Why Trump Might Win this Presidential Election
As part of The Digital Trading Awards Program US , Michael Chock, VP, Media iQ North America talks about the role of social media in the US election.
In 1948, Harry Truman set a milestone in presidential campaigning by shaking hands with over 500,000 people spread across 31,000 miles. However, marketing paradigms changed forever, when Dwight Eisenhower created television commercials for the first time in the following election cycle.
Since then, for almost five decades, one-way messages through television and radio became the primary channel for presidential candidates to connect to their voter base, until Obama came into the picture.
Obama turned the tides during his presidential campaign by harnessing the power of social media to connect to his voters online. The attention was primarily on data and analytics to analyze voter sentiment and then drive recommendations to capture voter allegiance.
Today, having a strong social media presence along with data is a plus point for Presidential candidates. Donald Trump has gone to prove that his social media presence could be the reason behind his growing popularity. Since entering the Presidential race last June, his social media presence has grown exponentially with over 8.5 million followers on Twitter.
By cashing in on Twitter, he has made sure that he is always on top of everyone’s mind. For example, Trump tweets about all issues personally from his personal handle @realdonaldtrump, unlike his competitors, whose staff generally responds to tweets on any issues.
To understand how Trump uses social data to his advantage, and the profile of voters who are likely to vote for him, Media iQ looked at Twitter data, top keywords and hashtags, audience profile of his voters, the sites they browse and found interesting insights.
Top Hashtags and What They Say
While analyzing Twitter handles for each candidate, we observed that Trump was the only candidate who tagged his slogans and used hashtags. His followers too, tweeted using these hashtags.
For example, hashtags such as “#Trump2016”, “#Trumptrain” and #Makeamericagreatagain” were created by Trump, which his supporters used in their tweets as well. By creating new hashtags, Trump has managed to steer social media conversations to his advantage. His deliberate attempt to keep the number of hashtags limited, but relevant enough to be used in conversations frequently, has resulted in these hashtags trending on social media, whenever used in conversations.
The tweet volume for Trump too has increased over the past few months, when these hashtags were used in tweets.
Trump has a knack for nicknaming his opponents. Whenever he has tweeted with the hashtags #CrookedHillary, #Little Marco, or # LyinTed, his followers have tweeted using these nicknames, contributing to the popularity of these hashtags.
What is interesting to note is that even Hillary and Rubio tried their hands at nicknaming, but failed miserably at it. In one interview, when Hillary branded Trump as “#LooseCannon”, the hashtag was talked about for a while but failed to trend as a hashtag. Even Marco Rubio’s nickname for Trump #BigDonald, in retaliation to the hashtag #LittleMarco, given to him by Trump, did not gain much on social media.
This shows how well Trump understands his audience, and what content they would like to hear- a lesson he might have learnt during his stint as a reality TV star.
Understanding His Audience Profile
If you look at the demographics of Trump’s voters, it’s mostly male, falling in the age group of 45 to 64 years of age, with another 36 percent being over 65 years old. His voters are 22% more likely to have a vocational education compared to his other supporters who are 19% more likely to have a secondary level education.
With regards to career, 55% of his voters are the skilled tradesman, while 22% are more likely to be in manufacturing, with about 10% more likely to be in the service sector.
When we looked at the top issues that Trump talks about, we found that-
Immigration, over- indexes among consumers in the age group of over 65 years, while, economy is most popular among the 25- to 34-year-old demographic, and is also popular with real estate agents, finance and accountants.
Which sites do they browse?
We found that Trump’s supporters browsed sites such as conservativepost.com, conservativetribune.com, yesimright.com, madpatriots.com, chicksontheright.com, thepoliticalinsider.com, and westernjournalism.com.
In the lifestyle category, the most surprising finding was the popularity of seniorpeoplemeet.com and findagrave.com, which interesting overlaps with his older audience profile.
Sports, regional and specialist news category is also very popular among Trump’s supporters. Sites such as plambeachpost.com, bostonherald.com, foxsports.com, 247sports.com, and jewsnews.co.il are the most visited sites.
In this era, where social media conversations form the very core of who your customers are, and what they are talking about your brand, Donald Trump has emerged as the winner on social media by communicating with and mobilizing voters directly through Twitter.
Key Takeaway for Marketers
While it is popular belief that brands need to hit the road or reach out to their consumers through surveys and polls to establish a connection, today that alone may not help brands reach consumers.
Brands should leverage social media data, and understand their consumer sentiment from the conversation they have on this platform. Political marketers and brands can then personalize the experience by creating messaging around popular mentions and hashtags that will resonate with consumers, thereby leading to targeting the right audience.
With inputs from Diptarka Roy and Ramya Pingili, Insights Specialists.