How Trump Won The Social Media Battle
So how did Trump pull off one of the biggest upsets in election history? There are plenty of factors that helped him secure his victory but a key role was undoubtedly social media. The non-stop media coverage of him as a candidate made it clear that other Republican candidates would soon be forgotten. With his already pre-existing celebrity status Trump was already a media personality before he ran and throughout the entire campaign he became the word on everyone’s tongues.
Understand Your Audience And Develop Your ‘Voice’
“He knows his crowd, he knows his audience,” said Howard Dean, a former Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2004. “It’s a phenomenon to watch.”
During the election Trump’s Twitter account was often taken over by his team to temper some of his more extreme Twitter utterances, but there’s no doubt followers across the country (and indeed the globe) were hanging on his every tweet during campaigning, garnering him a direct route to voters that few candidates had ever managed before.
By knowing and understanding his audience he was able to quickly scope out what they wanted to hear and see and build on those points. Social media amplified his image through the sharing of gifs, videos, tweets and Facebook posts. His 15million Twitter followers Trumped Hillary’s 13million in more ways than one.
Trump also managed to attract significantly more social media interactions due to what some have called his ‘authentic’ voice. He posted very frequently, even sometimes at 3am in the morning. 4C Insights found 57.9 million social media engagements online for Mr. Trump from Oct. 1 to Nov. 7 and 47.7 million for Mrs. Clinton during the same period.
Get The Whole Organisation Involved
Trump himself was already a massive online persona as the election started but he got all of his family (all with significant social media followers of their own) involved in sharing and spreading his message. With Ivanka Trump at 1.8million Instagram followers and Tiffany Trump at 450K, The Clinton Foundation at only 96.1k Instagram followers couldn’t compete for sheer reach.
Choose the right platform
Social media has increased tenfold since the 2012 election with platforms such as Snapchat and the use of Facebook and Twitter being now essential to the majority of voters. Over 75 million tweets were sent on 2016 Election Day itself, compared to 31 million during the 2012 election.
Already an enthusiastic user of Twitter before running for president, Trump already had a tone of voice and tweeting style that couldn’t be mistaken for anyone else and he chose to use Twitter in particular to speak to the voters. The fact that his tweets often caused controversy that made news headlines only served to amplify his message still more.
His approach to using social media seems to have paid off as analysis found that overall, Trump had more support on Twitter and Facebook than his rival. From Oct. 1 through Nov. 7, views of Mr. Trump were 58% positive while views of Hillary Clinton were 48% positive.
He was also consistently the most Googled candidate and also the most mentioned on Facebook and Twitter. Although Hillary actually had the top two most re-tweeted tweets during the election campaign (one being from her concession speech).
What This All Means For Brands: Brands need to really understand their audience’s needs and identify the best platform to reach them. Involving everyone in your organisation to work together to spread a message really does help to build your online brand. And there’s no doubt that being ‘authentic’ and having a tone of voice significantly different from your competitors will also get attention. A bit of controversy doesn’t hurt either! It’s a risky strategy but, when it pays off, the results can be literally seismic.