Obama Family Portrait is Most Viral Facebook Content of 2012 Field

Ron Paul Campaign Has Greatest 'Viral Reach'

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As the field of presidential contenders looks to widen their viral reach by accruing Facebook fans, both organically and sometimes with the help of ads, it appears they're scoring wins with different content strategies.

A new study by Socialbakers presents the pieces of content on candidates' pages that had the most activity in the month of December.

Unsurprisingly President Barack Obama was the most viral with a family portrait posted on Dec. 15 that racked up nearly 87,000 likes. He has about 19 times as many Facebook fans as Mitt Romney, which means virtually all of the posts on his page have sky-high engagement when compared to any of the many Republicans looking to unseat him. Despite Democrats' ambivalence toward the president, Michelle Obama's popularity remains high, which explains why the photo performed well.

A Dec. 30 post on Mitt Romney's page stating, "The President spends a lot of time apologizing for America. He should be apologizing to America," scored 25,000 likes and was not a "sponsored story," according to Mr. Romney's digital director, Zac Moffatt.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's most engaging post was of an image containing the campaign logo and the text, "Perry Wins Debate! Can We Get 3,000 Likes?" on Dec. 10.

"We posted that image within five minutes of the debate being over and in my experience, asking for a specific amount of likes in a post is one of the best ways to raise interactions," said Mr. Perry's digital strategist Vincent Harris, in an email. (The post garnered more than 8,000 likes.)

The study also concludes that it was Texan congressman Ron Paul who had the greatest viral reach on Facebook -- 65 million users -- among Republicans in December. The figure was calculated by multiplying the total number of "likes" and comments on content on his page by the average number of friends per Facebook user. Mr. Paul, who has a devout and fervent social-media base, scored more than 22 ,000 likes with a simple Christmas Day greeting on Facebook.

A Super PAC backing Ron Paul, Endorse Liberty, has been spending heavily on Facebook ads on the congressman's behalf, according to ClickZ. The group reportedly bought $113,000 worth of ads between Dec. 21 and Jan. 2, which could have given engagement on his Facebook page a serious bump.

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