As expected, social media is on fire this morning and will continue throughout the day as both President Obama and Governor Romney secure their votes from the American people.  Both candidates have a strong social media presence but it appears the incumbent has a slightly larger lead on Twitter, evidenced by the amount of activity and trending topics that involve Obama and not Romney.

I was speaking with the Washington Post yesterday describing the major role that social media will play on Election Day and it seems to be coming true.  Arguing that President Obama seems to have a stronger social media influence is evidenced today by the fact that 3 out of 10 trending hashtags on Twitter involve President Obama while none represent the Romney / Ryan ticket.  What’s more, President Obama is even running a sponsored and promoted initiative today through Twitter.  This could indicate positive news for the President as Governor Romney has an inferior presence on Twitter today.

An infographic by OpenSite designed to show the impact of social media and the Election indicates that this year, 4 out of 5 adults will gather their election news through the internet.  It furthermore explains that 53 percent of adults will fact-check claims made by both candidates online this year.  The most staggering number is the fact that 40 percent of eligible voters will use social media to help them make their decision this year on who to vote for.  Given these statistics and the current influence of President Obama, he looks to have an advantage.

CNN has one of the better live election maps and is tracking the votes all day as they come in.  NBC News provides a comprehensive 2012 Election Book that includes statistics, battleground map, advertising spending and more.  FOX News also provides a live election map including up to the minute updates from the polls.

On Sunday, a pizzeria owner from Fort Pierce, Florida named Scott Van Nuzer was responsible for one of the most notorious photo opportunities in Barack Obama’s Presidency and the 2012 campaign thus far.  When Van Nuzer bearhugged Obama in front of several onlookers and photographers at his restaurant, Big Apple Pizza; he most likely expected to experience a rapid influx of positive mentions of his establishment online.  However, the social media backlash that the photo generated may have actually had negative impact on his business.

On the popular local search engine, Yelp, Big Apple Pizza was flooded with hundreds of negative reviews and comments from opponents of Obama’s campaign.  Yelp has since removed much of the “spam” content that was added following the release of the photo, but only time will tell if Van Nuzer’s business will truly be impacted by the incident.

Social media has proven to be a powerful marketing tool for many companies, but it must be properly managed in order to effectively enhance a brand’s presence, both on and offline.  The overall visibility that Big Apple Pizza gained from this publicity stunt and the support of the Democratic demographic will be valuable to the business, but the negativity expressed by Obama’s detractors may be problematic for Van Nuzer going forward.

Regardless of the impact that the “Bearhug Heard ‘Round the World” may have on Big Apple Pizza or even the President Obama’s campaign, it has certainly made an impact within social media and is likely to encourage many business owners to increase their social media management efforts.

For more on “The Bearhug Heard ‘Round the World”, check out my latest video on the official WebiMax YouTube channel and for more updates on this and other stories, follow us on Twitter: @WebiMax