Though there was quite a chasm in our assessment of the candidates’ email and branding skills, all five candidates are pretty proficient social media marketers.
Social media didn’t. To make it easier to decide, we broke it down by platform.
It’s interesting comparing everyone’s Twitter personas. Bernie Sanders is earnest, tweeting about hope and ideals. Ted Cruz is robotic, with a feed that’s mostly generic platitudes and retweets.
Rubio is friendly. Like Cruz, he retweets a lot, but he also does more personal responding to people. Hillary Clinton is absent; the vast majority of her tweets are written by staffers, with tweets signed “H” appearing about once a day.
And Trump is Trump. He’s so unlike any other presidential candidate we’ve ever seen that the New York Times even made a flow chart of all his Republican party mud-slinging, which ranges from criticizing stances to grade school insults. And people on Twitter love him for it.
Jeb Bush just got contact lenses and got rid of the glasses. He wants to look cool, but it's far too late. 1% in Nevada!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2016
Clinton, Cruz and Rubio tend to be a bit sterile and generic on Facebook. Trump’s bombastic Twitter persona carries over, but he also shows a bit more humanity than the previous three.
Like Rubio’s emails, Trump sounds like a regular person when he’s thanking the Nevada and South Carolina voters for their support, for instance.
Though Trump has the most fans (it’s not even close) Sanders is still the one people are responding to the most. His posts tend to be about the issues fueling his campaign more than the campaign itself, and they tend to get the most likes and shares.
Snapchat is the hottest social network for millennials, so it’s no surprise that all five candidates use it. It’s hard to gauge their snaps, given the platform’s ephemeral nature and lack of metrics. We still have yet to catch Trump’s or Cruz’s stories, though we do enjoy that the latter sponsored a filter mocking the former.
Sanders has also sponsored geofilters – a tactic that’s certainly worked for McDonald’s – but it’s Clinton who we think is really nailing Snapchat. Moreso than the others, she just seems to get its audience.
Sanders’ Tumblr is nearly identical to his Instagram feed and Rubio is the only other candidate using the Yahoo-owned platform. It’s no Denny’s Tumblr (nothing is) but the content is a nice mix of Rubio the person and Rubio the person who’s running for president.
Posts range from Rubio answering frequently asked questions to pictures of crowds at South Carolina campaign events to personal stories. His grandfather’s admiration for Ronald Reagan forming his Republicanism is a pretty interesting read, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.
All five candidates use Instagram. Trump is the most active and the most followed, but Clinton’s feed is the most well-rounded.
She posts pictures of her orating and pictures of her campaign trail crowds, like everyone else. But she also posts Throwback Thursdays, testimonials from Iowans and holiday editions of her logo. She even posted a shout out to a funny Tumblr based on a single picture of her.
Nobody’s on Peach. We were wrong about it possibly being the next big thing in social. Our bad!
Clinton isn’t the most active Pinterest user, but she’s still there, connecting with 7,200 potential voters.
Even though she wins this round by default – none of the men are pinners – Clinton is still doing a good job of knowing her audience. Pinterest skews heavily female and it’s probably not a coincidence that two of her boards are “Women Who Inspire” and “Newest (and Best) Job: Grandmother.”
Trump is easily the weakest YouTuber. By his own standards, his subscriber count is unimpressive, most likely because nearly all of his videos consist of him talking at the camera for 30 seconds or so.
Clinton made news by announcing her candidacy on YouTube. Cruz’s “Invasion” video was among the top-watched ads in January. And it’s worth noting that Rubio’s account dates back to 2006, when he was still serving on the Florida House of Representatives and social media hadn’t taken off.
But it’s Sanders who’s really killing it on YouTube. He’s got the timing right: a few video a day, the sweet spot between Trump’s infrequent and Rubio’s overzealous (about 10 a day) uploads. He’s got the most subscribers and views by a mile, and his “America” was also on YouTube’s most-watched list – four spots ahead of “Invasion.”
To sum up
After weak showings in the email and branding categories, we’re giving this one to Clinton.
It’s not that she’s on the most platforms with the most followers. Trump has more across the board, and Clinton isn’t even on Tumblr. (OK, or Peach.)
But she has a well-rounded social presence that really shows how in spite of that “H” nonsense on Twitter, she knows how to use it.
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