Learning to apply the latest social media trends to your business objectives is a valuable insight many are hoping to take away from this week’s conferences world-wide. A topic sure to be on the lips of many panel-selected professionals is the influence political campaigning techniques have had on digital communications.
In 2015, the Guardian asked: “Can Donald Trump’s social media genius take him all the way to the White House?” Now at the end of 2017, we know that yes, indeed it can. Looking at exactly how recent years’ elections have played out online can provide some vital lessons for those hoping to get the best possible experience out of their social media accounts.
Getting into the “winning” mindset
During the 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump accrued more than 5.5m Twitter followers and 4.5m likes on Facebook. He was also active on YouTube, the late Vine, Instagram and Periscope. Former US president Barack Obama’s digital adviser Dan Pfeiffer at one point tweeted that Trump was “way better at the internet than anyone else in the GOP, which is partly why he is winning.”
Since becoming president, Trump’s personal social media accounts have grown to a combined total of 73m followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram alone. He receives more attention online than any other political leader worldwide: undoubtedly, the man is winning on social media.
Across the pond, Jeremy Corbyn has led the Labour party to its largest increase in vote share since 1945. This was thanks in large part to his excellent use of social channels: having identified that the youth vote would make a big difference for Labour; he took his message to the place most under 30s get their news.
In France, president Emmanuel Macron uses similar tactics. He often first shares his updates with his 1.6m Twitter followers and frequently skips TV interviews because they feel impersonal by comparison.
Mastering the art of social media is all about tailoring your brand’s voice and message to the people you need to reach, and speaking to them in the places they are most frequently found. Learning where your customers are most active and building a public image on that platform can be revolutionary for your business.
How to execute expert social media strategy
Whatever your industry, there are a few simple steps that your business can take to stand out online:
(1) Measure the competition. With numerous analysis tools available at low cost, it is imperative to understand what similar businesses are doing online so that your strategy might evolve to be different.
(2) Develop a strong brand. Now that you know what your competitors are doing, focus on adapting your core values for social media, so that you don’t blend in with the other voices. Need an example? Take a look at Wendy’s, the fast food chain. Whilst McDonald’s and Burger King tweet using a generic corporate voice, Wendy’s uses its Twitter and Tumblr accounts to weigh in on pop culture and poke fun at its fans.
(3) Lessen your reliance on traditional media. Facebook’s fake news experiment has made consumers increasingly skeptical of what they read. Instead of measuring your impact in print articles, pay attention to web analytics.
(4) Understand that your style will not appeal to everyone. Trump continues to succeed online because he doesn’t pander to the masses. He’s done all of the above and understands the needs of those who follow Trump. Tweet for your customers and your customers only – their positive sentiment towards your brand is the key to growing your business.
It takes a brand with a keen eye for its target audience to get the best returns using such platforms. It allows for a free opportunity to develop and share your companies voice, and sees you well-positioned to react in real-time to market events. In crowded industries, differentiation and a human voice can be the difference between a sale going to you or your competitor. Businesses that do not master this craft in 2018 will lose out.
Biljana Kocevska Adam is HR manager at Nest Investments