Two Mexican-American twins, Omar and Rafael Rivero, are starring in social networks a phenomenon that is not usually associated with liberal-leaning political pages and are having extraordinary traffic with Occupy Democrats, a page that they created on Facebook in 2012 with the intention of fighting the conservative media narrative on social networks.
In conversation with Univision Noticias, Omar Rivero identified himself as a “proud Democrat” but warned that the party’s almost certain presidential candidate Joe Biden has an uphill victory in November against President Donald Trump if his campaign does not improve the network strategy. social.
Rivero, who claims to be in contact with the Biden campaign to help them spread their message on Facebook, expressed amazement at the ignorance that most Democratic financiers have on social networks. A fundamental disadvantage compared to its Republican rivals, especially when the pandemic has limited candidates for online events.
Occupy Democrats He has 8.5 million followers on Facebook, well above the 2 million who follow Biden but only a third of the 29 million who follow Trump.
Rivero assures that along with his brother and eight employees, Occupy Democrats Over the last four months, he has obtained between 50 and 90 million engagements (comments and republications), compared to nearly 40 million obtained by Fox News and between 25 and 35 million obtained by Trump.
The following is an edited, summarized and translated version of the interview that took place in English:
A: Does having more traffic on social networks translate to winning an election?
OR: Without a doubt yes. I’ll give you the best example: In 2016, Trump barely had a team on the ground, he hardly had offices, he was a Facebook candidate. It was there that he spent most of his money and time. Hillary Clinton had an incredible strategy on the ground but Trump surprised her by using Facebook to basically steal the election by brainwashing people. In my opinion, Facebook is the new political battleground where campaigns win and lose. It is more important than anything else.
A: Even more important than direct, personal relationships with voters?
OR: Without a doubt yes. Five years ago it was already true. Now it certainly is.
A: But Biden’s digital strategy lags behind. What does that say about Biden as a candidate?
OR: I think the main problem is that the Biden campaign is not working with professionals in social networks specialized in organic reach (number of people who saw an unpaid post on your page on the screen) and not on page visits. Like Michael Bloomberg, who spent $ 1 billion on Facebook and barely moved the needle.
“Conversations with Biden”
Rivero indicated that he is currently conversing with the Biden campaign to help them carry out a strategy on social networks, although the publication Politico recently gave as a fact that Occupy Democrats already working with the Democratic candidate.
In fact, Rivero planned to receive a call from Biden campaign officials just after speaking to Univision Noticias. At the time of publication of this note, the campaign of the former vice president had not responded to Univision Noticias what was the relationship with those responsible for the page.
A: What would be the contribution of Occupy Democrats?
OR: We will help them creatively, they will use our content creation skills and experience, and we will also use our network to help them spread Biden’s message so that he can defeat Trump on social media.
A: Why are Republicans more effective on social media?
OR: President Obama and his team were very good at digital, but digital is now almost prehistoric. It is still an important technology but the real value is in social networks, which are even more important than the Internet itself. Social media is where opinions really form because people interact with each other. The right has invested a lot of money identifying people and investing in its own structure. Two months ago I started introducing myself to (Democratic) financiers and they say, ‘Nice to meet you, we never hear about social media.’ As if social networks were new. But on the right, they discovered it five years ago. My brother and I have never received a dollar from a financier. Everything we do is just him and our team increasing free organic reach on Facebook. So we beat Fox News and Trump without spending a dollar because we have the truth on our side.
A: Why did you decide to approach the Democratic financiers?
OR: Basically to offer my skills as a volunteer. It feels like a moral duty to do what I can to keep Democrats from handing Facebook over to Trump as they did in 2016. There is as great a disconnect between funders and the Democratic Party, and social media experts. Because they rely on digital experts who have never organically created pages. I have been educating financiers for two months because it is not their fault that they do not know.
A because Occupy Democrats is it so popular
OR: My brother and I are pioneers in this industry. We have so much experience creating content that it is optimized to perform well on Facebook. I think our competitive advantage is that we produce better posts.
A: Is the success due to the meme format?
OR: No. There is no secret about which format works best for you on Facebook. There are very popular pages that only publish memes, some only publish videos and others only articles. I think the quality of the posts makes a big difference. Readers vote democratically. If a post receives a lot of impressions, it will reach more people.
The “truth” as a problem
Although Rivero says the key to the success of his page is that “he always tells the truth”, PolitiFact, a publication dedicated to verifying the information circulating on the Internet, has posted 10 false information in Occupy Democrats and qualifies it as an unreliable source It is something that Rivero recognizes, although he assures that it is not worse than what happens to other responsible publications.
OR: We did not always agree with factcheckers. But we appreciate your work. We have been working closely with them, especially for the past two years since Facebook implemented its own system. Every three or four months we make a mistake. We publish 80 information a day, so an error every three or four months is like any other great publication. As soon as we learn of an error, we post a correction in the post.
A: How feasible is the reelection of President Trump?
OR: If the election were to take place on social media, I think Trump would win convincingly right now. In real life, if there is no cure or vaccine for the virus soon, I don’t think American voters will forgive Trump for the deaths, pain and lost jobs he caused.
A: Can President Trump be re-elected thanks to his work on social media?
OR: If the Biden campaign and the Democrats don’t wake up to the reality that the ground has changed under their feet and now the most important way to win voters is social media, I think there is a danger that even with their disastrous response to the coronavirus, Trump You can win the 2020 election by brainwashing people with lies, just like you did in 2016.
A: Does Biden have time to make adjustments?
OR: Because we have the truth on our side and we are six months away from the election, if the Biden campaign decides to work with social media experts, like us and others, and really embraces the liberal ecosystem on Facebook, I think there is an opportunity.
A: How does your Mexican origin impact your work?
OR: As a Mexican American immigrant living the American dream, what Trump has done and said not only to Mexicans but to Hispanic immigrants from Central and South America, has been incredibly dangerous to American identity. It has poisoned race relations only to advance its political ambitions. It’s a very personal thing to me, and I will do what I can to make sure the next president is open-minded and protects true American values.