launch.
Two nice touches of this account: it has been quickly verified and they added Romney’s campaign logo to the profile image. Two problems: there is no biography and the profile image reminds me of Magneto from X-men. Prepare a biography ahead of time and then add it at the last moment so this doesn’t happen.
@paulryanvp account is following 56 white men, 11 white women, and 10 corporations/PACs. Nobody else. Apt metaphor.
— Zach Green (@140elect) August 11, 2012
I love looking at who an account follows, I think it says a lot. Paul Ryan’s congressional account only follows one other account: the @NationalDebt clock. So he must feel the same way. Somebody followed 77 accounts from @PaulRyanVP in a 15 minute period around noon, so there must have been some thought put into it beforehand. Note: I was wrong about the statistic included in my tweet above: @PaulRyanVP also followed Nikki Haley, whose parents are Sikh immigrants from India.
Overall, Romney’s vice-presidential announcement was much more successful on Twitter than live. Here are some takeaways:
- Secure Twitter accounts early and often.
- Secure all potential parodies and logical misspellings that you can find. I got @PaulRyanVIP, which we will talk about tomorrow.
- Prepare a photo, biography, and other information before then add it right before launch.
- Announce your new account in an organized fashion, and ask those with a major online presence to help bootstrap you.
- If you are a political candidate, contact @Gov right away to get it verified.
- Think about who you follow and make sure it reflects on you positively.