Just like it did in 2008 and 2012, social media will play a key role in the presidential elections next year. So I decided to take a quick look at where the candidates stand with their social media accounts as they jockey for position in the polls.
Not surprisingly, the two biggest names in the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are dominating the field, though Bernie Sanders is gaining ground on Clinton when it comes to Facebook likes.
As of August 18, Clinton had 4.06 million followers on Twitter, which is more than 11 times the number that Sanders has, though Sanders has tweeted more than twice as much as Hillary.
It’s a much closer race between Clinton and Sanders on Facebook, where Hillary leads the surging Vermont senator by less than 10,000 likes (1,178,422 to 1,169,351).
The other Democratic candidates—Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee—are a mere blip on the radar with a little over 200,000 followers and Facebook likes combined, which is reflective of their chances of winning the nomination.
On the Republican side, billionaire businessman and front-runner Donald Trump is way ahead of the other 16 challengers, with 3.77 million Twitter followers and over three million Facebook likes. His closest competition is Marco Rubio, with 820,000 Twitter followers, and Ben Carson with nearly 2.4 million Facebook likes.
Trump also beats the competition hands down when it comes to tweeting, with over 25,000 tweets sent to date. Ted Cruz is second with just over 10,000.
Even though Clinton has nearly 300,000 more followers than Trump at this point, it’s Trump who has the momentum. And with his active tweeting and outspoken language, he could possibly overtake Hillary in the next few weeks. For the other Republicans and Democrats in the race, they will need to step up their game if they expect to compete with the likes of Trump, who’s garnering most of the media attention and voters hearts at the present time. That’s especially true of Jeb Bush, who despite his high name recognition only has 269,000 followers.