Insight

Will Trump ever out Trump himself on Twitter?

Grayling US account supervisor, Trevor Thompson, takes a closer look at the relationship between Trump and Twitter and how each has possibly become the other’s biggest marketing tool.

Never before has the American public had 24/7 access into a president’s mind. Enter, Donald Trump.

With over 80 million followers, the reality television veteran and business mogul has rewritten communications as we know it. Leveraging the platform to share spur of the moment thoughts, drive elections or spark a spirited, and oftentimes controversial debate, Trump regularly leaves us thinking, “what will he tweet next?”

No matter where you land on Trump, he has mastered the art of marketing himself. Through confounding appeals to his base and pithy catch phrases, he targets both his opponents and allies. Below, we take a closer look at some of the strategies he has employed over the years to grow, maintain and, at times, isolate followers:

Dominate the media…through just one tweet
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then so are Trump’s tweets. He has created his own 24 hour news cycle where journalists and the public alike are hanging on every word. A tweet, or a string of tweets and retweets, can be reported on and stay top of mind for days. The latest example: his own battle against the very platform that has come to be his standard of communications, Twitter.

Lean into controversy and popular culture
Whether he was defending Tom Brady against Deflategate or declaring himself the president of #lawandorder, Trump has used Twitter to insert himself into some of the nation’s and world’s most controversial topics. His use of memes suggests his team understands popular culture’s effectiveness in influencing his audience, particularly supporters.

Simplicity is key
When you hear ‘just do it,’ you know it is Nike. When you hear ‘Make America Great Again,’ you know it is Trump.

Trump took the same methodology advertisers have applied to taglines, catch phrases and slogans for decades to hone in on his audience and subsequently label his opponents. He shaped an entire election by aligning himself with the very picture of what his audience aspires towards, wealth and a better America, and contrasts everyone else as failures.

Trump likes to talk about Trump. His audience likes to hear about Trump.
Trump initially narrowed in on the far right and used rhetoric and issues that spoke directly to them. As controversial as some of his statements have been, his off-the-cuff and untraditional style of communications eventually captured a large majority of one party as it appears honest compared to the polished style of other politicians.

Now with Trump’s war on social media, specifically Twitter, the question is, does Trump need Twitter or does Twitter need Trump?