In yesterday’s post, I wrote the following about Trump’s unorthodox campaign, and why it was a bonus rather than a hinderance:
Trump has completely thrown that [conventional campaign] playbook out the window, and perhaps forever changed the way campaigns are run. Instead of doing huge ad buys, he interacts with his 20+ million followers on Facebook and Twitter. Because of the increasing move from TV to social media among the populace, these impressions are likely to have more of an impact than any ad buy would. It is well known that more and more people get their news from their Facebook feeds rather than the 6 o’clock evening news.
This means that in going directly to the people, with a much more robust message, Trump can circumvent the media and its gatekeepers. This, combined with the fact Trump has a more concrete message has meant that his campaign is having a much more profound impact on people. In comparison, the Clinton campaign’s traditional strategy of 30 second ads full of regurgitated soundbites are easily dismissed, if they are even seen at all by a public which is watching less TV in the first place.
To be sure, there are a few Trump-specific features to his campaign that make his robustness possible. The bottom line is that the public is starting to tire heavily of the DC class in general, which renders the hundreds of millions the Clinton campaign has and will spend utterly meaningless.
If Hillary loses, the fact that she is a walking stereotype of DC politicians will be the biggest reason as to why. Moreover, being that way for the best part of 30 years in public life, Hillary Clinton can’t change. That is simply who she is, a dying breed of politician. Even if she does manage to scrape by, she will probably be the last of her kind.
Almost straight away, I ran into this article in the Washington Examiner detailing the differences between Trump and Clinton’s social media game, which affirmed much of what I said yesterday:
In just a year, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his close-knit family and team of social media warriors have shattered Internet records, collecting over 30 million followers and fans and generating billions of views, according to a Secrets analysis.
“The success to our social media is all Mr. Trump and his messaging. What sets his social media apart from the rest is simple — since day one, he has been directly involved and he LOVES communicating with the American people,” a top aide emailed.
A small team, communicating a distinct message directly to the people. It helps that the message is one that cuts rather deep, but that is beside the point. On the reach he is getting, the article points to his nearly 30 million followers on various social media accounts:
That’s a total reach of over 30 million. And just looking at Facebook activity, the campaign has registered 11.5 billion impressions.
By comparison, Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton, who has had a decade of experience developing an online network, has fewer followers than Trump. And even when including her popular daughter’s followers and the huge network former President Bill Clinton has, her reach is still short of Trump’s.
Scavino said that Trump’s fast startup is historic. “It has never been seen before. It will never be seen again. His social media platforms outperform those of Fortune 50 companies.”
Many pundits have pointed to the fact that Hillary Clinton has a ‘deep bench’ of surrogates, including the last two Democratic presidents, the current vice president, First Lady, former Democratic nominee and various A list celebrities. Meanwhile Trump has lukewarm support from the top brass in the Republican party, and virtually no support from the ‘old guard,’ such as the Bush family and former nominee Mitt Romney.
That would be well good for Hillary Clinton if the electorate as a whole was still transfixed by the allure of slick Beltway politicians pushing Politics as Usual on the masses. By all accounts, the electorate is growing weary of that lot, and is amenable to a candidate who goes to the people. In 2016, the way to do that is through social media, and the Trump campaign is clearly ahead of the curve here.
And it’s all being done without the huge social media team Clinton and others in the political world, like the White House, have. Clinton, for example, has at least 100 staffers working social media platforms for her. Trump has 131 total staffers for the whole campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.
At Trump Tower it’s basically the Trump family, with Scavino on the road putting out news and features about events as they happen from Trump Force One.
Just in case you needed yet another example of the efficiency gulf between a businessman versus a bureaucrat. Trump is getting more done with a handful of people than Clinton is doing with hundreds. Just like in the primary, when Jeb Bush spent more to earn 1 of his 3 delegates than Trump did to earn all 1400+ of his. A good message is superior to money, prestige or name brand politicians. This is perhaps the most satisfying part of the campaign.
“We do not have consultants to review messages. We don’t have focus groups, to get their reactions to messaging. We don’t have a public relations firm, like Hillary, where we spend millions of dollars on ‘PR’ to craft messaging. We don’t have 15 people viewing each and every post — before it goes out. We don’t have more consultants crafting additional messaging, should Plan A not work out. We don’t have 45++ staffers working on executing posts via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and now Snapchat — it’s just me with Mr. Trump traveling the United States of America,” said Scavino.
One of the scourges of the modern age has been the obsession with putting forth a ‘polished’ appearance, in many cases at the expense of substance. This is not to say that appearance is meaningless, far from it. But the hyper focus on appearances has left much of politics extremely stale and boring. Politics has devolved to a battle of the best crafty sound bite one can muster. This has created a class of consultants and PR experts who get paid handsome sums to put forth the perfect message.
The problem with that perfect message is that it has to be utterly forgettable. If you can’t say this because it will offend one group, and can’t say that because it will offend another, you’re left with extremely boring messages like ‘Stronger Together,’ which ultimately mean absolutely nothing.
Conversely, while Trump has said ‘controversial’ things, at the very least he’s made people think, and have serious dialogues about certain issues. Trump understands that you can’t please everyone, so there’s no point trying. You go with what you think is right, and the let the rest take care of itself.