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Brief Published: 15 Sep 2015

Trump Chooses Twitter Over TV

Donald Trump's winning on social media

Controversial US businessman Donald Trump is the surprise frontrunner in the Republican leadership race – despite the fact that he has eschewed traditional television advertising for a focus on social media campaigning, particularly on Twitter.

While one of his political rivals, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, spends $7m on TV commercials, Trump has instead published a series of 15-minute videos on Instagram attacking his opponents. Trump’s social media strategy has even seem him outrun the one-time favourite, businessman Jeb Bush. As reported in UK newspaper the Financial Times, “in the past two weeks, Mr Trump has been mentioned 3.5m times on Twitter, compared with 250,000 mentions of Mr Bush”.

“The first social media election” is a phrase we’ve been hearing since President Obama’s victory in 2008, but the 2016 race does look like it could be won or lost online. Democratic candidate-in-waiting Hillary Clinton has been active all summer across a host of social accounts, including annotation platform Genius, previously the preserve of hip hop fans analysing rap lyrics. Her tone – in contrast to the combative Trump – has been human and witty: her first post on Instagram was a photo of red, white and blue suits with the tagline “Hard choices”. In the three months since posting, it’s racked up 27,000 likes.

See our report Visual Marketing for more analysis of how to win at social media marketing. For more on how to engage consumers in a more human, emotional manner, stay tuned for our Get Real Macro Trend, publishing later this week.