The Iowa Caucuses are tonight. I’m teaching about how Facebook works and social media best practices tomorrow.

So I decided to take a look at how the top presidential candidates (the six with double-digit numbers in the latest Iowa Poll) are using Facebook to call Iowans to action on the morning of the Iowa Caucuses.

Presumably (I hope) all of these candidates are buying ads centered around these posts. So the results may not be comparing apples to apples. But we can see what they posted and what kind of engagement they are seeing.

Did they post a photo, a graphic, a video? Did they target their posts to only Iowans, or did they try to inflate their likes and shares outside the Hawkeye State? Let’s take a look…

Hillary Clinton


Clinton had six new posts on Facebook before noon today, and she also updated her profile photo (7:04 a.m.) and changed cover photo (8:14 a.m.) to reflect caucus day in Iowa (she was the only one to do so).

Her main call to action for her followers was the above photo at 11 a.m., which had 22,081 likes, 7,406 shares and  1,000+ comments by 12:30.

Bernie Sanders


Sanders posted this text-only message at 9 a.m. to his 2 million+ followers. It was his only post before noon today.

By 12:30, it had 41,684 likes, 3,656 shares and more than 1,000 comments.

Donald Trump


Trump posted a video at 7:30 a.m. along with a link telling people how to find their caucus location. It was one of two posts he made before noon today – the other was a photo also helping people find where to caucus.

As of 12:30 p.m., it had more than 300,000 views, 27,582 likes, 3,686 shares and 2,600+ comments.

Ted Cruz


Cruz’ closest thing to a call to action among his six posts this morning was sharing this video from Jan. 30. on how to caucus. He shared the post at 6 a.m. and pinned it to the top of his page (he was the only one to use the “pin” feature).

The video had 35,031 views, 960 likes, 1 share and 265 comments.

Marco Rubio


Rubio posted a graphic on how to caucus along with a link with caucus info at 10:25 a.m. Two hours later, it had 30 likes, 3 shares and 4 comments.

Rubio was the only one of the six candidates to target his post – I assume so it’s only seen by Iowans. This means his numbers are tiny compared to other candidates, but at least we know his results are from Iowans. This was one of four posts he made before noon, two of which were public and two of which were targeted.

By comparison, a public post at 8:34 a.m. had more than 4,000 likes and 200 shares.

Ben Carson


Carson joined Sanders with a text-only post – his coming at 8:47 a.m. and “humbly” asking for our vote. It was one of four posts made to his page before noon.

His post had 26,882 likes, 1,907 shares and 644 comments.

Overall stats

Clinton11 a.m.Photo with text22,0817,4061,000+
Sanders9 a.m.Text41,6843,6561,000+
Trump7:30 a.m.Video + link27,5823,6862,600+
Cruz6 a.m.Shared a prior video9601265
Rubio10:25 a.m.Targeted post with a graphic3034
Carson8:47 a.m.Text26,8821,907644

Obviously Cruz and Rubio’s numbers aren’t anywhere near the rest. That is likely due to Cruz sharing an old video and Rubio targeting his post. We’ll see if the two candidates can recover this afternoon.


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