While Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are as active on social media as Donald Trump in terms of volume of posts, the Republican nominee for president blows the presumptive Democratic nominee and her erstwhile rival out of the water in terms of engagement, according to a new study by Pew Research Center, which analyzed their Facebook and Twitter activity over the last three weeks in May.
All three candidates posted at similar rates during the study period, with around five to seven posts per day on their official Facebook profiles and eleven to twelve posts per day on their official Twitter accounts. But that’s where the similarities ended, as Trump left Clinton and Sanders in the dust when it comes to the activity their posts generate among other users.
Pew found that Trump’s Twitter posts were retweeted an average of around 6,000 times, compared to 2,500 for Sanders and just 1,500 for Clinton. Pew attributed this in part to the fact that Trump simply has more followers on Twitter, at 10 million versus seven million for Clinton and three million for Sanders – but as the discrepancy between Clinton and Sanders shows, engagement isn’t just a matter of sheer numbers.
On Facebook, Trump’s posts generated an average of 8,367 shares each, ahead of Sanders at 6,341 shares and a mere 1,636 for Clinton. Furthermore, Trump’s Facebook posts generated an average of 5,230 comments, ahead of Clinton at 1,729 and Sanders at 1,070. Looking at total reactions, including various emoji responses, Trump’s posts generated an average of 76,885 reactions, versus 31,830 for Sanders and 12,537 for Clinton.
The candidates also favor different sources in their social media posts, with Trump mostly linking to reports in the news media (78%), while Clinton and Sanders mostly link to their own campaign Web sites (80% and 58%, respectively).
According to Pew, during the 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both updated Facebook an average of twice per day, but Obama’s campaign made much more use of Twitter, with an average 29 tweets per day, versus just one for Romney.