Social Media Case Study

“Castillo launched her campaign with three times more money than Dr. Ron Maurer, more high-profile support and the advantage and name recognition of being the incumbent. She went after television ads and made visits around the state. Maurer mostly used social networking sites to deliver his message.”  – May 21, 2010


Dr. Ron Maurer, an Oregon State Representative from Grants Pass decided to run for State Superintendent in the early Spring of 2010 against Susan Castillo, a two term incumbent. With only 3 months until election day on May 20th and a small campaign budget, Maurer knew he had tough task ahead of him and leaned on Common Ground to help. How would Maurer compete with an established incumbent with more than three times the campaign funds? Common Ground relied on social media for the answer to get Maurer’s campaign message out to Oregonians. Castillo didn’t use social media and relied on traditional tools and methods to get her message out.


Utilize social media channels to connect and engage Oregonians to vote and volunteer for Ron Maurer.


With limited time and campaign budget, Maurer needed to quickly and effectively reach Oregonians with social media and his message.


Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels were built and integrated into all of Maurer’s e-communication tools. Maurer used social media integration in his website, enewsletter, direct mail and other materials. Maurer quickly developed an army of supporters on his Facebook page, they were constantly commenting and sharing his page’s content. Within days, Maurer went from zero Facebook fans to over 1,000 and eventually 1,500 and soon surpassed 100 Twitter followers. Maurer’s Facebook fans were extremely active, nearly 72% of his fans were interacting with Maurer and advocating for his candidacy on Facebook. Email outreach was also utilized by Maurer’s campaign. He had over of 70,000 targeted emails from swing areas throughout the state to promote engagement in his social media channels.


Social media and digital communications turned out to be the great equalizer for Dr. Maurer’s campaign. Despite all of the advantages that Castillo possessed, Maurer only lost the race by just over 300 votes, resulting in Castillo getting 50.02 % of the total statewide vote. The clash of Castillo’s traditional vs. Maurer’s new outreach tactics proved to be an interesting look into the potential and impact of social media in campaigning.