Social Media Changing the Game This Election Season

October 23, 2015

Social Media Changing the Game This Election Season

As the 2016 Presidential race heats up, the public is constantly reminded of the role social media plays in the campaign world. Candidates such as Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Lindsay Graham and others have adopted digital and social media platforms to spread the word about their campaigns. It is widely agreed that President Obama’s use of social media in the 2012 race may have tipped the scale in his direction, as he spent 10 times as much money on digital as Mitt Romney – illustrating that today’s candidates have nothing to lose by utilizing social media to its fullest. Platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Periscope have emerged since 2012, creating infinitely more opportunities for candidates to let their voices be heard. Here is a glimpse at how social media platforms have been employed in the presidential race so far: 

When Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for president in June, he took to Snapchat to spread the news to tech-savvy millennials. He teased the announcement with a geofilter, a geographically targeted image overlay, reading “Jeb Jumps In.” His team documented the rally announcing his campaign through Snapchat photos and videos.

 

 

For her first Instagram photo, Hillary Clinton shared a photo of something very close to her heart – pantsuits. Since that first post, she has continued to use the platform in a strategic way, posting #TBT photos, graphics, and testimonials of Clinton supporters to help illustrate life on the campaign trail. Clinton’s team also double taps photos who mention her campaign, creating an incentive for followers to advocate for her on social media. 

 

 

Hard choices.

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on

 

Live-streaming apps were predicted to change the game this election season, and Clinton put the practice to good use when she streamed her first presidential rally on Periscope in June. Since then, presidential hopefuls have continued to utilize video. Most notably, when Trump gave out Graham’s cell phone number at a public speech in July, Graham responded by releasing a YouTube video entitled “How to Destroy Your Cell Phone With Sen. Lindsey Graham.” The video, created by Independent Journal Review, documents numerous ways to destroy a flip phone and reminds viewers of Blendec’s “Will It Blend?” campaign. The video has received more than two million views, highlighting how a candidate can utilize the video-streaming website to gain campaign traction.  

 

 

While newer apps and platforms are considered to be “hot items” this campaign season, don’t discount the impact of Facebook and Twitter as tools for campaign success. Trump routinely voices his opinions through Twitter, most recently live-tweeting the Democratic debate, and Bernie Sanders frequently mentions his “#FeelTheBern” hashtag. Candidates are also devoting more and more of their budgets to Facebook, as the website has developed new features to reach current and potential supporters. These include improved video capabilities such as auto-play and the option for candidates to hold question-and-answer sessions, as Clinton did in July.

Social media savvy will continue to give candidates an edge in the 2016 presidential race. CLS is eager to see what the candidates come up with next!

 

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