When it comes to Twitter follower gains, the clear winners of the November Democratic Debate were entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who gained 4,152 followers from 5:00 pm EST on Nov. 20 to 12:00 am EST on Nov. 21, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who gained 3,834 followers during the same time period. So what caused these two candidates to stand out from the pack?
In the leadup to the debate, Sanders received a jolt in new followers due to a tweet from an unexpected supporter – Ariana Grande. The singer, who has more than 67 million followers, tweeted at 3:55 pm EST about Sanders attending her show and how she and HeadCount, an organization created to engage music fans in politics, wanted to make him proud.
Meanwhile, Sanders at 5:33 pm EST responded to a CNBC tweet about America’s spending on wars since 2001 by asking, “How are you going to pay for that?” His tweet received more than 26,000 retweets and stirred up his follower base in anticipation of the debate.
Sanders tweeted a total of 15 times on during and following the debate on Nov. 20, receiving an average of around 2,000 retweets per tweet.
Meanwhile Yang, who edged out Sanders for the biggest follower growth, tweeted a total of 21 times during and following the debate, receiving an average of nearly 1,500 retweets per tweet.
An intriguing aspect of Yang’s Twitter follower growth is that the entrepreneur spoke the least during the debate, with just 1,267 words. In comparison, Sanders spoke 1,799 words during last night’s debate, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke the most, at 2,402 words.
But Yang used his limited speaking time to his advantage, getting a boost in engagement between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm EST in reaction to his tweets about not receiving the speaking time that he deserves, which gained traction from his followers, with the hashtag #LetYangSpeak being used nearly 8,000 times.
Also worth noting – before the debate, at 7:46 pm EST, Yang tweeted, “I miss Beto,” which garnered over 2,500 retweets, possibly in attempt to gain the attention of Beto O’Rourke’s supporters.