5 Powerful Lessons Social Media Marketers Can Learn from Trump. So Great!

December 7, 2016 Nicole Bump

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about Donald Trump’s tweets and tweeting behavior (like here and here and here). Dan Rather explains that this is because he is the first “social president,” just like John. F. Kennedy was the first “television president.” They were not the first presidents to use these media, but they were the first to use them effectively. Therefore, the tweeting is newsworthy.

Lucky for us, marketers can learn a thing or two from Trump about how to effectively use social. He’s provided us with both good examples and things to avoid as we build our brands on social media. Here are five of those lessons.

1. Stay on message.

While we’ve seen some rants and raves, Donald does an overall excellent job incorporating his main messages across his twitter feed. For example, we often see various forms of his campaign slogan, Make America Great Again:

Thank you Ohio! Together, we made history – and now, the real work begins. America will start winning again! #AmericaFirst pic.twitter.com/kDRQgmmlZR

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2016

The Great State of Michigan was just certified as a Trump WIN giving all of our MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN supporters another victory – 306!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016

Trump’s Twitter feed also shows a consistent message of media bias:

If the press would cover me accurately & honorably, I would have far less reason to "tweet." Sadly, I don't know if that will ever happen!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2016

"Journalists shower Hillary Clinton with campaign cash"https://t.co/qZPPX0LO4X pic.twitter.com/NsWbJN01Uu

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2016

Whether or not you agree with his messages, one thing is for sure: Trump’s core messaging is consistent, and it’s easy to see what he stands for by following his feed. Brands should follow suit with their own core messaging.

John Deere does a solid job translating this best practice to the corporate world. The company is committed to those linked to the land, which comes across prominently in their Twitter feed. Their handle often tweets about supporting and engaging in conversation with a variety of different farming groups and associations:

Meet the winners of @dtnpf America's Best Young Farmers & Ranchers sponsored by @JohnDeere at #DTNAgSummit https://t.co/d4RWlA2Dnh

— John Deere (@JohnDeere) December 7, 2016

We had a great day discussing the endless opportunities and challenges in farming with all of you who attended #EWA in Chicago! pic.twitter.com/AzSVVbOmI9

— John Deere (@JohnDeere) December 2, 2016

2. Engage, share, reinforce – don’t just talk at people.

Trump loves retweeting people who share his views. Firstly, it makes his followers feel like he’s listening and is interested in their feedback. Secondly, it shows to a wider audience that people like him and believe in what he has to say. And you only have to look at TripAdvisor or Amazon to see how influential positive peer recommendations and reviews can be.

"@JoeBowman12: @jeffzeleny just another generic CNN part time wannabe journalist !" @CNN still doesn't get it. They will never learn!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016

"@trumplican2016: .@realDonaldTrump There will be MASSIVE turnout for you, Mr. Trump – These polls don't register the pulse of the PEOPLE!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2016

While not all brands have the multimillion-strong following of Donald Trump, engaging with followers and sharing their feedback can still prove very powerful. In a world rife with marketing messages, echoing positive customer comments is an authentic and effective alternative to self-promotion. Sharing’s caring, after all.

Like Trump, Starbuck’s also does a great job of retweeting their followers’ positive feedback, like the following:

The first step of decorating for Christmas is decorating the inside of my belly with this snickerdoodle hot chocolate @Starbucks

— Sarah Marck (@Sarah_Purrraud) December 3, 2016

Starbucks Christmas blend coffee is as close as it gets to liquid gold

— Alexis Zamora (@alexis_zamoraa) November 21, 2016

3. Make the sentiment clear.

Headlines that affect very strong emotions—whether positive or negative—often get the most engagement. The same can be assumed of tweets. “Power words” also increase engagement. Trump consistently makes the sentiment in his tweets very clear, often adding descriptive exclamations at the end of his tweets.

This post shows both positive sentiment and uses power words (enjoy, great):

.@FoxNews will be re-running "Objectified: Donald Trump," the ratings hit produced by the great Harvey Levin of TMZ, at 8:00 P.M. Enjoy!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016

This post shows a strong negative sentiment and uses several power words (biased, funny, sad, worse):

Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016

For more engagement with your posts, try incorporating positive or negative sentiment, along with power words. To evaluate your social posts (or headlines), check out CoSchedule’s headline analyzer.

From a corporate perspective, Content Marketing Institute makes excellent use of power words with their brand account, but could use some work improving sentiment.

This tweet has positive sentiment and uses a whopping four power words (delay, exclusive, gain, secure):

Gain access to our exclusive online courses. Secure a seat at CMI U. But don't delay – enrollment closes 12/30! https://t.co/Vakdyux7gv pic.twitter.com/SRgEPXTc5U

— Content Marketing (@CMIContent) December 7, 2016

This tweet also uses four power words (avoid, free, join, mistakes) but has a neutral sentiment:

Beginning in a few minutes! Join our free webinar, 8 Biggest Mistakes Content Marketers Make and How to Avoid Them https://t.co/lTt9DhcTos pic.twitter.com/ZHbdOs7O3I

— Content Marketing (@CMIContent) December 7, 2016

While I’ve already mentioned them once, Starbuck’s deserves another pat on the back for their use of sentiment (all positive, in their case) and power words, too.

The power words here are beautiful and bliss:

Hello, beautiful. #CranberryBlissBar #TisTheSeason pic.twitter.com/l8jTSv7Q6C

— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) December 2, 2016

Power words are like and gift:

For a father, mother or grandmother,
it's a #StarbucksCard like none other.
Customizable gift cards are now available.✍❤️ #StockingStuffers pic.twitter.com/yATPBaoHfl

— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) November 28, 2016

4. Check your facts.

While The Donald is great at many things social, this could be considered one of his weak spots. For example, Trump was in Scotland opening a new golf course when the UK voted to leave the EU. He tweeted that Scotland was “…going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back.”

Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2016

The problem was, Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. Trump was met with many less than favorable reactions to the mistake. To avoid this type of embarrassment and backlash, double check that the facts are on your side before posting on social media. And on a related note, make sure you’re not sharing fake news.

Delta was also caught and held responsible for sending inaccurate tweets. In this case, the company tweeted a message about the World Cup that was intended to convey a score of 2-1, USA versus Ghana. Unfortunately, Delta was quickly informed that there are, in fact, no giraffes in Ghana (an ironic geography lesson for a company that should know its geography). Be sure to check your photos for accuracy, too.

delta tweets inaccurate photo for world cup

5. The Internet is forever.

Trump has also been caught deleting contentious tweets in the past. While deleting a social post might remove it from your feed, the Internet never forgets. Fans and followers often screenshot favorite and/or contentious posts that later show up to haunt their authors. And, if enough time has passed before deletion, search engines index the posts. The lesson here? Make sure you want your post to live forever.

Many brands have also made the blunder of sending off offensive, racist, insensitive or otherwise insulting tweets, only to attempt to delete them later. As this article highlights, many of the posts live on to ensure continued embarrassment.

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