Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump: who’s the next US president of social media?

hillary clinton mark nozell flickr

It’s the big day tomorrow. The day when millions of the United States’ citizens will take to the polls to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton (oh, and a few others too). And while the people at the polls will decide the country’s fate, social media has also played a huge role in this year’s US presidential race.

That’s right. Twitter and Facebook have both been integral to Clinton and Trump’s campaigns thus far.

With help from social media analytics firm Quintly, we take a look at key takeaways that shed some light on how Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton have shaped their vastly different campaigns using Twitter and Facebook.

Note: Quintly’s figures were taken between 1 May and 31 October 2016.

Donald Trump is a social media superstar

Twitter or Facebook, Donald Trump is a social rockstar. The man has over 11.6-million Facebook fans, and around 12.6-million Twitter followers. This puts him in the top 130 Twitter users, gaining around 26 000 followers per day. This according to SocialBlade.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Facebook Twitter October 2016

Image: Quintly

Hilary Clinton however, isn’t quite as social media famous as her counterpart.

Although possessing actual political savvy, she only boasts around 7.4-million Facebook fans, while marginally topping 10-million followers on Twitter. Clinton makes the social network’s top 200 list, and is gaining followers just slightly slower than Trump at around 24 000 per day.

More interesting though is the Twitter likes gained by Clinton and Trump.

Hillary Clinton’s tweets garner around 12 200 likes per day. Trump’s however, earn him around 30 000.

Hillary Clinton tweets and sponsors posts more often than Trump

According to Quintly, Clinton tweeted close to 800 times in July — a frequency of nearly 26 per day. This was Clinton’s most active month within the past six months on the network. Trump however tweeted just under 500 times in his most active month — October — with a frequency of around 15 per day.

This is a stark contrast to his Facebook posts. Trump topped nearly 350 posts on Facebook in October, with Hillary Clinton coming close to matching that figure.

Hillary Clinton’s tweets garner around 12 200 likes per day, Trump’s earn him around 30 000

And while we’re talking about Facebook, we should probably mention sponsored posts.

According to Quintly, between July and September 2016, Hillary Clinton sponsored close to 100% of her Facebook posts — that equates to around 700 of them. This is a massive jump from her activity in May, which saw just over 30% of her posts sponsored.

Trump however –arguably with his larger following — doesn’t quite need to sponsor posts as frequently. Sponsored posts for the New York-born businessman plateaued in September, with around 80% of his posts sponsored.

Donald Trump has more than double the interactions than Hillary Clinton

As Quintly noted in a previous look at Facebook’s 30 biggest brands, putting money into the network doesn’t always mean rich rewards. This is definitely the case with Hillary Clinton.

Clinton failed to beat Trump on both Facebook and Twitter interactions between May and October.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Facebook Twitter interactions October 2016

Image: Quintly

Quintly explains that Clinton hit 60.5-million interactions on Facebook and 31.4-million on Twitter during this period. Trump however, earned 141.8-million interactions on Facebook and 69.6-million on Twitter. That’s more than double on both social networks.

Hillary Clinton can claim to boast the most liked and shared tweet between the two of them, channelling her inner Edward Snowden (and the delete your account meme from 2011).

It boasts over 511 000 retweets and 670 000 likes at the time of writing.

Hillary Clinton won the First Presidential Debate

While we’re on the topic of Facebook, it’s worth noting the peaks and troughs in Facebook fans for both Trump and Clinton.

As a seemingly living, breathing beast, Facebook likes tend to come in waves rather than a constant, predictable stream. Nowhere is this more evident than during past few months for Clinton and Trump.

Clinton failed to beat Trump on both Facebook and Twitter interactions between May and October

Trump’s biggest spike in new Facebook likes arrived on 4 May, as he was named the presumptive Republican nomineee. Clinton’s mirrored event (being named as the presumptive Democratic nominee), saw a much smaller gain. But she did see large spikes of her own.

The Democratic convention in late July saw a large jump in likes, but more impressive was this spike during the First Presidential Debate on 26 September. Clinton gained around three times as many new page likes as Trump.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Facebook Twitter fans October 2016

Image: Quintly

Interestingly though, Trump battled back in the two subsequent debates, seemingly winning both on Facebook, at least.

What about the others?

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just Clinton and Trump in the 2016 race, but that’s not the full story. A total of six candidates are running this year, including Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Party’s Jill Stein, Constitution Party’s Darrell Castle and Independent Evan McMullin.

Their social media stories are even more interesting.

Johnson’s Twitter account boasts around 378 000 followers, which puts him just outside the top 6000 Twitter users. His follower growth has been a stock exchange graph, with 160 unfollowing him in late September. The general trend though sees Johnson gain around 591 followers per day.

Previously running for president in 2012, Jill Stein boasts around 264 000 followers on Twitter, with a daily gain of around 900 followers. She also has over 660 000 likes on her Facebook fan page.

Remarkably, Darrell Castle is following almost as many users as users follow him. At 4657, Castle has a seemingly insignificant Twitter following and the lowest number of all six candidates. On Facebook though, his campaign page boasts around 14 000 likes, while the Constitution Party’s page boasts around 33 000.

Finally, Evan McMullin boasts around 94 000 Twitter followers, a number that has grown by 40 000 in October 2016 alone.

So who won?

Well, clearly, Donald Trump has the upper hand on social media.

With more likes on Facebook, more followers on Twitter, more interactions on both, and with less cash spent doing it, Trump is sitting pretty on the world’s biggest social network. But does that guarantee an election win? Nope.

If anything, post-election analysis will shed even more light on how Twitter and Facebook affected this year’s presidential race.

Have a look at the full report over on Quintly’s blog.

Feature image: Mark Nozell via Flickr

Andy Walker


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