How Hillary and the Other Presidential Hopefuls Are Using Snapchat

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In the lead up so far to the 2016 election, social media is more influential than ever. In 2012, Mitt Romney barely had an Instagram, and it was only very recently that Obama joined Twitter. Now, social media must be a part of any smart presidential campaign if the candidates are going to reach younger audiences. While 2008 was heralded the “Facebook election,” in 2016, just being on Facebook is not enough. The candidates each need to have diverse, panoramic social media campaigns that cover Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more.

So far Hillary, who launched her Instagram account earlier this spring, is crushing the other presidential hopefuls on social. Now she’s come to Snapchat, joining a pretty decent list of candidates who are already on it--Mike O’Malley, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Scott Walker--who are all looking to capitalize on the app’s high engagement with America’s youth.

Hillary’s first post was a photo of her from high school, with the words “Yaaas, Hillary!” written across the bottom (clearly Hillary has a millennial writing her copy). Though the photo was her first official post, Hillary, and Jeb Bush, too, are the first candidates to capitalize on Snapchat’s “LiveStory” feature, with Hillary broadcasting her New York campaign kick-off live on the app, and Jeb using LiveStory to do the same at a rally in Miami.

Rand Paul was actually the first candidate to join Snapchat at all, back in 2014, in a long warm up to announcing his presidential intentions. Now he’s the first to run deliberate ads on the app.

My question is, where is Bernie Sanders, social media guru? Perhaps he’s too obsessed with down-to-earth connection to spring for such an ephemeral messaging service.

As the election heats up, it will be interesting to see how the candidates try to get an edge on Snapchat, which is used frequently for quick messaging, but also, most successfully, to announce secret deals, contests, and sneak peeks backstage into live events. Let’s hope the candidates have studied all the tips that brands need to know to be good at Snapchat.