Trumps’ way of rephrasing things has generated enormous exposure. His entire campaign is built around controversy; something that suits social media. Content that is likely to be shared. Where Trump has over 12 million followers on Twitter, Hillary Clinton only has a ‘mere’ 9.3 million. The question is; does this mean Trump has an advantage over Hillary?
Social Media Marketing as Part of the Candidate’s Campaign
When Obama ran for president in 2008, his social media budget was tenfold of Mitt Romney’s. It helped Obama to reach young voters and might even lead him to victory. Obama raised the question; how can we use social media in our campaigns, rather than, can we? We all know the answer to that; yes we can! In 2016 however, no one needs to be convinced to use social media for their campaigns. Nowadays 9% of the campaign budget is allocated to social media marketing. $100,000,000 USD is being spent on social media marketing. Everyone would say that is a lot of money, but consider that coverage is already half the battle; coverage that can’t be achieved through traditional channels with the same budget. Now it sounds like a great bang for your buck right?
We see information rather than seeking it. Based on what we see, we judge. Whether it is consciously or not, our opinions are largely formed through social media. Add that to the fact that a significant amount of US citizens have a social media account and you end up with an equal amount of surrogates. Anno 2016 TV debates are just an appetizer, the real battle continuous on social media.
How Could Social Media Marketing Generate Votes?
Everything we see on social media contains a carefully crafted message and is out there to influence voters. However, it is unlikely to change the mind of someone who has already made the decision to support one of the candidates. People gather on social media with like-minded people. Once decided who to vote for, people tend to disregard negative posts about their candidate of choice. It’s known as cognitive dissonance. It’s not that people don’t see or read what is said about the candidate of their choice, they just don’t want to believe it. After all it would prove they chose wrong. So how can social media help? The undecided vote. Voters, who haven’t made up their mind, tend to be ‘easier’ to win over. Especially the demographic of 18-34 which is well represented on social media. If you get the right message to the people who are not sure what to think, it may deliver that valuable vote.
Trump for President!?
Trump is without a doubt the king of social media in this election year. His follower base is by far the biggest. Whether it has the power to function as a general election strategy to make him king of the white house, I am not so sure. Where social media has the power to reach voters, it still isn’t a guarantee that individuals will be affected enough to come out and vote. This happens to be a thing specific to millennials.
If Trump manages to carefully craft the right message that enables him to reach and touch floating voters, he might have a chance. Fortunately for Hillary, she has the same power. Since everyone can act as a surrogate it is necessary to clear the noise and reach real influencers. Something that Hillary Clinton understands all too well. Hillary seems to have found the support of celebrities; people with an enormous follower base supported by people who look up to them. Where Trump has the advantage of his unprecedented follower base, Hillary has the celebrities on her side. With one month to go the battle remains undecided. There is one thing that is for sure however; social media marketing changed the games in the election landscape and is here to stay.
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