With the 2016 presidential race shaping up to be one of the more interesting political contests in history, it is more important than ever that candidates use their social channels in a smart and strategic way. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each candidate’s social media.
Pros: The former secretary of state seems to have hit all the bases when it comes to social media. On Instagram, her bio is witty, her photos are strong and her captions speak with a voice that is consistent, creating the perfect package of a presidential social media brand. Her Twitter and Facebook incorporate strong visual content and link to articles supporting her candidacy. Across all channels, Clinton has refined content that would make her supporters confident in her professionalism and competency.
Cons: Clinton’s polished accounts speak to a youthful demographic—which could cause some to question their authenticity. It’s unlikely that any serious candidate would run their social accounts entirely on their own. Her team’s savvy use of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook seem like a meditated attempt to capture the millennial vote, as explained by an article in Wired. As strange as it may seem, her problem is that a large audience perceives her social media channels are too good to be true.
Pro: The Vermont senator uses his channels to make his position on certain issues very clear. He has repeatedly presented himself as the most progressive candidate, echoing his campaign as a “political revolution” across all channels. His success in the primaries with the youngest bracket of voters suggest that he’s doing something right in the millennial-populated digital-sphere. His posts are transparent, honest and reflect everything he has said in debates and speeches. Sanders had a great moment with a bird at one of his rallies that went viral. The trending #birdiesanders was embraced by Sanders on social media.
Con: While Sen. Sanders has proven himself able to speak about issues on social media, he has a difficult time condensing his posts, especially on Facebook and Instagram. With the way consumers read web content, short and concise information is important. Some of his posts are a bit lengthy to appeal to the short attention spans of internet readers.
Pro: Cruz’s posts are short and sweet. They are in line with who he projects himself to be: an unwavering conservative and proud Texan. He promotes hashtags that rally his supporters, such as #CruzCrew. His Instagram is patriotic, as he posts. Sen. Cruz represents himself as a capable republican candidate who loves his country.
Con: His Twitter account is active, but he only retweets tweets about him rather than posting original content. He also spends a lot of time criticizing the campaigns of other candidates. While this may be needed in small amounts, in excess it takes away from his own opinions and efforts.
Pro: Gov. Kasich is the only candidate whose biography says that his account is ran by his team. This can be considered a good thing because it gives the impression of transparency and honesty. Many of his posts feature crowds gathered to rally in his honor. Showcasing this is a “thank you” to his supporters and reminds others that there are people that are backing this man.
Con: Kasich has struggled to stay relevant in the presidential race. His content is not very exciting or sharable. While it may be practical, it does not exactly inspire the “political revolution” spirit that a candidate such as Sanders is calling for.
Pro: There’s no denying that Trump knows how to speak to his crowd of supporters. This is also true for his use of social media. The most talked about, and most polarizing, candidate uses catchy hashtags to rally his fans, such as #TrumpTrain and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain. He thanks supporters who attend his rallies and makes his stance on certain issues very clear, such as veterans affairs and immigration. His social media is very consistent with the political voice he presents.
Cons: Trump shows no remorse for his bullying reputation. In fact, he exercises it on social media. He criticizes politicians, news anchors and fellow candidates in a personal manner across all channels. Social media has proven that once it’s posted, it’s there forever. His posts will not be forgotten and could diminish his chances to gain supporters in the general election if he were to gain the republican nomination.
Written by Allie Hahn, Account Executive.