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Hillary vs. Trump: Who’s Doing Twitter Better?

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This article orginally appeared in SocialQuant

I’m sure there’s no need to introduce today’s featured opponents: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but just in case, both are running for President in the upcoming 2016 elections. Miss Clinton proudly wears blue in the Democratic Party, while Trump trumpets the Republican Party, even though some aren’t sure he is.

Suffice it to say, these two are opposites.

But before we jump into this article, let’s make it clear that we aren’t here to discuss politics or get into the nitty gritty of anything besides how their Twitter accounts are being managed. What’s working? What’s not?

As a social media professional who’s been in the game since 2009 and worked with many different industries, take my word when I say, there probably isn’t a harder industry to manage than politicians. So all my feedback and comparison isn’t a reflection on the people gutsy enough to manage them, but more so on strategy in general.

With these Twitter accounts – the goal is clear – they want to win the election! But the accounts also serve as branding venues for the candidates, which enables them to share more about who they are, connect with voters, promote their events, and get involved in conversations that mention them (the good ones).

So, ladies first!

 

Hillary Clinton

Followers: 3.82M

Following: 38

Cover and profile photos:

Both cover and profile photos are well chosen, they showcase the voters and emphasize her humanness. The cover depicts a nice size crowd of folks who came out to hear her speak at an event. And the profile picture shows active movement with her being engaged with the attendees.

Humanizing a politician is tough, especially in today’s environment, but the profile photo does a great job at utilizing a photo capturing her in a natural state. She isn’t posed (as so many political pictures often are) or too stiff looking – as in a professional photo. Either would be a bad move since the focus is to make her more approachable.

Finally, the cover and profile match – something that as a designer I’m extra picky about, but because this is a professional account and its purpose is a serious one, this aids in showing she means business.

Bio:

I’m a huge fan of Hillary’s bio. It incorporates all the things a Twitter bio should – no matter how professional the account. First, it shares who she is as a women (wife, mom, grandma), then what she stands for (women + kids advocate), her job history (Senator, SecState), humor (BIG plus for hair icon, pantsuit aficionado), and her intention (2016 presidential candidate).

Finally, it lets followers know immediately that she’s not trying to pretend these tweets are from her, but shares what those tweets look like ( signed -H).

With this bio, Hillary became an everyday woman. Women will identify with her roles in life, people will appreciate knowing who she is (in case they’ve been living under a rock), and everyone will chuckle at the “hair icon, pantsuit aficionado” references.

Twitter feed:

The deal with a brand as big and well known as Hillary Clinton is that the typical rules don’t apply. There’s no reason to follow the 80/20 rule, post at optimal times (if you believe that even exists on Twitter) or be sure to share a variety of valuable content for the followers – she can basically do whatever she wants…

But is that really true? Definitely not.

Most politicians have a game plan and an intention. They don’t utilize social media for anything besides pushing their endeavors and engaging with people. Humanizing them is of upmost importance, but that has to be done carefully and purposefully – too much of anything could pull a candidate one way or another.

What stands out:

1. She’s in it for the people.

The majority of her tweets are about other people or ways to helps others. Things like sharing a playlist of songs dedicated to champions after the women’s USA soccer team won, videos with youngsters asking them what they want in a President or allowing them to ask her questions, or sharing the tweets of her fans – it’s definitely not a typical famous account. Meaning, it’s not all about her – it’s about the people.

2. She’s positive.

Scrolling through her tweets, there isn’t anything negative I came across. The overall vibe was positive, involved, and caring. VERY human for a politician.

3. There’s little to no back biting.

She doesn’t use this account to give out left hooks to her opponents. The account doesn’t share tweets that bash opponents or even enter that conversation at all. She sticks to her turf.

4. LOTS of pictures.

A short scan down the Timeline and you’ll see plenty of pics that are eye-catching, fun and even, humorous!!

5. Little to no direct promotions

One of the things I preach about in social media marketing is the danger of self-promotion, but the managers have done an excellent job with Hillary’s account. Instead of sharing direct promotions, they go the soft route, but don’t shy away from their agenda. It’s done in a tasteful way. There is nothing pushy or obnoxious about the promotions.

6. She’s relevant.

Hillary’s Twitter account addresses major social topic being discussed these days: equality, women’s issues, and immigration. She isn’t shy about showing her support for these communities and has teamed up with well known folks to share the message, which will endear her to the younger audience.

Issues:

The only “issue” I could see with how this account is being managed is the small amount of people it’s following, but that’s quite normal for accounts that are so famous.

Overall, I’m very impressed with Hillary’s account in how they’ve managed to humanize it, keep direct promotions classy, incorporate humor, utilize visual content (videos and photos), post consistently, share content for followers, and remain positive.

