President Trump has thrown “social media rules” out the window. No other president has been as active on Twitter, or any social media platform for that matter and has even called himself “the Ernest Hemmingway of 140 characters”.
From attacking celebrities to what some call threatening a world war here are 5 things Donald Trump has taught us not to do when it comes to our Twitter strategy.
1. Avoid Typos
Covfefe anyone? Whether you have millions of followers or not, taking a little extra time to check that your published content is correct is essential. Not only do you want to make sure there are no spelling errors, double check for basic grammatical mistakes and that your links are working. Quotes should be properly cited, articles should come from reputable sources and stats should be factual. These things only take a few moments and can make or break how audiences view your brand. The last thing you want from your followers are comments that say your link is broken or that you used the wrong form of “there”.
“Unpresidented” “No challenge is to great” “Hearby” “Our deepest apologizes” “honered to serve” are just some of the embarrassing typos from President Trump that Twitter has a field day with. These mistakes can make your company seem careless, unprofessional and put a dent in your credibility, some may even say incompetent.
2. Brand Consistency
Whichever industry you are in, it can sometimes be beneficial to join in on the cultural conversation and leverage certain trending topics, albeit they pertain to your business. For example, if you sell sporting goods, keeping up with trending hashtags during the Olympics makes sense and can be valuable to both you and your followers. However, when you are the President of The United States, it might be best not to take multiple jabs at Meryl Streep at the Oscars. If something seems off-topic for your brand and you’re reaching for it to make sense for you, leave it alone.
Twitter has been around for over 10 years, it may be a good idea to take some time and go back and scrub old tweets that are inconsistent with your company’s current philosophy. You don’t want any new tweets to be incongruous with older tweets. Many Twitter users are retweeting Trumps cringeworthy older tweets that simply didn’t age well. Users have been digging up tweets that are direct contradictions of his current policies. Now not everyone has archives of hypocritical tweets waiting to be uncovered, however cleansing your account for things that are simply off brand is constructive.
3. Too Much Self-Promotion
Some people have social media strategy down to a science. There is Gary Vee’s, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” method, which is basically engage, engage, engage self promote. There is also the 5:3:2 method that’s about balancing your content and focusing on your audience, not yourself. If your entire Twitter presence is just self-promotion you’re not adding anything of value for your followers. Constant self-promo will get you unfollowed or even blocked.
Trump is infamous for being self-congratulatory and constantly tooting his own horn, often referring to himself as a genius and tweeting exaggerated approval ratings. He does this so often that when he does tweet about others it seems disingenuous.
4. Listen and Express Empathy
No, you don’t have to jump on to every #prayfor_____ trending topic you see for the sake of retweets. However, you do want your company to be able to show that they care. In the case of a natural disaster or national tragedy sharing your opinion or “hot take” or placing blame on somebody is the wrong thing to do.
After a hurricane hit Puerto Rico, Trump condemned the San Juan Mayor on her poor leadership abilities. Perhaps tweeting words of reassurance for the Puerto Rican people or providing a link where people can donate would have been more productive. Capitalizing on a tragedy is also a big no-no and may brands have learned this the hard way.
Using your Twitter account to listen is severely overlooked. If a customer uses Twitter to complain, address them and offer to speak to them via DM or provide them a customer service number to get their issue resolved. Having an all out Twitter feud with a customer in front of other followers will hurt you in the end.
5. Being Creative Doesn’t Mean Being Controversial
Being consistent doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, and being creative doesn’t mean you have to be controversial. Trying something new in your social media strategy is a good thing. How will you know something works if you’re not constantly experimenting?
However, a lot of brands can land themselves in hot water when they try to be funny or they try to be risqué. Getting a second, third or 4th opinion on your tweet before you click send can save you from irreparable damage if that tweet goes awfully south. Going viral for a tone-deaf tweet can label your brand ignorant for years.
Although it was once advised to keep politics hush, some brands are going full steam ahead. If your brand is against racism, sexism and homophobia and passionate about certain social issues then speaking out on a matter might be important to you. These days more consumers want to know what companies stand for or if you stand for anything at all.
Culture is changing and brands removing themselves from anything remotely controversial are actually alienating a lot of their audience. Some brands that have spoken out against the president have seen overwhelming support while other brands that have expressed their political stances have been hit with the dreaded b word- boycott.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.