Each year, I present a session to IOPL (Institute of Political Leadership) about social media trends and politics and political campaigns. I enjoy the session because the students are bright up-and-coming candidates and campaign managers who are up-to-date on politics and public service. My kind of people.

The talk is divided into 3 main sections: (1) Who uses social media for political decision-making (2) What are the social media trends in politics and (3) What are political social media successes and failures? Of course, #3 is always the most fun.

Who uses social media for political decision-making?

The analysis is always eye-opening. The majority of people who are actually impacted by social media trends is pretty low. Until 2016. I have to gut my presentation to include the anomalies that 2016 created with a new section about Impact of Fake News.

What are the social media trends in politics?

In this section, I geek out a little with SEO and social media followers and best time of day (and which platform) to reach targeted audiences. It’s surprising sometimes to know that you use Twitter early in the day, LinkedIn after lunch and Facebook depends on your audience (for example, ‘mommy bloggers’ are online often at 10am because that’s when babies nap). With charts and graphics, we see when folks are online and when they’re not.

Social Media Successes and Failures

This is the most fun for all of us. Seeing real-life social media posts that fail is good for a laugh and hopefully for making good decisions. But the bottom line is that every moment of a political campaign is a potential photo op and you hope to get more pluses than minuses. After all, who doesn’t like seeing candidates stumble (sometimes literally)?

The 2016 election changed everything about social media trends in politics. My PowerPoint needs to be shredded and rebuilt, which is fine, because I’m good at PowerPoint and it’s fun to really think about the changes in the social media trends. Let’s have some fun.

What keyword won the election?

Without a doubt: “donald trump twitter”

2016 Social Media Trends in Politics - keywords

Who Uses Social Media?

We measure in BILLIONS, not millions

Number of social media users

Photo Ops Happen in an Instant

The NCGA arrested Joe Killian, Reporter

NCGA arrests Joe Killian

Who won on social media and who failed?

2016 US Presidential Election

LOSERS - Nazi Republicans

Post-election Republican group dinner where attendees offered Nazi salutes. Always a loser. The photos were leaked.

LOSER - Trump Pence Logo

Trump Pence Logo Fail

The logo was ridiculed widely on social media. Donald Trump simply had it replaced with no explanation.

WINNER - Trump creates issue

A candidate created an issue (immigration/fence) and flew to the border in a private plane. The media paid its own way and the candidate created an issue that helped win the election.

WINNER - GSO Election Protests

The Republican NCGA tried to eliminate early voting in particular locations. Greensboro led the protests and it became a national issue.