Grassroots Campaigning Via Social Media

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Grassroots Campaigning via Social Media: Mobilization and Fundraising on Facebook Abstract: While recent studies examine social media adoption by politicians, this study follows in the path of Gainous and Wagner (2014) by examining the content of social media communications from U.S. Senators and candidates for the Senate. We develop a marketing-based theory to explain which candidates are more likely to use social media for mobilization and fundraising. Through content analysis of over 15,000 Facebook posts made by candidates for the U.S. Senate, our analysis provides insight into the determinants of grassroots behavior on social media. We find that grassroots campaigning more commonly among challengers and Tea Party candidates who lack the name recognition and resources of more established candidates. Additionally, race characteristics, such as competitiveness and the relative positioning of candidates, influences social media posting strategies, with candidates in competitive races and candidates trailing their opponent more actively engaging in online grassroots campaigning. Social media platforms are among the most visited websites in the United States, comprising three of the top 10 most frequented sites as of February 2015 (YouTube #2, Facebook #3, and Twitter #7). Given their widespread use among the public, it is not surprising that nearly every member of Congress and would-be legislator has a social media presence. These politicians provide

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