In 2008, the Hillary Clinton campaign got outclassed on social media by Barack Obama. She doesn’t plan on being behind the technological curve this time around. The latest evidence: she just launched an Instagram account.
Her inaugural post is refreshingly self-deprecating. We see a collection of red, white and blue pantsuits, which Hillary pithily captions by borrowing her the title of her recent memoir, “hard choices.” Her online bio is similarly cheeky: “Doting grandmother, among other things. #Hillary2016”.
How does that help her campaign? Instagram is primarily for sharing photos and short videos, but it is also a full-fledged social network. The site currently boasts more than 300 million users globally, and more than 50 million in the United States.
That is still less than social media king Facebook, with more than 1 billion worldwide. But they are not rivals. Facebook bought Instagram three years ago, and proceeded to grow its audience 10-fold.
Smartly, Facebook did not absorb Instagram, but maintained its brand and its relative hipster sensibility. As Slate reported, “it’s reaching a younger audience, including teens who view Facebook as their parents’ social network.
To them, Instagram feels more private and personal…” In fact, nearly 8 in 10 of the Americans on Instagram are younger than 35 years old.
In turn, Hillary can post images that show her “private and personal” side, bridge the age cap and connect with the young voters that she needs to turn out in big numbers.
But as with any social media tool, it’s how you use it that counts. She’s off to strong start. In her first day she’s eclipsed Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz,Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Chris Christie in her number of followers. But she has some work to do to catch up to Rand Paul.