It’s election season. Some of you may feel like your voice is finally being heard — and others may feel straight outta options. That’s the beauty of the American election system. It’s what makes the United States great. For 240 years, Americans have been throwing aside old ideals and starting revolutions.
One of those revolutions took place in 2008. That year, Barack Obama made history as the first United States presidential candidate to use social media for a campaign advantage. The Obama campaign harnessed the power of social media to reach young voters. Marketing agencies say the strategy was so effective because Obama supporters didn’t just send out a few clever tweets; they used social media to start a movement, with Barack Obama as the leader.
The 2008 election cycle forever changed the way presidential campaigns are run. Candidates today must scramble to find the best marketing agencies and consultants to help them connect with the masses. They look to marketing agencies to tell them how their messages are received. The 2016 presidential candidates are no different. Social media is the new political bread and butter.
Figures current as of May 28, 2016.
Facebook is a staple of any social media campaign. It’s an oldie but a goodie — kind of like the presidential candidates (though goodie is debatable depending on your political inclinations).
Donald Trump by far leads the pack with 7.8 million likes, more than double Hillary Clinton’s 3.5 million likes and well ahead of Bernie Sanders’ 4.2 million. Why the huge difference? Marketing agencies will tell you that Trump uses the platform to his full advantage. His posts feel real, helping potential voters form a connection to him on a personal level. Other candidates’ pages feel like someone else is writing for them. Some of Trump’s Facebook posts may come off a little brash, but you know he’s the one writing them.
Trump takes the cake again on Twitter with 8.27 million followers to Clinton’s 6.28 million and Sanders’ 2.2 million and for pretty much the same reason he rules Facebook. Both Clinton and Sanders disclaim that tweets come from staff members. Clinton does sign personal tweets so followers know when something is coming directly from her, but many marketing agencies would agree this might do more harm than good. It shows followers that Clinton only tweets personally every 4-7 days. Trump on the other hand, well, that dude is always tweeting.
Instagram is the new social media frontier for this election cycle. All three candidates dance around 1.5 million followers, and it seems they are all trying to work with their staff and marketing agencies to figure out how to best use this platform to further their campaigns.
Hold up! You are now entering Bernie-town. Bernie Sanders leaves the other candidates in the dust when it comes to YouTube subscribers, coming in at 132,362 subscribers to Clinton’s 46,139 and Trump’s 36,568. Sanders simply posts more videos than anyone else. His official YouTube channel has uploaded 513 videos compared to Clinton’s 164 and Trump’s 45. Video is the future, so good for Bernie.
There’s not much to say about Snapchat because the platform doesn’t release information on how actively users snap, but we do know that Hillary Clinton is by far the most vocal lover of this social media channel. She even snaps during interviews.