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Beyond Twitter: The Other Social Media Platforms 2016 Candidates Are Using

Here’s a look at some of the new ways White House hopefuls are going beyond Facebook and Twitter to capture millennial voters.
A logo of Twitter is pictured next to the logo of Facebook in this September 23, 2014 illustration photo in Sarajevo. Facebook, Google and Twitter are stepping up efforts to combat online propaganda and recruiting by Islamic militants, but the Internet companies are doing it quietly to avoid the perception that they are helping the authorities police the Web. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/FilesDado Ruvic / Reuters

Since President Barack Obama was able to successfully mobilize the youth vote through social media in 2008, presidential candidates have relied on the platforms to win young supporters. But a lot has changed since Obama’s first presidential campaign, including the ways candidates are using social media. Here’s a look at some of the new ways White House hopefuls are going beyond Facebook and Twitter to capture millennial voters.


Snapchat has been among the most heavily used new social media platforms by the 2016 field. And here is a big reason why -- of all social media platforms, Snapchat has the highest percentage of millennial users. Seventy-one percent of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18 and 34, and 45% are between the ages of 18 and 24, according to ComScore.

Thanks to Snapchat, followers can see Hillary Clinton dancing to “Whip and Nae Nae.”

And if you need your daily dose of a cute puppy, Clinton’s Snapchat feed has you covered.

Because of Snapchat’s “Live” feature, over 100 million viewers have tapped into Snapchat’s live coverage of presidential debates and rallies, bringing millennials to the heart of the campaign action.


When it comes to Tumblr, Bernie Sanders is king. He uses his Tumblr presence to boil down complex issues for young voters, and also can have some fun while doing it. His page is filled with policy positions, quotes from the campaign trail, and other tidbits like this:

But it’s less about what Sanders posts on his own page, and more about the immense support show on Tumblr’s Bernie Sanders hashtag. Tumblr has turned into one big Sanders rally this election cycle, which comes as no surprise given that Tumblr users are predominantly liberal. Tumblr users are overwhelmingly educated young adults and minorities of lower socio-economic class living in urban areas, according to a Pew Research Study. These attributes are strongly correlated with affiliation to the Democratic Party, which explains why Sanders is a favorite among Tumblr users.


Top 2016 user: @HillaryClinton 192,513 followers

Released just this year, Periscope lets people live stream events right from their smartphone. Most recently host a live stream, Donald Trump hosted a Q & A in which viewers commented and asked questions on Twitter.

During her June campaign launch, Hillary Clinton used Periscope to give people who weren’t there a behind-the-scenes look at the campaign. Clinton’s Periscope campaign launch was hosted by former Olympic gold medalist Michelle Kwan. Dr. Ben Carson uses his Periscope for more lighthearted reasons, streaming a game of “Operation.”


Top 2016 user: Hillary Clinton 6,500 followers

Hillary Clinton and Ben Carson are the only candidates to jump on board with Pinterest, but their pages have not generated anywhere near the interest of some other social media platforms, with Clinton having over five thousand and Carson having nearly four thousand.

Clinton uses her account to pin gift ideas for her granddaughter and share family photos. Carson entertains his Pinterest followers with memes, Halloween costume inspiration, cute animal pictures, and inspirational quotes.


Top User: @realDonaldTrump 678k followers

Most candidates have joined the photo and video sharing social network, but Donald Trump is using it in probably the most interesting way.

Hillary Clinton, who has the second most Instagram followers with 569,000, turned over the reins of her Instagram to pop star Katy Perry during a “Katy Perry takeover.”