Admit it, you can’t take your eyes off channels like CNN and FOX News and their campaign coverage leading up to the 2016 Presidential election. Need proof? How many of you checked out Donald Trump’s press conference and speech in Dubuque, Iowa last night, Tuesday August 25? It was “must watch” TV and Trump’s Twitter account was a must follow before, during and after the prime time event. Others are watching Hillary Clinton and the problems that are plaguing her run for the White House. Maybe you are fascinated by the large crowd of candidates that are running on the Republican side. How do you feel about Vice President Joe Biden entering the race?
Following the campaigns on our HDTVs is one thing, but if you are watching your social media feed, you are really missing out. Social media has changed since the 2012 election cycle as campaigns now have the ability to target ads at specific voters and audiences. Facebook has Q&A tools that candidates can use to interact with their base. Twitter has become more popular and even websites like Pinterest and Instagram offer possibilities for candidates.
Postano, a social visualization company that works with Fortune 500 companies is offering insight on how social media is being used leading up to the 2016 Presidential election.
There is no overall ‘best’ platform for political campaigns, each platform has its own purpose and unique audience that the candidates are catering to,” explains Justin Garrity, President of Postano.
“Twitter is great for announcing campaigns, quoting candidates, distilling policies in sound bytes, and promoting positive links and articles about that candidate. It’s also one of the best platforms for showing authenticity and personality. Donald Trump has excelled here as his Twitter profile is a manifestation of his personality. It feels like you are listening to him talk as you read through his timeline and his unique voice shines through much stronger than other candidates. Instagram is being used by the candidates for sharing the culture and brand of the campaign. You’ll see more historical “TBT” photos, artistic shots, re-posted user-generated content, and behind-the-scenes of the campaign trail. Facebook is a great platform for rallying communities as friends and family see each other liking, commenting, and sharing candidates’ messages. Hillary’s campaign has created dedicated Facebook pages for the states she is campaigning in like ‘Hillary for Nevada’ to rally people and engage them on a local scale.”
Garrity also explains which candidate is winning on social media so far and why.
“Trump, Hillary, Bernie Sanders – these three are activating fans and are achieving huge engagement on their posts.”
And a closer look at what Donald Trump is doing.
“Trump is demonstrating his arrogance, his stubbornness, his “no-nonsense” attitude on social media and his voice is really resonating with people. People feel like they are getting the real Trump on social media, not a stuffy campaign voice that is afraid to anger people. Nearly every Tweet of his has 2000+ RTs and favorites. Hillary is making her candidacy a historic one and if she wins, a vote for her is a vote for women and breaking down barriers. Even though she is talking about ideas, her social strategy is clearly targeting this historic achievement and her deep history and experience in politics. Everything the campaign produces is tightly controlled and crafted; her YouTube channel is a great example.”
Bernie Sanders is also using social media when appropriate, says Garrity.
“(He) is great at communicating ideas that appeal to the masses. He is using social media to get support by advocating for fairness and intelligence. His sound bytes are not political, they are strong ideas that have an appeal to the thinking voter. He has been able to draw large crowds and activate those people by getting them to create user-generated content. His fans have spawned several hashtag organically like #feelthebern and his campaign has encouraged them by re-sharing them.”
Might Instagram lead a path to the White House for one candidate? Hashtag use on Instagram is a popular pastime, but let’s look at how the leading candidates are doing when it comes to their most popular hashtag on Instagram. Donald Trump – #MakeAmericaGreatAgain – 10,314 posts, Bernie Sanders – #FeeltheBern – 35,925 posts, Hillary Clinton – #Hillary2016 – 65,035 posts and Jeb Bush – #allinforjeb – 321 posts.
Like many experts, Garrity really does believe social media use could determine the election in 2016, and not just the Presidential election.
“Communicating ideas that resonate with people must be done through social media. That is how a majority of people are learning about candidates positions. They are seeing the reactions from people who are influential to them, whether it be family on Facebook or activists on Twitter.”
Note: This is Rick Limpert’s exclusive interview with Justin Garrity for atombash.com.