The Facebook mayor? Fulop spends big on social media | The Auditor
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop likes to be “liked”.
Fulop, who’s widely seen as positioning himself to run for governor, has been spending a lot of money on social media, The Auditor noticed.
Since being elected mayor in the spring of 2013, Fulop’s campaign account has paid more than $35,000 to Facebook and over $10,000 to Twitter.
And the mayor is honing his communication skills as well, paying $10,000 for “communications training” to Sheehan Associates, a Washington-based firm that that helps train people in public speaking, among other things. The firm’s motto is “When you’re serious.”
Fulop spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said no money from the city’s coffers has gone towards Fulop’s social media promotion.
Both Facebook and Twitter allow users to pay to promote posts so they’re seen by a wider audience. Fulop’s Facebook page has more than 35,000 “likes” and his individual posts typically generate hundreds to thousands of them.
“That’s an interesting amount of money to spend on social media advertising after you won an election,” said Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray.
The mayor is not up for reelection until 2017. But he’s been strongly signaling a desire to run for governor since becoming mayor. At a New Jersey Democratic State Committee dinner last month, keynote speaker Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia, said in his speech that he met “at least five people in the photo op that said they were running for governor,” according to PolitickerNJ.com. When McAuliffe urged them to stand up, Fulop did.
But Bob Sommer, an ally of Fulop’s who until recently served as his adviser, said it’s all about Jersey City outreach, even though the posts are not exclusively targeted to city residents.
“A better way to characterize it is those expenditures have gone to better ways to use Facebook,” Sommer said. “He’s one of very few who, all his posts — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — they’re all his. He finds it an incredibly important way to communicate with residents, businesses, potential businesses and potential residents.”
As for the communications training, Sommer said that the company is helping the mayor improve his Spanish, among other things.
“He obviously didn’t grow up in politics,” Sommer said. “He’s one of the youngest big city mayors in the country. So anything that makes him a better communicator is an immensely important thing.”