New Socialbakers research has found that Hillary Clinton's social media pages have fewer followers and less engagement than Donald Trump's pages. Even though Clinton's "convention bump" in the polls exceeded Trump's, that same effect was limited on social media. Are their teams focusing their social media strategies on the right platforms?
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After their respective conventions, both candidates experienced a swell of new followers. On Instagram, Clinton’s 4-day growth spurt was more significant than Trump’s.
On Facebook, their convention growth was reversed, with Clinton experiencing a higher peak, but less excitement in her party convention’s early days.
Trump also experienced a groundswell of new supporters in the aftermath of the horrific attack on police officers at a protest in Dallas.
Socialbakers has found that a politician’s number of Total Fans is more important than it would be for a typical business on Facebook, especially since Facebook has retooled the News Feed algorithm to prioritize content shared by family and friends.
Like media publishers, politicians rely primarily on organic content to spread their messages on Facebook. Media publishers generally promote less than 5% of their Facebook content, and since both candidates promote very little as well, it is reasonable to consider their Pages more like media publishers rather than like celebrity or business Pages.
In addition to showing that most of both campaign’s Facebook content is organic, the chart above also reflects the massive gap between Trump and Clinton in terms of engagement on Facebook – a problem for the Clinton campaign that extends to other social networks.
Our analysis also revealed that Trump’s Facebook Page received 2.35x more engagement than Clinton’s page this month, though her Page posted slightly more content than Trump’s. On Twitter, Clinton also saw less engagement despite tweeting much more frequently than Trump.
It may hint at a weakness in Clinton’s social media strategy: instead of focusing on longer-form content platforms like Instagram or Facebook, her campaign seems to focus on tweeting, primarily links to articles and policy updates. On Instagram, as on Facebook, her profile posts slightly more content than Trump, but receives far less engagement.
This trend seems to be failing Clinton. Instead of concentrating her resources on areas where she can deliver an emotional message immediately, via longer text and imagery, her most frequent activity is to post policy links on a platform Trump dominates anyway, and generally does so with immediate, resonant language that work well on that platform and not with links.
No matter what causes each spike in activity and engagement for either campaign, one thing is clear: the social media advantage that famously helped power President Obama’s electoral victories now appears to be on Trump’s side.