From left, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, former Jeb Bush aide Ethan Czahor and Bobby Jindal.
Post by Megan Totka
Though the presidential campaigns are just now getting off the ground, we’ve already seen some interesting moments from both sides of the candidate pool. Unsurprisingly, many of these moments have taken place over social media, bringing to mind some poignant tips that presidential candidates and small business owners could both benefit from. These are four Twitter tips we’ve learned from the presidential campaigns so far.
Use social media to announce big news
1When Hillary Clinton tweeted, “I’m running for president. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion,” Twitter went wild. Within half an hour, Clinton was being mentioned in 7,000 tweets per minute. Her original tweet received over 100,000 retweets, with favorites close behind. While you’ll likely never achieve these staggering numbers, you can hit the high points of your industry by using social media to announce exciting news. Whether you’re bringing on new and talented staff or doing business with another company, Twitter and Facebook can be great platforms to get your news out to the general public. And like it or not, popularity counts.
Don’t use social media for damage control
2When it comes to 2016 presidential campaigns, nothing says “damage control” like Donald Trump. After his highly inflammatory comments on Mexican immigrants, Trump came under fire from players on both sides of the field. However, rather than backtracking on his statement, he doubled down on a bad bet and used Twitter to reinforce his beliefs. This (along with other social media missteps) may serve him well in the short run, but media missteps live on and may ultimately do irreparable damage to his presidential campaign in the general election.
Similarly, if you find yourself in a position in which you must fix a PR disaster, refrain from using social media until you’ve written a concise, clearly thought-out response to the issue. Twitter can often bring out the worst in us, particularly if we’re quickly responding in the heat of the moment. Even if others have already taken to social media to bring up the problem, wait until you have a clear mind before addressing your public.
Keep an eye on your employees
3No one wants to be Big Brother, but your staff can do a lot of damage to your brand with unflattering activity on social media. If your company name is listed anywhere on their profile, anything they say or do can (and often will) be held against you.
For a good example of this, we need look no further than one of Jeb Bush’s aides, Ethan Czahor. Just after he joined Bush’s PAC, the news broke that he’d deleted dozens of off-color tweets from his personal account, many dating back several years. Czahor resigned soon afterward, and those at the Bush campaign were quick to distance themselves from him. However, if you aren’t actively keeping an eye on the activity of your staff, you may not have the time for such measures before the damage is done.
Be aware of your audience
4Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took to Twitter with an #AskBobby hashtag, likely meant to drum up timely political issues from his audience. However, he made one fatal mistake: he didn’t know who his audience actually was. To say that Jindal’s Twitter campaign backfired in a monumental way is an understatement. It was a colossal and highly embarrassing failure. Instead of thoughtful, relevant questions, he was barraged with insults, taunts and mockery.
So before you launch a similar campaign, be sure that you not only know your audience, but that you know how they feel about you. If your online reputation has been suffering, it may be best to hold off on this until it’s rehabilitated. And, if you find that your audience doesn’t reflect who you’re trying to reach, it may be time to do some pruning.