Political Marketing campaigns have been around for decades, but how the landscape is changing. In America the election is pending, and the battle Trump vs. Clinton is on, with both parties going on the all-out attack to gain the majority vote. The million-dollar question that circles through both parties is, does social media marketing have an effect on the presidential candidate’s success?
Not only does it have an effect on the outcome, it is seen as the key to the outcome. Social Media (SM) is relatively new to the political sector. Prior to the 2008 presidential election in the United States of America, SM had really only been used by the private sector and service sectors with any real effect. “President Obama’s victory was fuelled by a brilliant combination of focused targeting, cutting edge polling strategies, and an extraordinarily savvy SM campaign” (Bilenker, 2016). https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2015/05/26/heres-how-the-first-president-of-the-social-media-age-has-chosen-to-connect-with-americans/
Social Media is one of many media choices that can be utilised when it comes to promotion. Since promotion is the name of the game when it comes to political marketing, it seems like a fantastic fit if it is utilised to its full potential. “The term social media is usually applied to people interacting and connecting with others via online software or with alternative electronic access technologies (e.g., their smart phones)” (Lacobucci, 2014, p173). The internet is the forum and with a huge influx of gadgets and gizmos that give people the ability to always be online the social networking stage is set. “A social network can be characterised as a system of mutual relationships between people of some group” (Chen, 2014, p41).
SM is a raw and less controlled forum to market. The market is a live set of networks that has the ability to provide real time feedback on a campaign or a promotion, weather it is good or bad. With regard to the political social landscape the age old marketing phrase of any publicity is good publicity has a place, although can also be argued either way, as if there is too much negative engagement then this could be seen to be damaging the campaign. http://fortune.com/2016/03/04/trump-clinton-vaynerchuk-social-media/
Into the Limelight.
As SM is live it is seen by many marketers as a riskier approach to promotion. Whilst it use to be rare to see public figures plunge themselves into the limelight of social it is now the preferred medium. The current presidential election race in America, Trump Vs. Clinton, has taken social marketing to the next level. On one hand you have Hillary Clinton with a more conservative approach to social. The Clinton camp choose to build and engage their following with a clinical brand offering of conventional although extremely professional content. They push a clear message, to their network with consistent content, with very little risk associated. On the other hand, you have Donald Trump who tends to post more regular content out on many forums to try and hit as many networks on social media as humanly possible. Trumps content and messages are seen to be a lot less conventional and a lot more controversial. Either way you look at it both parties are utilising the social market albeit with very different approaches.
Quantity or Quality?
If the battle was purely about quantity rather than quality, then the Trump party will win this election hands down. The goal, like any good marketing campaign is engagement. For Trump the controversy surrounding many of his tweets or Facebook blasts generates a lot of engagement from both supporters and non-supporters. This can be seen as a win as he is still receiving the engagement he so desperately requires, and the people will be hanging out for his next tweet. Below is a table from comScore an American global media measurement and analytics company which shows how each different social media provider ranks with regard to penetration and engagement.
Source ( http://www.smartinsights.com)
Engagement seems to be the deciding factor on how successful a social brand or campaign is measured. If social media quality is measured by the level of engagement, then so far Trump is winning the war. Trump understands the effect the social marketing can have on his run for presidency. By hitting all facets of the media and penetrating as many networks as he can, Trump is getting his message out and he is getting heard.
Bilenker, D, 2016, Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton: Who is the better Social Media Marketer?, https://www.socialvantage.com/strategy-donald-trump-vs-hillary-clinton-who-is-the-better-social-media-marketer/
Chaffey, D, 2016 Global social media research summary 2016, http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/
Chen, S, & Pedrycz, W 2014, Social networks : a framework of computational intelligence, Cham : Springer, 2014
Eilperin, J, 2015, Here’s how the first president of the social media age has chosen to connect with Americans, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2015/05/26/heres-how-the-first-president-of-the-social-media-age-has-chosen-to-connect-with-americans/
Lacobucci, D 2014, Marketing Management (MM4): Student Edition, South-Western: Cengage Learning, Mason.