Social Media Management ROI, How Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Became the Candidates of a New Era
It goes without saying that discussing politics and religion is usually a no-no. Family dinners, first dates, and even thesis papers can all be adversely effected when politics are inserted. But, just this once, we’d like to discuss a political moment to demonstrate the power of the Internet, specifically to improve your social media management ROI. Without making judgments on the merit of the candidates, it is a fairly reasonable statement to say that Clinton and Rubio began the election season as the political darlings of the mainstream media (MSM). They are the typical, polished candidate that political parties tend to choose as their frontrunner. As such they went the standard route of talk shows, SNL appearances, and commercials. That is how it has always been done and that is the approach of a mainstream candidate. Again, without a judgment of their merits, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were not the MSM or political party choice as contenders and yet both men have inspired a populist groundswell and have used the various tools of social media and digital marketing to their advantage. Let’s examine their rise in popularity for a moment.
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The Bernie Sanders campaign is almost 100% the direct result of young people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using hashtags to express their devotion to this rather grandfatherly Senator from Vermont. They love “Uncle Bernie”. They tweet photos, they spend a large portion of their day advocating for him and his policies on Twitter with very little interaction with the candidate. This is what makes this campaign unique. His social media team barely tweets, barely posts, and barely has to confront issues online because there is a grassroots movement doing it for them. In fact, it was not the Sanders for America team that even came up with “Feel the Bern”, but they knew enough to go with it.
Good copy, good hashtags, good catch phrases always work to condense a message to a bite-sized, palatable chunk that people can chew and digest.
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Millions of dollars are spent finding catch phrases that work and Bernie’s team got theirs for free. This is a very important lesson to be learned by any business. The Internet has a culture and it is a culture of quick, lighting-flash messages. The people who spend a lot of time on the Internet are attuned to writing and reading those messages. Listen to your customers. That’s how you improve your social media management ROI. See what they have to say, appropriate it, reward them. You could have the next #FeeltheBern on your hands.
Can’t Stump the Trump
Again, leaving personal feelings out of the discussion of this controversial candidate, anyone watching this campaign in marketing has to stand up and applaud. Donald Trump took that old adage of “there’s no such thing as bad press” and ran with it. He has gotten more free press, more tweets, more Facebook posts, more Instagram shares from his enemies than his own campaign. There is a reason why he can self-fund and still be at the top: people hate him so much that they give him free press daily. He has mastered the art of baiting and waiting. His Twitter team should be given raises because they cause enough controversy to keep him constantly floated in everyone’s timelines as magazines and bloggers react. The cycle goes something like this:
- Make controversial FB post or Tweet
- Wait for journalists and bloggers to react
- Clarify statement
Even the various memes that circulate making fun of his famous hair have been embraced by Trump’s team because they understand that even critical memes get his name out there.
Now, certainly no one is suggesting that a restaurant should behave like Trump but there are certainly takeaways to his approach. Most importantly, he proved that you should never spend money in advertising if you can get free advertising. The money he saved by allowing the bad press to push him through the primaries can now be used should he win the nomination against Clinton. Secondly, it’s ok sometimes to allow a negative to be a positive. Anyone in the Chicago area can attest to the popularity of Ed Debevic’s, a restaurant known for grouchy wait staff. When the video of the grumpy waitress went viral the restaurant’s popularity went through the roof.
The Internet is the World’s Largest Small Town
One of the other things that Trump and Sanders campaign staff understands far better than that of Hillary and Cruz is the concept of the Internet as a small town. It’s that place where everyone knows your name. People are always in your business. What you do has immediate ripples. It also means that you have direct access to people that you would otherwise not have any dealings with. You can put an @ into a box and tweet directly to Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. Whether they read it or not isn’t the issue. The psychological factor remains ever-present that you can directly respond or engage people you may not know in real life or may never know. Their teams know that they must hand pick tweets to retweet so that people feel like they are being heard.
Your business has that same ability to respond and respond in a way and time of your choosing. You can directly engage customers and create focused dialogue which appears to everyone else as “off the cuff”. This is a huge benefit to your company or brand.
Certainly, no one is implying you have to be a Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders to learn from them. The idea is to take what works to improve your social media ROI and apply it. You can be carefully provocative. You can allow your clients to lead. These things work regardless of your business type or style. Digital marking is like a Chinese buffet, take what you want and go back for seconds if it works.
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Author: Eliud Lamboy
Eliud “Elliott” Lamboy is the CEO and co-founder of Br8kthroo Corp. His work at Br8kthoo began after transitioning from public service helping veterans improve their lives. He is also a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom, working as a flight nurse in hostile environments. He now brings those core values of “service before self” and “excellence in all we do” to his civilian duties.