I hear small business managers give many different reasons as to why they aren’t using social media to advertise their brand or product. Many purport that they do not have enough time to post or say that that their clientele do not use social media but more often than not, these business managers claim that social media does not have potential value for their business.
I would like to challenge the legitimacy of that last excuse in particular. Social media absolutely has value for small businesses, corporations, and even personal brands. As evidence to this fact, I give you the President-elect of the United States – Donald Trump.
Regardless of how you feel about his politics, his character or his tan, Donald Trump has certainly accomplished something incredible by becoming the 45th President of the United States – which he did while having zero political experience (even President Reagan had been the Governor of California for 8 years before he was elected). One of the ways Trump was able to do this was by harnessing the power of social media. He and his campaign focused their efforts on Twitter which remains one of the most popular social platforms.
I would like to point out that I am not in any way endorsing anything Donald Trump has done or said. This entry is not about politics, it is about political strategy and the undeniable reach that you can obtain with Twitter. Trump was able to get a lot of exposure and CONNECT with his audience by being one of the first presidential candidates in history to frequently communicate through social media. The above tweet was liked by 85,000 people and retweeted nearly 120,000 times. Those are pretty astounding numbers, and there are literally dozens of other examples of tweets that were just as popular as this one!
Many political candidates tried to copy Trump’s tactics and use of social media. Gary Johnson (the Libertarian candidate) achieved great success in creating a strong millennial following on social media. Although Johnson also ran for president as the libertarian candidate in 2012, this is the first election in which people actually knew who he was. Of course, Trump’s biggest rival and the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton also had great success on social media. However, not a single politician was able to come anywhere near what Trump was able to achieve through Twitter.
This is one of Hillary Clinton’s most successful tweets. While it was liked and retweeted by hundreds of thousands of Twitter users, it also succeeded in further promoting Trump. Another important thing to note is that tweets as successful of this were few and far between for the Clinton campaign. Trump on the other hand did a great job of attacking people who would never support him regardless of what he did. In a way, his attacks were “safe” because he would only alienate people who already disliked him and his politics.
Obviously, if we want to run a successful social media campaign for our business we need to be careful of such tactics. In some cases, it makes sense to criticize your competition or point out the superiority of your product compare to theirs – but let’s try to avoid outright attacks.
Here we see Trump attacking the New York Times and CNN, neither of which would ever support his campaign. It also probably did a lot to cement Trump’s personality in the minds of his constituents as an “outsider” – someone who was like them and unafraid to call out companies and people that he didn’t agree with. Clearly this style was very refreshing for many voters, while not necessarily very presidential.
Trump is also famous for tweeting The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart (which you can read about in this Huffpost article) at 3am, calling him and his show “overrated”. This is the kind of behavior we might see an internet troll engage in but it also shows Trump’s commitment to consistently putting out content. Regardless of subject or the taboo behind it, he put his opinion out there, BIGLY.
As I have said before, exposure is far more important than talent (or in this case, experience). I am not suggesting that Clinton did not also do a fantastic job of using social media to grow her personal brand. In fact, she succeeded in exposing many of Trump’s flaws and discrepancies in his campaign.
However, she did not even come close to getting the amount of publicity we saw out of Trumps social media campaign. If you take a glance at their accounts you will notice that while Clinton has tweeted nearly 10,000 times to date, Trump has more than tripled that effort, tweeting nearly 35,000 times over the past few years. That’s a lot of tweets!
Trump played this game extremely well. He would make a statement and the media (and everyone else) listened. This has less to do with the quality of the content and more with the consistent and prolific output of that content.
I am not trying to imply that we should say the things that the President-elect Donald Trump has said. I am trying to point out that small businesses can and should take a play out of his playbook. Get your name out there and more importantly get other people talking about you! That old famous saying “any publicity is good publicity” is certainty applicable in this case.
While Trump said many things which we might all agree are either uninformed or distasteful, people were talking about him every single week. I think we can all learn something from this as we attempt to grow our brands and promote our products. As you’re planning your social media strategy for 2017, remember what Trump was able to do with Twitter.
If we trust in the power of social media and consistently get our names out there we will undoubtedly make our advertising strategies great again!