A research study on the recent May elections found that popularity in social media did not necessarily translate to votes.
The Social Media Intelligence Report (SMIR), released by PUBLiCUS Asia on Wednesday, showed that while social media is important, other activities to expand a candidate’s political base is needed to secure wider presence and coverage.
“The take-aways after [the] May 2019 elections on the use of social media: 1) Being active on social media alone is not a guarantee of victory, 2) Having a detailed, well-organized social media site can give the needed boost for candidates to be competitive, and 3) Social media helps stir emotional connections with voters,” the report said.
The SMIR was used to monitor how Filipino candidates, campaigners and voters utilize social media as a main campaign tool. The social media strength of a candidate was determined through four categories: popularity, virality, exposure and social capacity.
The monthly report ranked candidates based on candidates’ social media content, reactions and behavior index through a proprietary-software of AutoPolitic.
The SMIR found that popularity and virality have significant moderate relationships with the final results of the election.
It said five Senate candidates, who have consistently ranked well in the top 12 in terms of popularity and virality, eventually won in the elections — Senators Mary Grace Poe, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, María Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
“The more viral your videos are, the stronger impression and name recall come E-Day (election day),” the report said.
Meanwhile, the SMIR rankings did not guarantee a win, as shown in varying results of two candidates who did well in the overall ranking.
“Bong Go, who ended up in third place in the election, was consistent in all four categories in SMIR. With a good balance of the President’s endorsement and effective mobilization of social media, Go was able to convert votes with increased virality,” the report said.
But Dr. Willie Ong, who had a strong social media following in many platforms, lost in the elections. The report said he failed “to mobilize his online presence well due to lack of air and ground support, which is necessary to aid his digital strength.”
“This can explain his failure to reach the ‘Magic 12,’ coming in at 18th place,” the report said.