In a sense, the success of a presidential campaign’s social media team is easy to measure. It can be counted in votes.
What that has meant for the Clinton campaign is a focus on essential tactics such as “capturing email addresses to raise money over time, and targeting persuadable voters in battleground states with the right message,” according to Mashable.
Jenna Lowenstein, digital director for the Clinton campaign, told Mashable, “We don’t get points for innovation and creativity.”
And yet, the Clinton campaign has been very innovative and creative across social platforms. Since the 2012 presidential election, many Americans have transitioned from getting their news directly from the home pages of major new sources to instead getting it via links on social sources, so a multi-platform campaign has never been more necessary.
Lowenstein manages a team of more than 100 people who develop content and strategy for social media, video, email outreach, audience development, digital organizing, advertising and The Briefing blog.
“Her team has what may seem like an impossible task: alternately playing offense and defense while channeling Clinton's message, competing for users’ fickle attention online and translating that into donations, volunteers and voter turnout,” writes Rebecca Ruiz on Mashable.
The Trump campaign has a presence on Facebook and Instagram, but relies heavily on Twitter. The Clinton campaign has branched out to less conventional platforms, including Quora and Pinterest.
For those purpose-driven organizations that are looking for little inspiration for connecting meaningfully with their audiences via social media, here’s a list of the Clinton campaign’s top 5 social media innovations:
Using Instagram and Snapchat to chronicle day-to-day life in both the Brooklyn campaign headquarters in New York as well as state campaign offices.
Emotional videos on YouTube. “A YouTube video from the primary season shows Clinton comforting a crying girl who is afraid that her parents will be deported,” according to Mashable. “It’s since been viewed 829,000 times across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, according to the campaign.” The video of girls looking in the mirror while the soundtrack plays clips of Trump's statements about women is very affecting.
Showing humanizing glimpses of Clinton’s life. Photographs of Clinton holding her granddaughter or with her head bowed in prayer show that she’s a real person with a personal life not unlike those of other Americans. Also: Sharing old images of Clinton on Instagram and Facebook has evokes a lot of good feelings. It allows her audience to connect to Clinton’s history of public service and the journey she has made.
“Browsers with her.” If you made a donation to the Clinton campaign in the last few weeks, a cookie will show you a new, time-sensitive message each time you open a new browser window. These messages include calls to action to help the campaign.
The most important success of Clinton’s social campaign is not a technological trick or a witticism; instead it has been its balance in communicating Clinton’s values and policy stances clearly while also pointing out, with a little humor, the flaws in the Trump campaign. More than innovation on a social platform, the social team needed to show what a Clinton presidency would be like.