It’s a Twitter takeover.
That’s how Politico described how presidential candidate Donald Trump’s use of the social network that excels in real-time and breaking news. With more followers and consequentially a social megaphone that is far larger than anything his rivals in either party can access, Trump has made this presidential election cycle more ‘social’ than ever.
As the nominating conventions approach and election day draws ever closer, Politico analysts (they are the ones responsible for the graphs and charts in this post) looked at the myriad of ways that Donald Trump is outplaying al of his rivals on the social network. Their data, backed with our analysis here at DOZ, reveals that Trump is not only putting on a Twitter clinic for his opponents, he is also demonstrating to individuals, brands, and businesses how to use the platform to the fullest extent.
Here are four things that you can learn from Donald Trump’s Twitter stream that can help you achieve the sorts of results, reach, and engagement you’re looking for on Twitter.
Tweet regularly to grow your audience.
Donald Trump posted his first tweets in 2009. However, for the first few years he spent on the platform, he didn’t tweet quite as regularly as he now does. From 2009 and through to 2011 Trump sometimes went weeks without posting even a single tweet. However, beginning in late 2011, Trump began to post more frequently and has since never gone a week without posting something on Twitter. In 2015 and 2016 as the presidential race got into gear, Trump began tweeting more than ever and – no surprise – his audience of followers grew, too.
Are you tweeting regularly like Donald Trump, or are you only making time to tweet a couple of times a month? Expecting an audience to get and remain engaged with your messaging on Twitter is almost impossible if your messages are lonely and lost in the jungle of tweets from the other 300 million active users. To build an audience you need to tweet regularly. According to Buffer, the best post frequency on Twitter is somewhere between 3 and 30 times per day, but did state “if you want to wring the most value out of every tweet you send, tweet about five times each day.” Get regular, and grow your audience Trump-style.
Analyze your engagement, don’t just measure it
Like any Twitter user the likes and retweets provide proof of engagement with the audience. Donald Trump is particularly good at winning likes and retweets. Indeed, since primary season got underway he has averaged more than 2,200 retweets for every tweet he posts, a result that most businesses and brands would kill for! Yet it is not enough to measure the engagement but also to analyze it. As the chart above demonstrates it is possible to identify the issues that provoke the most engagement and then take steps to tailor messaging to that audience. Is it any surprise that, as Trump Twitter followers engaged most passionately with immigration and foreign affairs issues, candidate Donald Trump also chose to tweet more about these issues?
While your business might struggle to get 2000 followers let alone 2000 retweets, its still worthwhile analyzing what your audience is engaging with. Tools such as Buffer or Twitter’s own analytics platform can help you identify what content has gained the most engagement, reached the largest audience, and which influencers helped boost your post all on their own. You can use this information to tailor your tweets to hit this audience again and again, promoting engagement and improving your reach. In other words, don’t fall for the vanity metrics of retweets and likes but rather make sure you include analysis of these engagement metrics in your Twitter strategy.
Social media domination is a long game
With the incredible coverage that every tweet from @realDonaldTrump receives in the mainstream media these days it is hard to conceive of a time when Trump’s social media presence wasn’t automatically a breaking news strategy. Yet as the chart above demonstrates, Trump’s headline-grabbing Twitter game has been a long time in the making. While he has a national profile in the United States and even around the world for decades, he was tweeting for years before gaining the sort of traction we associate with his account today. With only brief spikes in engagement in 2009 and 2012 breaking up an otherwise flat engagement rate, Trump’s so-called ‘Twitter Love’ was a long time coming.
This is something to keep in mind when agonizing over your own Twitter feed. If you feel like you’ve been tweeting regularly, engaging with followers, building your audience slowly but surely, and are still panicking because the high engagement you’re looking for hasn’t happened, then…relax. Give it time. As Trump’s own experience demonstrates, Twitter is a social medium like any other and it’s not typical to arrive in a new social environment and immediately make a huge impact. Recognize that it is going to take time to start making your mark and have faith that, if you’re getting the fundamentals right, you’ll eventually get there.
Keep your branding consistent
Donald Trump has found fame this election cycle for his effective branding of fellow candidates. His references to “Low Energy Jeb”, “Little Marco”, “Lyin’ Ted”, and “Crooked Hillary” are near-instant political classics, and his consistent branding of his rivals on Twitter has helped him to push the nicknames to a wider audience, and the mainstream media. As the chart above demonstrates, once Trump ‘brands’ a rival, a politician, or a family member, they stay branded. Ivanka Trump? Great. Ted Cruz? Nasty. Marco Rubio? Lightweight. By keeping things consistent on Twitter, his primary and secondary audiences begin to absorb his branding and refer to those brands, too.
Your business is probably not about putting someone in the White House and is likely less personally confrontational than a presidential run. However, applying Trump-like Twitter consistency in your tweets can help your audience better understand your products and better align your social media promotions with your other promotional efforts, both online and offline. If a product is described as “world class” in a tweet, make sure you don’t refer to it as “best in class” or “world leading” in follow up tweets. Make it easy for your audience to understand what you are talking about, connect your different tweets together over time, and follow you just as consistently as you hope they will.
Donald Trump isn’t everyone’s favorite politician but he does offer an example of how to use Twitter effectively to communicate a message. His experience on the platform and his effectiveness in reaching out to his audience using the platform stands as an example to others and can – and should – inspire everyone from politicians to small business and ambitious individuals to achieve their best possible results on Twitter.