There's no question presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has transformed Twitter into a communications art form. The controversial candidate has made what was once just one of many social channels used by politicians, professionals and laymen alike into a must-read happening.
He's used Twitter to satirize, scorn and scorch opponents. He's leveraged just 140 characters to state positions, stances and commentary on breaking news. He's created a few new rules while blasting countless others to smithereens. But, critically, in almost each instance, Trump has used a Tweet to create an entirely new news cycle. And, love him or hate him, that's pioneering.
While nearly every single Trump Tweet was composed to address the issue du jour, some can be emulated by business owners to market themselves in dynamic, new ways. Most, though, are to be avoided like the plague.
Here are 10 of what I'd call the good, the bad and the diabolically clever (and how you might apply a few to your own strategic marketing):
1. @realDonaldTrump: Will be in Bangor, Maine today! Join me- 4pmE at the Cross Insurance Center! https://www.donaldjtrump.com/schedule/register/bangor-me/
Here's a great use of Twitter to let your customers, employees, community leaders and other key constituents know exactly where you'll be to deliver important business news. No offense to Inc.com or other outlets, but this is a terrific technique to go directly to your target.
2. @realDonaldTrump: Just landed in New York - a one night stay in Scotland. Turnberry came out magnificently. My son, Eric, did a great job - under budget!
In one fell swoop, Trump told us about a new project, heaped praise on the lead manager and promoted his own fiscal responsibility. Think about Tweeting something similar the next time you accomplish similar results.
3. @realDonaldTrump: Thoughts and prayers are with everyone in West Virginia- dealing with the devastating floods. #ImWithYou
Trump's Tweet is a perfect primer for any executive marketing team deliberating whether it is, or isn't, appropriate to comment on a national tragedy.
4. @realDonaldTrump: Read my full statement here on the Supreme Court's executive amnesty decision #imwithyou https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-on-executive-amnesty-ruling
In this example, Trump uses the brevity of Twitter to provide the full text of an important statement. It's the perfect way in which to call the media's attention to your POV and allow them to decide if your words merit reading.
5. @realDonaldTrump: Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!
I'd have to grade the Donald a C- at best on this Tweet. While he happened to be in the right country at the right time to trumpet Brexit, Trump didn't know the Scots felt very differently about the issue than their British counterparts. End result: backlash.
This is a great learning lesion for any entrepreneur: Always think about your audience and their reaction before issuing a comment.
6. @realDonaldTrump: I would like to extend my best wishes to all, even the haters and losers, on this special date, September 11th.
Even a fifth grade schoolgirl selling lemonade on the corner would know enough to steer clear of any sort of 9/11 pronouncement, especially one as politically charged as this one.
7. @realDonaldTrump: Boycott of all Apple products until such time as Apple gives cellphone info to authorities regarding radical Islamic terrorist couple from Cali.
An entrepreneur has to be practical before issuing any statement that would be considered foolish at best (as if Apple users will turn to another brand). He should also think twice about alienating prospective buyers of his product or service. "I'm not buying Trump after he just dissed very best friend in life, my iPhone."
8. @realDonaldTrump: I love Mexican people, but Mexico is not our friend. They're killing us at the border and they're killing us on jobs and trade. FIGHT!
This statement reminds me of the ones made several years back by the CEO's of LuLuLemon and Chick-fil-a, respectively. The former said, "Our fashion items simply weren't made for women of a certain size." The latter injected his personal religious beliefs into the dialogue by stating his fast food chain would only serve followers of the Bible."
Whether you're running for president, leading a global women's fashion line or lining up to take market share away from McDonald's, it's just not smart to alienate a huge swath of your target audience with one ill-conceived comment
9. @realDonaldTrump: Crooked Hillary is wheeling out one of the least productive senators in the U.S. Senate, goofy Elizabeth Warren, who lied on heritage.
This is a reference to Warren's remarks on several occasions that she is part Native American, such as in a 2012 interview with NPR. According to cnn.com,"In that account and others, a genealogist traced Warren's heritage to the late 19th century, which, if true, would make her 1/32 Native American."
This comes down to basic fact-checking. As we tell CEOs in every media training session, "If you don't want to see it, hear it or read it, don't say it."
The diabolically clever
10. @realDonaldTrump: How long did it take your staff of 823 to think that up - and where are your 33,000 missing e-mails?
That was the Donald's response to a Hillary Tweet suggesting Trump delete his account. Trump's retort is diabolically clever. In one fell swoop, he establishes his unrivaled position as the swiftest Tweeter on the planet while simultaneously changing subjects and attacking Senator Clinton for not releasing her Benghazi-related e-mails.
The best corporate example of this type of misdirection came 50-years-ago when Avis, and its legendary ad agency, DDB, launched a print campaign that read, "We're number two. We have to be better." In just seven words, the far smaller Avis called out market leader Hertz, increased its own awareness while suggesting their quality and service were superior since it had to be.
Note to readers: There's much to be learned, and much more to be forgotten, when assessing whether Trump's Twitter strategy might put a jolt in your organization's brand awareness.
I'd sum it up by stating the obvious: Donald J. Trump is an anomaly in every sense of the word. One or two of his Tweets might fit your strategic goals like a glove, but I'm willing to guess the other, far more incendiary ones are best left alone.
It's better to maintain market share with a traditional campaign than to lose a large percentage as a result of just one tweet.