The 2008 Barack Obama campaign was the first in history to use social media to win a presidential race. With over 3 million supporters on Facebook and over 50 million views on YouTube, his social media strategy smoked the competition. How are this election’s candidates stacking up? Here’s a first look at Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio’s social media report cards.
Hillary Clinton: B-
Road trip! Loaded the van & set off for IA. Met a great family when we stopped this afternoon. Many more to come. -H pic.twitter.com/5Va7zeR8RP
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 13, 2015
On Sunday, Clinton used Twitter to announce her candidacy – and caused a frenzy. Her tweet was seen 3 million times the first hour and retweeted over 100,000 times. So what do those followers get? Info on her campaign. Potential voters won’t get a sense of who she is outside of #Hillary2016 via Twitter, especially since she announced the account will be run by staff. What did earn her points was tweeting her announcement in Spanish.
Marco Rubio: B+
Just recorded this quick video on my phone. I hope you will watch my announcement at 6pm tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/8AgTl4vqUB
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 12, 2015
Rubio is proving to be quite Twitter savvy. To start, he doesn’t have his team sending robotic messages from his account – for that you can follow @teammarco – he lets followers know who he is as a family man, what he does on his free time and which sports teams he roots for. What’s more impressive is his use of Twitter’s newest feature: video. Bet you didn’t even know Twitter had a video function.
Hillary Clinton: B
Credit: Facebook / Hillary Clinton
A few hours after making her announcement on Sunday, Clinton joined Facebook. In just 24 hours she hit 642,144 likes and over 2 million views on her kickoff video. Not bad for a newbie, right? Her feed started off as a list of her milestones, but since kicking off her road trip, Clinton’s Facebook feed is starting to include pictures of the people she’s meeting and the conversations she’s having along the way. Think she’ll check-in next time she stops at a Chipotle?
Marco Rubio: C
Credit: Facebook / Marco Rubio
On the flip side, Rubio can be called a Facebook vet with an account that dates back to 2009. However, his growth isn’t as impressive with only 753,509 likes in it’s six-year span. His anti-Obama and Rubio merchandise posts may account for most of those likes. Lets keep it classy, Rubio.
Hillary Clinton: A-
Credit: Hillary Clinton/YouTube
Clinton gave the first glimpse of her political campaign via a YouTube video that appealed to everyday working American families of all sizes and color. She used her 30 seconds on camera to highlight that she wants to be the “champion” of the everyday Americans. What got ears to perk up, however, was the subtle, yet noticeable use of Spanish to attract Latino voters. Well played Hillary, well played.
Marco Rubio: C+
Rubio quickly contested with his own video – a mashup of previous speeches – pledging to move forward into “a new American century” where the next generation will inherit “what they deserve.” Rubio didn’t speak Spanish, but he did include a clip reminding viewers he comes from a working-class family and is the son of a former bartender and maid. This collage of clips has a feel of an assignment that was done the night before.
Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and Flipboard
Hillary Clinton: Grade In Progress…
It’s evident that Clinton is late to the social media game and she’s still absent from newer platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Hopefully her new publicist, Kristina Schake, the woman responsible for Michelle Obama’s dance moves on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, will get her up to speed. Oh, and she’s not the only tech-savvy woman on Clinton’s team. Google executive and former Facebook product manager, Stephanie Hannon is charged with running her technology operations. With a team like that, we’re sure she’ll be dominating the social feeds in no time.
Marco Rubio: A-
Rubio’s definitely ahead of the game. Back in June, his team announced they were rolling out even more social media accounts to grow engagement and allow people to “easily discover” content. Their social portfolio expanded to include Instagram, Snapchat, Vine – all which are heavily consumed by millennials. Rubio took it a step further to become the first senator to launch his official Flipboard account.
Hillary Clinton: A
Credit: Hillary Clinton
Clinton sprinkled a few Spanish words in her YouTube video and Twitter feed, but she really outdid herself unveiling an entirely Spanish site. Everything from her slogan to her bio is en español appealing to Latino voters. Don’t miss her surprisingly punny 404 page. Check it out here.
Marco Rubio: B
Credit: Marco Rubio
Rubio’s site doesn’t have an entire Spanish version, but there is an en Español button under his biography as well as his wife’s. His page is loaded with content with everything from videos of his speeches, to thorough information about his stance in Iran and again takes more jabs at President Obama. Apparently playing with puns on 404 pages is a thing because he also gave it a shot. See his version here.
Tumblr Street Cred
Hillary Clinton: B+
Credit: Tumblr / Texts From Hillary
Clinton unknowingly upped her cool factor after Diana Walker captured her in sunglasses, checking her blackberry on a military plane to Tripoli, Libya in 2011. The picture went viral and opened the door for hundreds of memes to be created and caption imaginary conversations with pop culture icons like Lady Gaga, Jay Z and everyone in between. But the coolness factor doesn’t stop there. Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe launched Texts from Hillary for one week, posted 32 times and got 83,000 shares on Facebook and over 45,000 Tumblr followers. It also gained mention from Morning Edition and ?uest Love. It doesn’t get cooler than that.
Marco Rubio: C
Credit: Tumblr / National Journal
Marco Rubio also had his moment in pop culture after awkwardly pausing during his rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union in 2013 to take a sip from his water bottle. The internet immediately jumped at the opportunity to create gifs and memes and even capitalize on branded water bottles. Sadly, no one has dedicated an entire blog to that iconic moment – but there’s this.