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The political landscape has been turned upside down.  We have had the equivalent of a 10.0 earthquake.  Political insiders are out and outsiders are in.  And while we can argue about why, many voters are tuned in to the ultimate political outsider, Donald Trump.

Social Media Takes a Front Seat

Mr. Trump understands how to leverage traditional media by making outrageous statements and then sitting back to let the political pundits to not only report the statements, but to pick them apart and gleefully wait for the fallout that never seems to come.  He knows how to get publicity without spending a dime on paid media.

However, even more consequential is his masterful use of Social Media.  His tweets make front-page news.   When a derogatory post about Iowa voters was retweeted,  Mr. Trump blamed an intern. No one seemed to believe him.  For better or worse, everyone believes that Mr. Trump is posting all of his tweets himself.  Whether or not this is true is debatable.  But true or not, we are all fascinated by the inside look we have been granted into Mr. Trump’s mind.

Although I don’t agree with his politics, I like that he is honest enough to tell it like it is (or at least as he sees it).  I enjoy his posts and applaud his authenticity – a trait missing from most politicians today.

He is an interesting man, and I can’t wait for his next tweet.

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The President and the Pope

The first time a presidential campaign used social media was in 2007. President Obama had a Facebook Page and Twitter account. While many of us knew that he was not always the one who posted to these accounts, his people made sure that all of the posts maintained the same tone and “voice,” which made it difficult to tell whether he was posting himself or whether it was one of his minions.  Whoever was posting,  social platforms gave Mr. Obama a great opportunity to reach a younger audience in a way that resonated with them.  He seemed to be one of them, and they responded.

The Pope may be my favorite example of an effective Social Media Campaign.  His recent entry into the Twitter sphere has been amazing.  However, it is hard to imagine the Pope sitting with his iPhone, posting to Twitter.  Maybe he does.  But it is more likely that one (or more) of his assistants has control over the account and posts things the Pope believes will capture the hearts and minds of his followers.

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Everyone is Selling Something.

Everyone is selling something.  Mr. Trump would be the first to admit that.  He is “selling” himself as a presidential candidate, and is hoping people will “buy” him with their votes. He is using a business model that fits his personality and style, and for now, it is working.  The Pope is hoping for more people to embrace the Catholic faith. His posts are designed to send messages that bring people into (or back to) the fold.

What Business Owners Can Learn

Whatever a business is selling, the way people buy has changed radically in the last 10 years.  Marketing and advertising have seen their own 10.0 earthquake.  Traditional media is no longer as effective as it once was.  People today want to “peek behind the curtain” of a business before they buy products and/or services from them.  They want to get to know the business on a human level. They want honesty and authenticity. They want to know what their friends (and even strangers) think about the company.  They do this by following businesses on social sites like Twitter and on Facebook.  But, just like the Pope and President Obama, business owners may be too busy running their businesses to spend a lot of time preparing and publishing their own posts.

Business owners also have to be a little more careful than Donald Trump.  Even Mr. Trump may find that ultimately some of his more outrageous posts will hurt him with voters. Business owners must be mindful of who their audience is and how they should speak to them.  They should actually take a page from the President and the Pope, and use social media professionals to run their campaigns.