As the winners and losers of the 2016 US elections continue to ponder the results, one trend is clear: Social media affected the November election by generating a mass conversation that polarized voters and helped Donald Trump project his political image onto a new playing field.
More than Hilary Clinton and other Democratic and Republican primary competitors, Trump made the medium his message. He used Twitter to create a political persona based on 140-character, headline-making tweets that provided real-time commentary.
Twitter was a powerful approach for reaching 300 million followers. But Trump should understand it may undermine a long-term need to create new communities of support and drive policy adoption.
As president, Donald Trump needs to think and act like a relationship-builder, and not just a brand-maker. He needs to drive long-term engagement to nurture constituent relationships that generate broader demand for his ideas.
But can this reality-TV star evolve from reactionary, finger-pointing tweet headlines to chief storyteller and coalition builder?
Moving from headlines to constituent engagement will challenge Trump as social media supports his preference for reaction over ideas, and his need for immediate gratification over the slow development of solutions. Of his 34,098 tweets* between June 2015 and December 2016, most fueled a steady offensive campaign to...
- Promote polls, articles, and factoids that favored him: "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally" November 27, 2016
- Criticize Hilary Clinton, either directly or by linking to negative articles: "Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?" September 30, 2016
- Attack those who offended his friends and advisers: "The media is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania's speech than the FBI spent on Hillary's emails." July 20, 2016
As he moves from provocateur to US President, what can Trump learn from marketers about how to build virtual relationships, grow influence, and sustain engagement?
Trump might consider four marketing-tested ideas in his new role as US President.