Trump - A Marketing Perspective


American businessman, television personality, politician and the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump – whether you like him or loathe him – is here to stay. Known mostly for his outrageous statements, debatable opinions and questionable future plans, Trump regularly uses Twitter to voice his intentions. 

With over twenty-three million followers, Trump has produced a platform that enables him to cause controversy using only one hundred and forty characters. His most memorable Tweets referring to Cinco de Mayo and Megyn Kelly, were retweeted and liked hundreds of thousands of times, leaving readers both gobsmacked and bemused.

We live in a world where social media is rapidly taking over. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even YouTube are great platforms for interaction, so what better platform for Trump to use than one that encourages these interactions through hashtags, trends and limited characters? His impact on social media has been described as prolific, his vulgarity captures audience’s attention, leading them to re-tweet, respond, and even write articles but ultimately question whether he “really just said that?” But exactly what is this impact we speak of?

Many politicians use social media to produce a running commentary of their day to day lives, thoughts and feelings, Trump however, performs. He made his formal presidential announcement on Periscope, uses Facebook to communicate with his supporters (and even the opponents) and claims Twitter helped him to win the presidential election – social media has power and Trump understands its importance.

Using social media so consistently leading up to the presidential election enabled Trump to take advantage of any and every opportunity to communicate with audiences unlike any other politician in recent history. Social media platforms allow greater reach with targeted communications that secure the reception of a message, however, these communications work both ways. Unlike previous presidential elections and the lead up to them, audiences were unable to create these responses in such a timely manner. This engagement isn’t always a good thing however, as Trump has discovered a number of times. Most recently, the backlash of his Tweets regarding Meryl Streep. He described her as a “Hilary flunky who lost big” which caused thirty-seven thousand people to respond and not all positively, one person branded him a “pathetic liar”. This trialogue, though typical in other areas, is not something that has occurred in the political world, least not through social media. These platforms have enabled the behaviours of the audience to change dramatically, offering them the ability to divulge their opinions like never before.

Trump stated in a recent interview that he spent absolutely no money whatsoever on television advertising in the build-up to the presidential election, preferring to rally and utilise social media. Taking this route has enabled him to create an online marketing strategy which has offered both opportunities and implications. Firstly, the ability to hashtag his infamous tagline is not something the political world has seen before. A tagline that first emerged in 2012, “Make America Great Again” was and still is at the forefront of everything that Trump encompasses and can be found across his entire campaign, not just on social media. Secondly, the opportunity to communicate with supporters instantly has meant that his following has grown vastly, enabling a far wider reach. However, this can also be seen as an implication as this communication is not always positive. The ability to type a statement and publish it within seconds in a world where everything is screenshotted, everything is viewed and everything is scrutinised means that once it is out there, it cannot be retrieved.

Whatever your opinion on Donald Trump, there is no denying that he has utilised social media to the best of his ability. Did it help him to win the presidential election and become the 45th president of the United States of America, as well as one of the most powerful men in the world? It certainly played a part.