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2016 Presidential Candidates Face Off on Social Media

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It’s estimated that this group of presidential candidates will spend around $1 billion on digital media, with half of that amount allotted for social media. So why are the presidential hopefuls allocating so much money toward their online presence? Pew Research Center found that more than half of adults using the web get their political or government news on Facebook.

With the Iowa caucus approaching, we decided to dive a little deeper into the social media presence of three Republican and three Democratic candidates. Who has more likes, followers or subscribers? Here’s what we discovered:

2016 presidential caucus social media

At this point, it appears the Democrats lead the way when it comes to YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, whereas the Republicans easily beat them out in Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media and the Presidential Candidates

With the continuing growth of social media as a marketing platform, it comes as no surprise that the candidates are using digital as a way to reach an audience they may have had difficulty reaching before. For example, Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton and Republican Jeb Bush are active on Snapchat and Instagram in hopes of reaching the growing number of individuals using these platforms. In fact, both candidates used Snapchat to announce their bid for the presidential nomination.

The particular outlets each candidate uses vary quite a bit. According to Republican candidate Donald Trump’s website, he is sticking to three social channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On the other hand, Republican candidate Marco Rubio’s site says he is using nine different social media channels to reach voters.

So why the big push in the digital sphere? One word: millennials. To stand out in this age group, candidates continue to shift their focus toward social networks. In 2008, Obama leveraged Reddit to reach a younger crowd by doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything). It is now one of the most popular threads on the site. When Obama’s health insurance rollout was a letdown, he used popular sites, Funny or Die and Buzzfeed, to spoof himself. At this point, his Buzzfeed video has been viewed over 60 million times.

Like it or not, social media will play a significant role in the upcoming election and likely in future elections. Whether you’re left or right-wing, you’ll probably see presidential candidates on your favorite social media sites from here on out, if you haven’t already. Do you want candidates flooding your feeds?

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