Social media has come a long way since the last US presidential election in 2012, Snapchat launched in the same year, and today has 30 million users. Snapchat might not be a preferred means of connecting with voters, despite Jeb Bush launching his campaign with a Snapchat story in 2015, it goes to show how fast the landscape of social media can change in such a short space of time. In fact, there are almost double the amount of social media users today than there were in 2012, but what does this mean for the 2016 US Presidential election?
The shift from traditional to digital media
About a decade back, the political sphere was once dominated by a few major organisations and was largely controlled by traditional media such as television and print. To a certain extent, it still is, but the giant uncontrollable beast that is social media is having an increasing impact on shaping opinion, culture and belief on a massive scale.
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Who’s shaping opinion?
MIT has been capturing election news from a number of influential media outlets and Twitter to find out who are the biggest influencers of the election campaign. Their research showed that the top influencer was Trump, with Hillary in a close second place. It’s not only the election candidates that are making a splash on social media, a number of other recognisable names like Putin and the Pope made the list too. MIT categorised influencers into a nice, digestible pie chart giving the influence percentage by category.
It’s clear that the candidates are the biggest influences in the presidential election, they are the people in the spotlight after all, but how are they influencing the general public?
How to make friends and influence people: Trump style
Donald Trump has a remarkable knack for gaining social media interaction. In the first presidential debate, Trump 62% of total Twitter conversation was around @realDonaldTrump, with only 38% of conversation being around @HillaryClinton. It’s clear that Trump knows how to get a reaction, but can he transform those reactions into votes? A Google poll on the same day of the election debate found that 50.7% of people were planning to vote for Hillary, whilst 49.3% had the intention of voting for Trump.
Despite Trump seemingly winning the social media race, can he “trump” Hillary and win the election race? We’ll find out on November 8th. In the meantime, if you require a helping hand in understanding the influence of your brand on social media then give Urban Noise a buzz!