Understanding the social media strategies of U.S. primary candidates

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

6 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-266
Journal / PublicationJournal of Political Marketing
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


This paper examines the social media strategies of candidates seeking their party’s nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We use textual analysis to understand what candidates focused on. We assess eight themes covered in Twitter posts. For example, Clinton focused on GUN CONTROL, while Sanders focused on climate change. Using Facebook data, we introduce a topic modeling approach, latent Dirichlet allocation, to the political marketing literature. This allows us to uncover what topics the candidates focus on without researcher intervention and, using a dynamic model, show how this changes over time. We note that Clinton’s focus on Trump increases toward the end of the primary campaign.

Research Area(s)

  • Facebook, Political campaigns, Primaries, Social media, Topic modeling, Twitter

Bibliographic Note

Publication details (e.g. title, author(s), publication statuses and dates) are captured on an “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” basis at the time of record harvesting from the data source. Suggestions for further amendments or supplementary information can be sent to lbscholars@cityu.edu.hk.