Last Sunday, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her campaign to become the President of the United States in 2016 on social media. What does Clinton’s shock announcement say about the power of social media and how can it be harnessed to manage your company’s reputation online?
Clinton’s first attempt to become President of the United States
This isn’t the first time Hillary Rodham Clinton has launched a campaign to become the President of the United States. She launched a similar campaign in 2008. If someone wants to become President of the United States they need to win two ‘elections’. Before they take on their opponent in the general election, they need to be chosen to represent their party in votes called primaries.
Everyone assumed Clinton would sweep through the primaries. However she received a huge shock at the first Democratic primary in the country – Iowa. She came in third, losing to a then-little known US Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. That pattern characterised the Democratic primaries and Clinton lost the party nomination to Obama.
The power of social media
Obama’s victory in the 2008 US election inspired future elections to be fought online. A Guardian article written on the eve of Obama’s election, discussing the potential of social media in politics, describes the web as “transforming”, largely because there “are no barriers to entry on sites like Facebook and YouTube”.
Obama recognised the ‘power of social media’ early on, and the potential of the medium to communicate with his audience – especially the younger generation. His 2008 success was, in part, attributed to his ability to win the support of ‘young Americans’. He won 70% of the ‘young vote’ in the 2008 election.
Obama also used his online campaign to raise funds. He successfully raised $160 million. Donations largely came from individuals who gave amounts of $200 or less.
Clinton announces campaign on social media
Social media has come a long way since 2008. This week Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy on Twitter. Her post read ‘I’m running for president. Every day Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. –H.’
Clinton posted a video on her campaign website and YouTube. ‘Getting Started’ emphasises her desire to act as the champion of ‘everyday’ Americans. To date, Clinton’s announcement tweet has been re-tweeted over 97,000 times and favourited 94,000 times. Meanwhile the video has 2,306,905 views. Clinton’s new Facebook page has over half a million likes.
Social media can reach a lot of people
Hillary Clinton is arguably the most well-known woman in US politics, but the numbers speak for themselves. An established brand message disseminated through social media has the potential to reach a lot of people.
Facebook has over a billion users. Twitter has almost 300,000 million. LinkedIn boasted 347 million users by the last quarter of 2014. YouTube had racked up over one billion daily users by 2013 and the number has grown since, according to the site’s statistics page.
As more and more individuals and organisations engage with social media, businesses are increasingly using the platform to communication with their consumers. A study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University, the University of Buffalo and Aalto University found there is a direct link between social media customer engagement and increase in business revenue.
Using social media to manage your reputation online
Social media is a great tool for businesses wishing to protect, manage and build their company reputation online. An effective social media strategy can help companies to manage conversations over the Internet, as well as enable them to communicate with your customers online.
Figures from the World Economic Forum indicated that 25% of a company’s worth can be attributed to its reputation. Google ranks social media highly, often on the first page of search results for a company’s name. A well-managed social media account will be seen by a large share of your customer base.
Business Insider reports that when searching for “Hillary Clinton for President” in Google, an ad for her campaign appears at the top of the first page of search results. Beneath this, however, is another ad – or rather a “Pledge to Stop Hillary.” Clinton’s Republican opponents, it seems, have also taken to social media.
Tips on how to use social media to manage your reputation online
Igniyte works with global clients, supporting them to build and maintain a positive reputation online. An important part of the process is to ensure customers have relevant social and professional media profiles, which rank for their key search terms.
Follow these basic rules to build your Internet profile:
- Optimise assets: Ensure your social and professional profiles are promoted for your company name and key search terms. Your assets will not rank if the search engines do not associate them with your business.
- Post regularly: Google likes regular content. Post fresh, relevant content to ensure your social and professional media profiles can be found in the search results.
- Engage with followers: Social media is called ‘social’ for a reason. Use the networks to increase web traffic to your profile. Traffic can help a social media profile rise up the rankings for a search for your company’s name on Google.
- Executive profiles: Encourage key players in your business to create and promote an online profile through which they can contribute to relevant online conversations, and engage with leaders in your industry.
- Be careful what you post: Hillary’s a perfect example of this – when she posted her campaign logo on Twitter, she was viciously mocked. Be careful what you post or it could backfire.
- Post image-driven content: Engage followers by posting videos, images and infographics. Images ‘speak a thousand words’ and will help boost traffic to your social media profiles.
Hillary Clinton knew that by announcing her campaign on social media she would get people talking about her candidacy. Follow Hillary’s example and use social media to engage with your customers.