Trump vs Clinton: Facebook & Copy Strategy comparison


The US Presidential elections are a paradigm case of effectiveness of digital strategies in real political contexts. Obama’s social campaign made history producing on one hand a great interest and investment in new media, but on the other hand it produced several errors of assessment and overvaluation of social interactions. Even for the candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, social media are one of the most interesting battelfields to collect support, interests and issues.


The following analysis done by me and Valentina Falcinelli, Creative Director of Pennamontata, expert in copywriting and content design who has recently analyzed the direct marketing campaign of the candidates at the Web Marketing Festival, answers theese questions: what are the preferred content of the candidates? Which sources they quote? How many interactions the different types of content collect? The dataset is about 3 months of Facebook strategy.






Geolocation and hype


The Facebook social strategy of Trump and Clinton is very different and perfectly reflects the positioning of the two candidates. Trying to link these two characters to archetypes, we could say that Trump is the motivator and Clinton the everyman. The first is aggressive and threatening; the second is sharp but polite, resolute and willing to work as a team. The hot words of the candidates? The opponent’s name. This is what emerged from the study of their Facebook strategy. Let’s now analyze in a more detailed way how the two politicians are managing their Facebook pages.

Copy Strategy


Since months, the candidate Trump calls his opponent “crooked” , to remark his positioning as the (grumpy) motivator of the nation. Trump, he is not the first presidential candidate to have chosen the motivation as a lever in the voting. Before him there was Obama with “Yes we can”, went down in history as one of the most effective political slogan ever. Trump is a motivator, Obama was a motivator even though it is unthinkable to compare these two figures. Saying that both are motivators is restrictive, because we find ourselves faced with a very different historical frame, as well as with two politicians with personality, background and appeal respectively light years distant. Motivators both, ok, but with thousands of differences. Obama spoke of the future from the appreciation of the past, of community, of unity and strength born from below, from the people, from a shared vision based on love, understanding, aggregation; Trump is the motivator-destroyer, inciting the crowds to the total change, starting by the discontinuation of what there is and what there was. His voice is aggressive; the chosen words refer to the fight and are negative matrix; the copy is almost never dry, but makes use of an important periphrases. Here some examples of words/phrases used by him: 1) “corrupt person”. The alternative to “crooked”. 2) “The American dream is dead”. A sentence that speaks to pride of the nation and is a wounded lever that gives a nod to the slogan “make America great again.” 3) “against”. There is always an enemy to contend with. There are immigrants, there are the Clinton and Obama and… 4) “enemies”. Here, of course: enemies, enemies everywhere. Trump alternates strong words and shapes that arouse feelings of anger, rejection and bitterness with more inspirational posts. In this case the copy lives like a slogan in the slogan and does not hide its promotional and self-congratulatory nature. Let’s take a look, for instance, to the copy of the post dated July 27th. “I will not let this country down. I am grateful for everything I have ever been incendio accomplish. I want to give back. I want to MAKE AMERICA SAFE & GREAT AGAIN! “. One thing I want you to note is the juxtaposition of two words, “down” and “again”. The first refers to the current situation in the US, and the fate that awaits the nation if Clinton’d win (this according to the Trump-thoughta); the second is the promise, the campaign slogan (for this, not infrequently, it appears along with the word “Great”). It is the motivator-destroyer that starts from scratch to speak.


Drier in the copy, more polite and restrained, more empathetic. It Is Clinton, who uses visual posts and short copy. Such the one of 11 August, where the copy reads: “1979”. 1979 and that’s it. Indeed, 1979 and the closing point. What is immediately evident by comparing the post of the two candidates is the use of words. As we have seen, Trump uses strong and negative words; conversely, Clinton uses positive terms (happy, honored, win, proud, good, thank, joy, love), borrowed from the spoken, empathetic and linked to the human sphere. Humanity and empathy also emerge from the content of the posts: the candidate, in fact, also shares personal life moments (eg. In the post of June 19 we can see the birthday wishes to her husband, Bill). And finally, she does not miss a string of endorsements: Clinton has publicly backed by outgoing President Obama, as well as, of course, from the first lady Michelle. A word peeping occasionally is “history”. If she wins the election, in fact, she would be the first president of America. Oh, almost forgot: I spoke at the beginning of the hot words used by the two candidates. As well as her opponent, even Clinton mentions Trump. When she does, however, she never adds adjectives, but leaves room for interpretation and imagination. “Every time Trump Loses His temper, imagine him in the Situation Room making life-or-death decisions on our Behalf” or “Remember: When Donald Trump opens His mouth, our kids are listening” are two posts that I consider examples of this technique. Finally, have you seen the cartoon “Inside Out”? If yes, it will be easy for you to figure out which character / emotion you can associate, respectively, to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. anger joy Credits image. Save Save Save Save Save



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