When it comes to building an audience on social media and those overnight results folks are always after, I often say that you need either money, fame, or ideally lots of both to experience Miracle Gro numbers.
Then, tonight I stumbled upon “Trump Yourself” – one of the new social media arms of Hillary Clinton’s digital campaign strategy. Say what you will about Hillary, her young team of social staffers are smart and creative. Check out her Facebook Page and you can see her team taking hold of the best thing they have going for them – the public’s desire to make fun of Donald Trump. This made me curious about what else both candidates were doing to market themselves to the American people on social media.
Predictably, both candidates have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. And, to be honest, I took a quick peek at their profiles and immediately felt bored. Predictable campaign stuff. (Except for this highly creative Facebook Live, where Hillary’s opposition research team attempted to name all of Trump’s lawsuits in 4 hours and failed.) But, then I noticed the one thing Hillary has that Trump doesn’t. Pinterest.
I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at whatever meeting(s) were convened to discuss Hillary Clinton’s pins. Who has that job?! Who is Hillary’s pinner?!
So, out of that weird rabbit hole curiosity that only the Internet can inspire, I clicked over to Hillary’s Pinterest and opened every single one of her 17 boards. I wanted to know what a presidential hopeful would pin. (Or, rather, what her pinner would pin.)
Here’s a peek:
A lemony spiked sweet tea recipe on her “House Parties for Hillary” board. “An H for Every Occasion,” including Comic-Con (alongside Tech, Pride, and Climate Change). A printable church fan on her “African Americans For Hillary” board.
But what struck me about Hillary Clinton’s Pinterest wasn’t the awkward mom vibe, but the number of repins and likes. 9 repins here. 28 there. 14 over there.
I had to click a few times to verify. Are we talking about 9 repins? Like, only 9? On Hillary Clinton’s Pinterest board? She’s rich. She’s famous. She has a whole team dedicated to her social media success. And she still has only 9 repins on her Hanukkah H?
On her best pins, Hillary goes into the hundreds. The most I counted were 296 on a pic of her and Bill on their wedding day. But, even that is dismal for someone with international fame, millions of campaign dollars, and at least one dedicated staff pinner. Popular repins often go into the tens of thousands. And Hillary is barely able to muster 100+.
I wondered if others had noticed the sad state of affairs on Hillary’s Pinterest account, so I googled “Hillary Clinton Pinterest” and found a small collection of articles over the past year with headlines like:
Holy sh*t! The woman’s Pinterest boards made national news and she still has only 9 repins on her Hanukkah H?!
That’s coverage most of my clients would sell organs for; turns out, even if the New York Times writes a story about your Pinterest account, it doesn’t guarantee you repins.
Of course, Facebook is another story for both candidates, whose page likes are in the millions. Clearly, Pinterest isn’t either of their sweet spots. Since Pinterest launched in 2010, this is only the second election cycle where candidates could even have a Pinterest presence. Barack Obama’s campaign Pinterest is untouched since 2012. (He did considerably better than Hillary, with 40K followers and a few repins into the thousands.) The only other candidate in this election that I found with a verified account was Ben Carson, who really made a go of it with his “Halloween Trick or Treaters For Carson” board. At least four children dressed up as Ben Carson for Halloween 2015. (And he’s got a dozen repins to prove it!) But, even being the only Republican candidate with a Pinterest presence (Marco Rubio’s unverified Pinterest looks very iffy) wasn’t enough to save his campaign.
My strange Pinterest journey left me with one lesson; even with gobs of cash, a team of strategists, and worldwide fame, getting traction on social media is never a given. It takes more than a few naughty cocktail pins from MarthaStewart.com to gain an audience. You can shell out big bucks for the best social media team money can buy and enjoy coverage from The New York Times (must have been a really light news day) and still only have 9 repins on your Hanukkah H.
Take heart, my friends. If you’re struggling to get eyes on your social media accounts, you’re no different from the rich and powerful. Social media is still about relationships. And its most valuable currency is still time.
Damn, I should pin that.