BalloonsThere is no denying the U.S. presidential election was driven by social media. It goes without saying that this was the most social election yet, with the social media strategies employed by both parties manifesting themselves on our Facebook and Twitter feeds daily. But while the U.S. social media campaigns were widely considered a success, it appears that the French presidential campaigns stumbled significantly, providing a valuable insight into what makes a successful and engaging social media strategy.

Quality vs. quantity

Occurring earlier this year on April 22nd, the French presidential election revealed how the U.S. campaigns approached social media engagement differently, namely, in terms of the battle between quality over quantity. It is easy on social media to create vast amounts of meaningless jabber. Drafting evocative and impactful posts, on the other hand, is much more difficult. Unfortunately, both French presidential candidate sided with quantity over quality.

Simply put, both French candidates drowned their followers in content. Nicolas Sarkozy tweeted an average of 48.3 times a day, while Francois Hollande tweeted an average of 30 times per day. For comparison, the Obama campaign tweeted an average of about 2 times a day. The followers of Sarkozy and Hollande were inundated with tweets, not only annoying their followers, but also significantly reducing the impact of the tweets by extension of the concept of diminishing marginal returns. Obama’s approach, instead, did not aim to push vast amounts of information. Instead, it sided with quality over quantity, aiming for a few impactful tweets a day and not filling his follower’s home feed.

The business’ social media connection

It is tempting for businesses to push information like the French campaigns did, however, a few meaningful or witty tweets a day vastly outweighs the impact of many forgettable, spammy ones. It is engagement that truly matters in business, and followers are more likely to connect when the content invites interaction. Spamming followers like the French presidential candidates did is therefore not recommended. Plus, if 6 billion dollars were poured into both U.S. campaigns this election season, one would imagine that those at the forefront of social media strategy would be at the helm. Deciding to tweet 2 times a day was no accident of Obama’s campaign, and it likely represents the product of significant research. And if the U.S. candidates were highly successful in selling themselves to the public, then the same approach applies to selling products and services. So,  be an Obama or Romney on Twitter, not a Sarkozy or Hollande.