I tend to steer away from politics in my blog posts, but this has been a really interesting election to say the least. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has proven just how out of touch “old media” is with the world of the Internet. A key component of Trump’s success has been his Twitter account. Yes. Twitter.
Although I’m sure Trump has a team crafting some of his tweets, he still manages to sound off quite a bit on his own. Many of these less vetted tweets have brought the most attention to his campaign. It’s amazing how many times during the primaries I saw Trump on the phone with Matt Lauer on NBC’s The Today Show as the result of one of his tweets.
This free publicity had an undeniable effect. Through February 2016, Trump had only spent $10 million on advertising compared to Jeb Bush’s $82 million. However, the real kicker is with free advertising via interviews, news coverage, etc. Trump received an astonishing $1.8 BILLION in “free” media!
His opponents might say that this is due to blind luck, but I believe Trump has made very good tactical decisions when it comes to even the most random and mundane things. I mean I woke up this morning to hear The Today Show talking about how Trump was eating KFC! At this time, less than 24 hours after posting, this one tweet has 13,000 retweets, 50,000 likes, and managed clog up my Facebook newsfeed.
The key is that Trump doesn’t have a committee vetting every little tweet, reply, or retweet. Sure that might get him into trouble sometimes, but I think the last few months have proven that even bad publicity can sometimes create a net gain. The point is that you need to be nimble on the Internet, we play by a completely different set of rules, and Trump understands this.
So how can you use this to your advantage as a business? Start bashing your competition via late night tweets? I wouldn’t advise that. However, here are some takeaways:
- Have a small social media team. The smaller the better.
- Give them the power to respond and create content on the fly.
- Be genuine to a fault. People hate canned responses!
- Embrace memes … but know how to use them.
- Don’t feed the trolls.