January 17, 2016
Before you get snarky and say … more than you think … or … probably not much … pay attention here.
Whether you like what Donald Trump says or not, think about the fact that for months he has dominated coverage of the presidential campaign leaving little time for competitors to be heard.
How many comments from his competitors do you remember? How many of his comments do you remember? I didn’t say love or hate. I said remember.
“Trump,” commented Nate Silver of the FiveThirtyEight blog, who used analytics to correctly call the 2012 presidential election in all 50 states, “has received about the most disproportionate media coverage ever for a primary candidate.”
There is a reason. Donald Trump is a media genius. A social media and news media genius.
Before any votes are cast and we begin to see what people really think, his campaign employs several wildly successful strategies – and one of these is social media. Especially the use of Twitter.
News media never want to cover the same story twice. They want to cover something new. Trump forces media to cover him every day because he creates new stories every day. He does it on Twitter.
Take a look at Trump on Twitter. See how many tweets he produces every day. See what his comments concern. He uses different comments daily to change the narrative. That forces media to determine whether there might be another story. But here is why this strategy is so brilliant.
Trump understands that media will keep a “good story” going as long as possible by capturing the responses of others, as this drives more traffic, clicks and ultimately more revenue opportunities.
This tactic used to be called the “man on the street” interview, where reporters asked people for comment on major events. Now reporters use “man on the Web” responses pulled from social media.
So Trump pumps out a trove of tweets every day and generates responses whether from the 5.68 million people who follow him on Twitter or others who support or oppose his comments and campaign.
Media who cover the campaign, and who may want to report on other candidates or stories, instead are forced to cover the response to what Trump says on Twitter because that response is now a story. He is dictating media coverage. He is beating the media at their own game, every single day.
But he is not just stealing coverage from the media. He is stealing oxygen from his competitors. That is at least part of his objective. So, then, there is something you can learn from Donald Trump.
First, use social media – and start with Twitter – to build a following among and more importantly a conversation with people who are important to your success. No matter how many followers you or your organization may have now, it probably isn’t enough to make a difference. You need more.
Second, start breaking news on social media, particularly Twitter. And I mean break news stories that include your biggest announcements. Your followers will respond to your announcements and news media, including those that might not have paid much attention, will likely cover the story and perhaps solely because of the social media response to your announcement.
Third, repeat the above all day, every day.
We’re going to find out as the primary season begins whether the support for Trump reflected in the omnipresent polls – polls that are driven unsurprisingly by his outrageously successful use of social and news media – is real or ephemeral. I wouldn’t put a bet on this either way.
But that is not the point here.
You can – and should – use social media to directly reach the customers, investors, employees and others who are critical to your success and simultaneously leverage these announcements and the audience response to drive news coverage to reach these and even more audiences too.