The 2016 Election has definitely become all about Social Media. In past presidential races candidates who took a more progressive and innovative approach toward campaigning were often criticized. Candidates who were innovative in their approach toward campaigning were the winners in the end.
Franklin Roosevelt was one of the first innovators of his time with radio broadcasts, his fireside chats are legendary and were a game-changer. He used the most cutting edge technology of the time to reach millions of people.
In 1960, when television was still considered a trend, John F. Kennedy used this tool to successfully reach out to millions of Americans.
Finally, who can forget Bill Clinton showing up on MTV to play his saxophone? Directly targeting the younger voters on their turf, which at the time was unheard of and he changed the scope of campaigning by recognizing the youth of America.
Obama perfected using the internet in both of his campaigns. He used email, online videos and some of the Social Media tools available at the time to create a game-changing new way to campaign.
In the 2016 Election the clear innovator is Donald Trump. It is quite obvious he understands the power and the importance of this tool.
The Trump phenomenon flabbergasts pundits like me. We thought the billionaire was leaving the world of Entertainment, climbing over a wall and joining us in the sober domain of Politics. But in fact, the opposite happened. “Trump, The Entertainer” stayed exactly where he was. Instead, he pulled the political establishment over the wall and into HIS domain. The political class is now lost in the world of reality television and social media. Van Jones, CNN
On the other hand Clinton has yet to grasp the fact that Social Media is not just a digital billboard. The Tweets and Facebook updates coming from the Clinton campaign are very controlled. The messages are very campaign specific.
Trump goes completely off-script. He Tweets what he thinks personally, he attacks, he rants and it is very apparent that it is actually Trump sitting behind the keyboard hammering out the Tweets most of the time.
In the past, these antics would have turned voters off and attacking individuals or ethnic groups would have scared voters away. But in the new world of campaigning insulting people or saying something out of the ordinary will likely gain a candidate followers.
If Goofy Elizabeth Warren, a very weak Senator, didn’t lie about her heritage (being Native American) she would be nothing today. Pick her H
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2016
86% of online adults and 91% of millennials use Social Media. These are the voters in the 2016 Election. However, just “being there” and using Social Media is not enough. The same rules for marketing a business apply to campaigning. In order to effectively reach the voters, it is important to:
- Be authentic (actually use the Social Sites as THEMSELVES.)
- Be honest.
- Provide more information than just expressing the platform.
- Don’t just post campaign specific announcements.
- Be interesting.
- Provide information that your audience wants, not just what you want your audience to see.
“We need more love and kindness in this country…The last thing we need are leaders who try to divide us even more than we are.” —Hillary
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 22, 2016
Every presidential campaign and political era of the past has been influenced and shaped by the media of its time and this is now the new world of campaigning in 2016.