Donald Trump appoints longtime advisor Dan Scavino as new social media director
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, pictured in December 2015 (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)

A campaign advisor and longtime employee of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been appointed his social media director, the campaign said on Thursday.

Dan Scavino, who was executive vice president and general manager at the Trump Organization, the Republican frontrunner's real estate company, from 2003 to 2013, has worked directly with Trump on social media strategy in his bid to become president.

Trump has actively used social media platforms such as Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc to reach his supporters, often launching personal attacks on those who cross paths with him or simply retweeting his fans.

So far, the real estate mogul has had some success with that approach, receiving the biggest share of mentions on Twitter during Republican presidential debates. During Saturday's debate, he garnered 33 percent of the social conversation, according to Twitter.

While social media traction doesn't necessarily translate to votes, it can indicate overall interest in a candidate. Trump finished first in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday and second in last week's Iowa caucuses.

The candidate will continue to tweet for himself despite Scavino's new role, said Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign.

Scavino, who tweets under the handle @DanScavino, has more than 51,000 followers on Twitter. Many of his tweets are jabs at Trump's competitors.

(Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; Editing by Bernadette Baum)