Comparing the Facebook Pages of the Presidential Candidates

Facebook's role in presidential campaigning today is undeniable

By eleventy marketing group

Facebook Presidential CandidatesWith the 2016 presidential election looming, Facebook has become a key hub for campaign communications and fundraising.

It’s a place where Americans are getting their news, sharing their political opinions, and connecting with the candidates themselves.

This is especially true of younger generations. According to Pew Research Center:

  • 61% of online Millennials (defined by Pew as those born 1981-1996) report getting political news on Facebook in a given week versus 37% who report getting news from local TV.
  • For Gen Xers (defined as those born 1965-1980), 51% say they get political and government news on Facebook in a given week versus 46% who do so via local TV.

The important role of Facebook in presidential campaigning today is undeniable. In another recent Pew survey, 35% of 18-29 year olds named social media as the most helpful source for learning about the 2016 presidential election. We’ve reached a point where it’s impossible to imagine a serious presidential contender not having a Facebook presence.

In today’s post, we’ll take a peek at the Facebook pages of the leading presidential candidates to see how they’re presenting themselves to voters on the world’s largest social media stage.

A Quick Note on the Role of Facebook Advertising in the 2016 Presidential Election

This Business Insider article notes: “the amount of ad money spent digitally for the 2016 federal elections is going to quadruple from the 2012 elections, from $145 million to $607 million.”

We’ve talked on this blog previously about the use of Facebook advertising by presidential candidates. Without a doubt, Facebook ads have become a key fundraising tool in this election.

The Business Insider article also quotes analysts from Citi who state:

“Facebook specifically has seen great momentum within their political-related ad spend in recent years, as campaigns and their media buyers have developed an appreciation for the platform’s reach, targeting capabilities, as well as its growing tech stack.”

While Facebook ads are playing are a key role in driving fundraising, page likes and post engagement for the presidential candidates, our focus here today is simply on the organic makeup of each candidate’s Facebook page—how they’ve put it together and what kind of information they’re putting out there.

The Faces of the Top Four Presidential Candidates on Facebook

In no particular order, here’s a glimpse at how the top four presidential candidates are using Facebook to present themselves to voters…

Bernie Sanders

Sanders Campaign Facebook Page

Sanders campaign Facebook page currently sits at just over 3.8 million likes. His current profile picture is his campaign logo, and his cover photo is an up-angle shot of him speaking at a podium with a banner bearing his “A Future To Believe In” tagline.

Campaign-branded images are regularly posted to the page. Some of Sanders posts also feature multiple paragraphs of text rather than just short messages.

Here’s a sample Sanders campaign page Facebook post:

https://www.facebook.com/berniesanders/photos/a.324119347643076.89553.124955570892789/1023477974373873/?type=3&theater

Donald Trump

Trump Campaign Facebook Page

Trump’s campaign page leads all the presidential contenders on Facebook with 6.9 million likes. Trump’s Facebook cover photo was just updated to the one shown above. He changes it frequently, often based on where he is visiting (he’s currently in New York).

Trump posts links, images and plain-text posts, but slightly less video. The text of his posts is often short and he has a tendency to include statements in ALL CAPS for emphasis.

Here’s a sample Trump campaign page Facebook post:

https://www.facebook.com/DonaldTrump/posts/10156892496685725

Hillary Clinton

Clinton Campaign Facebook Page

Clinton’s Facebook page currently has just over 3.1 million likes. Her profile photo is a professional shot of her staring off into the distance that plays off her cover photo of supporters holding up signs with her tagline “Fighting For Us”.

Clinton’s posts (not matter what type) tend to include concise stances on key issues she’s pushing through her campaign—like guaranteed paid leave and raising the minimum wage.

Here’s a sample post from Clinton’s campaign Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/hillaryclinton/photos/a.889773484412515.1073741828.889307941125736/1116594388397089/?type=3&theater

Ted Cruz

Cruz Campaign Facebook Page

Cruz’s campaign Facebook page currently has just over 2.1 million likes. His profile is a classic looking-forward image of a dressed-down Cruz, while his cover photo is a graphical image with the tagline “Conservatives Are Uniting—This Is Our Time” and his flame/star logo.

Cruz’s posts on the page—which tend to be primarily links and videos—feature text that is very to the point and campaign-focused.

Here’s a sample post from Cruz’s campaign Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/tedcruzpage/posts/10154038289097464

Vastly Different Candidates, Similar Approaches to Facebook

While there are differences between each of the candidates’ Facebook pages, there’s also a strong sense of sameness. No doubt, this is the result of having professional teams managing these pages and their output. While it’s not realistic or feasible, wouldn’t it be interesting to see what the candidates’ Facebook pages would like if they had to manage it all themselves?