Published on Jan 14th, 2016
by Jack Weinstein
Check out President Barack Barack Obama’s most-engaged Instagram post in the days leading up to Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Look familiar?
If you follow Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Orange is the New Black , then perhaps it does. Tune-in messages have driven engagement success for TV shows, especially in the days and hours before a premiere. Helping audiences discover new content about their favorite TV shows generates excitement .
In the lead up to the premiere, Game of Thrones tweets a photo and includes the amount of time until the episode airs with the season-identifying hashtag. That’s pretty much it. Five of Game of Thrones top 10 posts of 2015 followed the same formula.
The president made similar engagement gains by adopting a similar strategy.
The Instagram post embedded above generated more than 100,000 actions, which would have bested all of Obama’s 2015 content on the photo-sharing platform except one post.
Obama’s next-most-engaged Instagram posts also use that format, while providing information about when and how to watch the State of the Union five days , three days and one day before it airs. Obama’s most-engaged tweet also encouraged people to watch.
Obama’s Twitter and Instagram engagement spiked in the days before the State of the Union. From Monday to Tuesday, it increased 69% on Instagram and 147% on Instagram.
Divisive Political Issues Spur Engagement
Some of the most-engaged Facebook content related to Obama’s last State of the Union Address highlighted some divisive political issues.
During his speech, Obama promoted kindness and inclusion. He urged people not to pass judgement on others based on their religion or nationality. And he described his hope for a better world, one that required all nations to work together to accomplish common goals.
Some of those issues also generated the most engagement on social media Tuesday of all content related to the State of the Union.
Popular website Humans of New York generated the most social actions (likes, comments and shares) on Facebook with its post about Obama’s State of the Union guest, Syrian scientist Refaai Hamo, who recently immigrated to the U.S.
CNN posted the most-engaged Facebook content from the media related to the State of the Union. The news network posted a video of Obama that included a quote urging people to dismiss politics that target race or religion.
CNN was the second-most engaged media organization of the night behind Fox News.
Fox News featured a quote in one of its most-engaged posts related to the State of the Union. The network quoted South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley , who addressed immigration as part of the Republican response to the State of the Union that she delivered.
Posts featuring quotes performed well on Facebook and Twitter, especially for the White House .
Reactions from the Candidates
Among Republican challengers for president, Donald Trump and Ben Carson posted the most-engaged Facebook content about the State of the Union. Carson, consistently one of the top GOP presidential candidates on social , was critical of Obama in his three posts Tuesday.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen Republicans generate engagement by criticizing Obama .
Carson criticized Obama for making the nuclear deal with Iran, which had detained 10 members of the U.S. Navy earlier in the day, a situation that has since been resolved without incident . His other posts were critical of the Democrats’ guests to the State of the Union and refuted Obama’s speech .
Trump, by contrast, just posted a terse review.
Trump’s only social post of the night about the State of the Union generated the most actions on Facebook among GOP presidential candidates.
On the other side of the aisle, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton thanked Obama and highlighted some of his accomplishments. Bernie Sanders, her Democratic challenger, didn’t post on social about the State of the Union.
If you watched the State of the Union and posted about it on social, tell us why in the comments. We’d love to hear about what moment piqued your interest enough to like, comment, share or retweet.