For those of us who live in a state where a presidential primary was held, it seems like the ads followed us everywhere we turned, despite the fact that only about onethird of campaign spending is routed towards advertising; and that’s just a glimpse of things to come in this very unusual political cycle. No matter what your political leanings are, the choices are tough and the mud is being slung in all directions via media – with traditional TV advertising being just one piece of a complex messaging matrix.
Interestingly, the vitriol that we’ve become used to in the ever-present TV ads is flowing over in great waves into social media. While Obama is generally credited with taking advantage of the social media phenomena to engage voters for the first time when he ran in 2008, PR and social media are key components of virtually every presidential candidate in this cycle, and for good reason.
The real sea change, of course, is social media. Here’s where you have great control of your message, timing, tenor, etc., with Trump leaving his presidential rivals in the dust. A recent (March 2016) measure had Donald Trump at 14.1 million social media followers (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook), followed by 9.3 million for Hillary Clinton, 5.7 million for Bernie Sanders, and Ted Cruz with a mere 2.9 million.
This truly is a new type of campaign media blitz we’ve never seen before, as witnessed by this new-wave approach of messaging. The candidates’ messages are being pushed out through tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram photos. For the first time, news reporting by big media outlets is being fueled by what is on presidential social media feeds, not the other way around. The politically-correct candidates who did ‘all the right things,’ like Jeb Bush, are now left in the dust, while socialmedia savvy operators like Trump, Clinton, and Sanders circumvent the political party old guard establishment and take their message directly to the voters.