Presidential Candidates Display Social Media Savvy With Twitter Tweets
Clearly, there was no mystery as to what constituted that event, which gave Rubio the ability to stretch out his announcement, without actually announcing anything right away. In Rubio's case this stretching out of the announcement and resulting social media engagement was important. His announcement followed the long-awaited statement by Hillary Clinton that she was entering the presidential race. As a result he was able to keep his candidacy in the public eye, despite the activities of a much better-known opponent. The plan paid big dividends as the national media continued to give Rubio's ambitions coverage alongside Clinton's. Meanwhile, all four of the candidates have continued their social media presence, but initially only Rubio and Paul worked constantly on engaging their followers. Paul, interestingly, was capitalizing on the usefulness of the Internet for fundraising, with a steady stream of donation requests.The bigger question is whether any of this activity will help one of these candidates President of the United States. Obviously we won't get a chance to find out for sure for at least a year and a half. But we may get a good idea sooner than that. After all, before any candidate can stand for election, they need to be nominated, and that means success in the primaries and state caucuses that will be held in the first half of 2016. If a candidate manages to motivate their target audience to come out with substantial support, that can lead to a nomination. Rubio needs to appeal to younger voters and to folks with immigrant backgrounds in addition to the greater Republican electorate and a social media campaign is a natural way to get to those extra voters. Paul needs to appeal to long-time Republicans who may feel left out of the party's mainstream movement and Twitter may work for those as well. The other candidates are able to depend on core donors and the party faithful, so for them, social media is less critical, at least for now. But taken as a marketing problem and after all that's what political campaigns really are, it seems that building the customer base through social media could give candidates an edge they might otherwise not have. It could be enough to give the candidate with the right communications skills and a staff with social media skills a way to keep their name relevant during the run-up to the election. Now it depends on whether any of these candidates can take gain traction with primary voters with what they've done so far. But it also depends on who else enters the party primary races and how well they are prepared to play the social media game. But done well and with the right, focus social media could provide a crucial edge that wins one of the candidates the nomination.
The effectiveness of this social media engagement remains to be seen. In Rubio's case it plays directly into his positioning as the candidate of the future. For Paul it works because of the Internet's ability to be a path for grassroots forces, which is how Paul is positioning his campaign.