If you are avid follower of the presidential nomination in the United States, then you must be familiar how the standard bearers of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump respectively, use social media, particularly the micro-blogging site Twitter, in mudslinging and in bickering.
Their Twitter bickering does not end in the feed, in the campaign season. It gets to the news every time they engage on Twitter. Trump tweeted his followers last July to help him contribute all they can to the campaign just to beat Hillary. Interestingly, it was retweeted more than 9,600 times and is about 24,670 favorites. Based on that Twitter engagement, one would think that Trump has a huge influence over the microblogging site.
If you visit Twitter and search for the Republican presumptive nominee, you will see that Trump has about 12.4 million followers as of now.
Having 12 million followers is even more than Chicago’s population of 9.5 million which is the 3rd most populated city in America!
In a report by Carl Bialik on FiveThirtyEight, Bialik believes that those who constitute his following are probably just ‘bots’ or manufactured accounts. Bialik believes – if you are an avid Trump support, we hate to break it to you – but are those are maybe fake.
A quick check of Trump’s followers on Twitter will show that those who follow him have few followers or tweets. In some cases, followers have recently joined Twitter.
While there is no universal definition of a fake or manufactured Twitter account, as a real person with working intellectual faculties, you will probably have a hunch that those accounts are not created by a real human’s hands. It could be that they are bought or are created particularly to follow Trump or engage with his tweets.
He Needs To Demonstrate Growth
Of course, Trump needs a huge number of followers. To win the GOP nomination, the Republican presumptive nominee has to assert his control over social media. He has to have huge reach and leave his own footprint on social media for everyone to see.
- Thousands of Americans check Twitter as their alternative source of information. Americans post thousands or even hundreds of thousands of posts per second. To many, Twitter is among their sources of information, as news organizations and influencers use the microblogging platform to tell the world their cause.
- Clearly, trump needs huge following and he needs to demonstrate that people are moving towards him, in “yuge” numbers. Aside from having a celebrity status, as a public figure, his control has to be more believable by having real people on social media to engage with his posts as an indicator of their faith in him.
- Search rankings are generally better when you have more Twitter followers and social signals. Apart from that, there are countless examples where brands went viral and their visibility improves as your follower count increases. It’s a direct relationship. Apart from Twitter’s internal search, you see it across engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others.
- Profile traffic is also better as more users will most likely visit his profile. It may not mean that the actual user will follow him right away but it means his page is seen more frequently on the ‘Suggested’ panel where Twitter suggests users to be followed by other users.
- As a nominee running for presidency, you have to assert your Social Proof. You must have a big following. Why? Because you want other people to think that you have many supporters. Trump needs to have his audience. No matter how inappropriate his tweets to some may be, Twitter provides the ideal environment to showcase your “bandwagon effect”.
Apart from those users Twitter has suggested you to follow, it has also rolled out a feature where tweets with a big engagement from who you follow appears on your feed. In fact, this has annoyed so many people that there are articles showing users how to deactivate this feature. This is the reason why there are some tweets from those you do not follow on your feed. This is an effective way to get more accounts to follow you because of the ‘bandwagon effect’ where people are most likely to ‘join the bandwagon’ in liking or retweeting tweets. Case in point, following Trump.
Twitter’s Dirty Secret Statistics
As politics increasingly come to depend on the digital realm, strategists in social media of the differing camps employ tactics in helping their party win the election. In this case, Donald Trump is might be purchasing Twitter followers so that his presence on social media is asserted, and his growth is easily measurable.
According to an analysis by Washington Free Beacon’s, more than half or 64% of Trumps 12.4 million followers did not log in for the past 6 months at least. You’re probably asking, ‘Why not use Twitter?’ Well, the answer might be that they’re realistic, manufactured, farm-bot accounts.
Why spend resources purchasing new followers? As stated above, Trump needs huge number of followers and a significant growth percentage. If he has huge numbers, it gives the impression that these people have faith in him and, probably, want him to win the presidency. It also casts doubt on his competitors, who probably haven’t gained millions of followers over the past year.
Again, the ‘bandwagon syndrome’ is real, folks. Many have joined the bandwagon just because of the idea of ‘wisdom of the crowds’. Having a huge following could imply that he is a credible candidate. How does the saying go? Fake it till you make it.