New data mining from the social media analytics company Spredfast, generated exclusively for Inc.com, shows some interesting trends with both candidates in the upcoming presidential election. And, it reveals what will surely be a hotly contested race--to use more data mining, more social media analytics, and more technology in general to understand what is really happening and who will win.
Over the last 100 posts, Trump has 6,350,500 "reactions" on Facebook, which includes all of the likes and every other option, such as love, haha, and wow. Of those, 459,900 are non-likes, so the posts he made on Facebook led to that many people reacting more definitively and not just the easy like button. It shows a bit more selectivity.
The most revealing piece of data is that only 243,433 people clicked love on his posts--or 53 percent of all non-reactions. Compare that with the data for Hillary Clinton. She had only 2,584,900 reactions (including likes and all other options). Not including the likes, she had 389,700 reactions. But she had a whopping 302,164 loves on her posts, which is far higher than Trump even for a much smaller number of likes overall.
Put another way, three-fourths of Clinton supporters (77 percent) love her, only half of Trump supporters (53 percent) love him. What does it mean? What's really going on here?
The first possibility is that it means nothing at all, that Facebook Reactions are fairly meaningless and show only that people react to a wide gamut of posts. Maybe Clinton has created happier, friendly posts that prompt people to click love more often. Maybe Trump supporters are in a hurry and only click like. Who knows?
I don't believe that, though. Here's the other possibility, and the one that I happen to view as more accurate. My sense is that the data reveals loyalty to the candidate. I'm not saying this to sway you one way or another, and I'm not revealing any bias. I'm suggesting that the data shows something interesting. When you reach for a Reaction button and put some thought into it and click love it means you are more loyal to that idea or person. You're taking the time to show support. You're doing more to show action. Trump supported didn't do that as often on the last 100 posts.
How does it help predict the election? Tides turn, the wind changes, and Facebook trends shift--but it does point to an interesting idea. Facebook reveals the thinking and trends of the everyday voter more than some of those high-profile polls. You're not being polled at all. You're seeing a post and reacting. It's clear more people--a much higher percentage, in fact--are clicking love on Clinton posts.
That could translate into more loyalty at the polls. Often, the candidate who wins is the one who convinces voters to show up. Maybe Clinton has a voter base that will turn their love clicks into a lever pull in the ballet box, and some of those Trump supporters who clicked like will stay home. If anything, it shows Clinton has a constituency that knows how to use the new Facebook Reactions buttons.
By the way, a big shout out to Spredfast on this one. Everything I've seen from this company turns out to be amazingly helpful. The data reveals something about Reactions that we didn't know before, namely that most people by far just click like and when they don't click like they usually click love instead. It suggests that very few people bother to click wow or sad on a post. We're a predictable bunch.