With the third and final presidential debate now behind us, the social media spotlight has never been so firmly focussed on Hillary Clinton. According to polls, she is almost as unpopular as Donald Trump with the general public so it’s time for an intervention to sort this sorry state of affairs out once and for all.
It's fair to say Hillary has had a few battles to overcome in her career in a variety of shapes and sizes (cf. Goldman Sachs Speech-gate, personal emails-gate, Iraq-gate and something to do with her husband and an intern, can’t remember the details). Despite all this, people who work with or know Mrs Clinton love her.
So how can she use social media to close this gap between the person her colleagues perceive her as ('brilliant', 'funny' and 'thoughtful'), and how she is viewed by the voting public ('careful', 'calculated' and 'cautious')?
Camp Clinton is already doing some things really well on social. The classy one-liners in response to Donald Trump idiocy have reached a high-art level of beauty (tbf they've had a lot of opportunity to practise) and when she gets all political and serious, it’s hard to doubt her sincerity.
Delete your account. https://t.co/Oa92sncRQY
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 9, 2016
But there’s still plenty to be done to change Hillary’s public perception from cautious and calculated demagogue into trustworthy, likeable candidate. Here are a few starters for the presidential hopeful.
1. Keep up with platform trends
One way for politicians to at least look in touch is to communicate where the youth of today are spending time, and in the correct way. They and I could probably look even more in touch by not calling them 'the youth of today'. Anyway, anyone heard of live video? Facebook's favourite medium of the moment has not been overlooked by Hillary and her crew, who used Facebook Live to read out more than 5,500 lawsuits involving Donald Trump. Think that sounds boring? Turns out boring is perfect live streaming material – the clip has generated nearly 700,000 views. Take this example of when BuzzFeed live streamed sorting Skittles and 10 million people watched, and lest any of us forget, #DrummondPuddleWatch.
Hillary’s team also leapt on the trend of people changing their Facebook profile pictures to support a cause and created #TrumpYourself, a website that overlays what Donald Trump really thinks of you onto your profile picture. It's upsetting and hilarious, give it a go!
But what about using messaging apps to spread the word of Hillary to where people are most active? A daily WhatsApp (now boasting one billion monthly active users) digest to followers would be a great way to influence an already engaged audience.
2. Build on her reputation for listening
Hillary, famed as a ‘listener’, has been accused of using her listening tours of the country to avoid actually talking and taking action, but the truth is she does listen to people and makes changes off the back of feedback she has received. Why not build on this quite unique USP (her husband was known for not letting anyone get a word in edgeways, as is the way with many famous male politicians). The White House now has a chatbot which lets you put questions to Obama and he is said to read 10 every day. Can you see where I'm going with this? Yes. A Hillary ClintBOT (name needs work), can be listening 24/7 as the public submit their suggestions, gripes and no doubt sexually explicit propositions to Hills.
3. Let's get intimate (*whispers* intimate)
One of Hillary's strengths is actually a bit of a weakness. She is very professional, always immaculately turned out, not a word or hair out of place. She's always 'on', but being really serious about politics doesn't always make for the most compelling content (check out her Instagram account if you need help dropping off). The world of social media spins on the intimate, the personal and the revealing. People who share these parts of themselves come across as vulnerable, but instantly become one of us, to be trusted. No one likes a workaholic Hillary, where are the holiday pics?! What do you have for breakfast? Have you cried while watching reality TV singing contests, eating a metric tonne of chinese food? Yeah me neither... Anyway, I digress. Show us your dirty linen Hillary!
4. Show you’re working
Hillary's pals may describe her as a listener, but how do voters know she acts on what people tell her? Hillary could start a content series to illustrate that she gets stuff done. It would show the full cycle, from hearing a constituent’s woes, to changing legislation. Elaine Karmack wrote in her book 'Why Presidents Fail' that "Successful presidential leadership occurs when the president is able to put together and balance three sets of skills: policy, communication and implementation". Social media gives you a perfect platform to be transparent and show this whole process – use it.
Laura Muldoon is a senior writer at We Are Social