Writer: Chandni Panjwani
2016 US Presidential Elections on Facebook
Let me start the post by giving you a fact that will blow your mind away – Facebook has 1.71 billion monthly active users which is more than the combined user of WhatsApp (500 million), Twitter (284 million) and Instagram (200 million). (Source: CNBC).
So if the numbers are this high, it is only natural that a lot of public opinion is shaped & shared through Facebook. A lot of organizations & public personalities use Facebook actively to create a positive image for themselves because Facebook – Not only because it is easy to connect with their audience, but also because it has become too big to be ignored.
So if there is an ultra-big even like the US Presidential Elections, can Facebook be silent? Absolutely not! A major chunk of candidate promotions is being done on Facebook & people are also looking at Facebook numbers as an indication of what the final results are going to be.
We used www.Mondovo.com & did a little digging too… to see how the virtual world is shaping the real world. Let’s take a look at what Facebook’s data says about what’s going on in the 2016 US Presidential race.
- Facebook Page Appearance
The first section you see below the cover image for Trump & Hillary is very different. While, Trump’s page gets down to business & starts immediately with the status updates, the first thing you see on Hillary’s page is a shopping section selling campaign related items.
I’m not sure how others think, but if I am a potential voter & I come to her page, seeing her selling stuff right at the top of the page wouldn’t give me a great feeling. The placing of the shopping section is not great & it unwittingly gives out a message that they’re here to make money.
It might be an innocent oversight or a planned strategy, but I believe it should be corrected.
- Number of Page Likes
Right off the bat, you can see that Donald Trump’s page has almost double of Hillary Clinton’s page.
This means that:
- Donald Trump’s social media team has been very active & very effective in their social media reach out. They have outdone themselves as compared to Hillary Clinton’s social media team.
- More importantly, it means that they will be able to shape the opinions of twice as many people as that of Hillary’s team. This is a huge deal! I think Hillary’s social media team still has some time & should start working in this immediately.
Data says that the winner in this section is…. Trump!
- Audience Engagement Level
What is the primary function of social media? Engaging people in some way or form. Whether they read your posts, whether they like your photos or videos, whether they comment on your updates or if they share something that you have put out. You need to give something to people to like, comment or share.
Here’s how the US Presidential frontrunners are doing in this area:
- Both the candidates are putting out an equal number of posts, there is not much difference in the number of updates put up by either candidate. Even the breakup of the type of posts they put up are very similar – The only difference is that Trump puts up more status messages than Hillary.
- Although Trump’s page likes are only about a double of Hillary’s & they put out equal number of updates, his engagement numbers are three times as that of Hillary! That means his posts are getting thrice as more likes, comments & shares than Hillary’s.
Yes, Trump is naturally the more controversial figure. There is no denying that. However, it’s looking like Hillary’s social media team really needs to buck up to get those likes & comments flowing.
Data says that the winner in this section is…. Trump again!
- What Type of Posts Get the Most Likes?
As you can see from the graph above, photo updates are getting the most traction for both Trump & Hillary.
In fact, this is true for any page on Facebook or even on Twitter. According to Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. There is so much data in your Facebook wall, that it is best to put up something that can instantly explain the message you are trying to put out.
However, this seems to be the only similarity in the engagement pattern for Trump & Hillary. While Trumps gets his second highest engagement from shared links, Hillary seems to be doing quite well when she puts up videos.
Lastly, Hillary’s status messages are getting a dismal level of engagement while Trump’s status messages are doing quite well.
Here is a small bit of data-backed suggestion for both the candidates to improve engagement on Facebook. According to BufferAll blog:
- Shorter posts below 250 characters get 60% more engagement than longer posts.
- Using emoticons in a status message increases the engagement level by up to 33%! Even their likes are 57% more than other posts without emoticons.
Actually, this is applicable to all businesses who have their pages on Facebook & are trying to improve their engagement level. More photo updates + shorter posts & use emoticons 🙂
- The Single Most Popular Post
Just out of curiosity, I wanted to check which post got the most engagement for both Trump & Hillary & here they are!
Trump’s most popular post is one where he is thanking Louisiana for their support & Hillary’s most popular post is one where she is wishing Bill Clinton Happy Birthday.
As noted in the point above, both these popular posts were photo updates. However, another thing that is common is that they are both updates which are filled with emotion. These are not just run of the mill, official statuses. Both these statuses seem personal & heartfelt… Looks that that is another trick to getting your followers to like, comment & share. If you show your emotions, the people will reciprocate!
So there you go, data never lies & the data shows that Trump & his social media team have been consistently performing better on Facebook as compared to Hillary. They are aggressive in their outreach & very active in responding to their followers.
Now the question is – Is Trump’s Facebook performance an indication of what’s going to happen in the elections? I’m not entirely sure.
While there might be a lot of talk about Trump in the social media, all of it might not be positive. Many of the chats & mentions might be mocking him or talking about him in a negative way. So, no, I don’t believe Facebook numbers are a real sign of what is to come.
However, to know the results, we will have to wait till November… Who are you rooting for? Let the most deserving candidate win!
Check out the latest competition analytics results from here.