My only question is: Is the account too squeaky clean? While it does a great job showing her as a candidate and following political protocol with its social media practices – does that harm or hurt her image?

Only you can be the judge.

Donald Trump

Followers: 3.12M

Following: 46

Cover and profile photos:

Trump’s cover photo is nice and large – very simple and straightforward with his Presidential message. But unless you know he’s running for President, you might not be sure what the message really means. It simply displays his campaign motto, but nothing about the election, i.e. 2016 etc.

The profile picture is serious and intent – he looks like someone you’d expect to be intense and to the point – very Donald Trump.

His Twitter account has been around since 2009 unlike Hillary’s who was created in 2013 (probably for the purpose of campaigning), so his account hasn’t always been managed with the intention of running for political office.

But the objective is well displayed – Trump simply wants to make sure people know who he is and that it’s him – there’s no discussion about who owns the account.

The unfortunate aspect of these photos are that they’re stiff and professional – not good traits for someone who wants to connect with the general public, yet they stay true to the Trump brand. And let’s face it – he doesn’t really care about you feeling all warm and fuzzy about him.

Bio:

There’s no playing around with the bio – he’s expecting you to know who he is without any elaboration – it’s simply the official Twitter profile for him, and that’s that.

However, it does include links to his YouTube and Facebook accounts, which is a smart move to promote his other social accounts. But they should delete the additional website link now that Twitter gives us a separate option for it.

Twitter feed:

The only strategy utilized on Trump’s Twitter feed is the “no strategy” strategy.

And what’s most interesting is that he’s actually the one doing the tweeting! For anyone who frequents Twitter, this probably isn’t big news as Trump has been known to make a few headline statements on Twitter.

But when it comes to running in the presidential election, that typically means a whole new strategy is put in place.

Not Trump!

Since he’s doing a major chunk of the tweeting – the content is brash and VERY straightforward. We would never see this type of tweeting if a social media professional was managing it because it would do serious to the brand.

Yet for those who know, it’s very Donald Trump and very brand relevant.

What stands out:

1. He’s authentic.

Whether you like Trump or not, it’s authentic and real. Few people, especially those with a lot of influence would be so straightforward on social media, but Trump has ZERO issues with it.

In addition, there’s no scheduled tweets – everything is live and in real time. What you see is definitely what you get.

2. He’s very active.

While the tweeting frequency is all over the board, it’s a very active account.

Trump is obviously tracking what other folks on Twitter are saying about him, sharing those tweets (in an old-fashioned, but still relevant way), and including his two cents where he can. He’s super engaged and feels empowered in the Twitter culture.

Again, most folks in his position wouldn’t share so much from others, but most of his tweets are just that.

3. He’s NOT frilly.

Scrolling back weeks on Trump’s feed, one thing is definitely apparent – there are ZERO frills.

He’s not interested in entertaining the public nor acquiescing to what the norms of Twitter are, he’s utilizing it for his benefit 100% and it’s raw.

There’s minimal pictures, no funny quotes, no GIFs or anything fancy – it’s just like who we imagine Trump to be – direct and without nonsense, whether you like it or not.

4. He’s appreciative.

A lot of the interaction taking place with folks who love him is simply to say, thank you. And while that may seem simple, it goes a long way for the folks who took the time to tweet at him in the first place. In reading through his feed, I felt like if I wanted to tweet at Trump – HE might actually respond – not some paid person, and that’s pretty cool!

5. He’s straightforward.

While I’ve mentioned this a few times now – being straightforward is under-appreciated in social media, especially by politicians. There’s no need to wonder if he’s got a hidden agenda with his tweets because it’s so honest it hurts. But hey – his Twitter feed does an excellent job of letting us know where he stands and what he’s about. Period

Issues:

None. The Trump account sticks tried and true to Trump’s brand.

The Standoff

Without getting into politics, this is a tough one.

These are political accounts, one managed by a social media manager and the other run by the candidate himself, so it’s difficult to compare them because they’re literally night and day in differences.

Hillary’s account is perfectly perfect. It follows a social media strategy to the letter, shares lots of engaging content (photos, videos, GIFs), stays positive, tweets consistently, and makes great use of the profile and cover photo to promote her message of helping people.

Trump’s account is straight-laced, no frills, nothing fancy or promotional – he’s direct, brash, and has zero problem voicing his opinion about anything and everything. He interacts often, shares tweets from both sides of the argument, shares articles that mention him, and tweets like he speaks.

Quite frankly, these two politicians are utilizing their accounts exactly like their brands should suggest. Hillary is rumored to be terrible at campaigning, so she’s hired a full staff to assist in her image development and online branding. And Trump doesn’t care what anyone thinks and isn’t concerned about being politically correct.

It comes down to personal preference! Which candidate would YOU prefer to interact with online??

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