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Lessons from Trump: The Don’t Of Social Media 

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Trolling, Trump, fake news. Scrolling the deregulated channels of social media, we can’t escape the controversy, friction and outright division engulfing our world at present. Love him or loathe him, Donald Trump is no stranger to the often precarious world of social media. From tweeting some of his most controversial policy proposals to infiltrating conspiracy theories aimed at belittling the opposition, Trump shrewdly manipulated the power of social media to help pave his way to the White House.

Yes, it’s safe to say, there’s a lot to be learned from newly-elected US president’s social media efforts, and none more so than for SMEs.

Social media etiquette

Social media is unquestionably a powerful tool in helping you promote your brand, your message, and your identity. However, get social media wrong and it can be as detrimental as it can be constructive.

  1. Avoid negativity

One way SMEs can ‘get social media wrong’ is by using negativity. Trump may have used negativity and controversy to assist in the torrent of followers and fans his social media channels enjoyed in the presidential election campaign, but for brands looking to positively increase online presence, build relationships with customers and clients, generate engagement and generally get their brand in the social media spotlight and generate business, negativism is certainly not the way to achieve a positive social media presence.

Social media negativity can come in a myriad of guises. From using profanity to judge and belittle the competition, using misanthropy as a means of creating pessimism or distrust in a competitor, an individual or group, or discrimination intended to disrespect or demean, negativity won’t do an SME’s image or its digital marketing objectives any favours.

As Small Biz Trends writes in a feature about social media etiquette:

“Negativity is fatiguing. We don’t always like people, places and things but we need to work on some acceptance, find the silver lining, stop complaining and be part of the solution, not the problem.”

  1. Avoid social media spamming

During the presidential election, the transition period and his first few weeks in office, Donald Trump has relied on Twitter as a superior resource for communicating with the American public. Trump consistently relies on Twitter to issue announcements, policies and proposals.

Such is Trump’s penchant for using Twitter as his preferred platform of communication that Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, publicly pledged the President will continue to use Twitter to communicate.

“He has this direct pipeline to the American people, where he can talk back and forth,” said Spicer to WPRO TV.

Digitally savvy SMEs should also use the likes of Twitter to make positive announcements, news, ideas and vision. What they shouldn’t do is make their social media marketing spammy.

From reposting the same updates to fill in feeds, to continuing to send messages despite being asked to stop, spamming comes in various pretexts on social media.

  1. The right balance of content

The key to social media success for SMEs is to get the balance of content right. Trump may have used social media to the maximum to proliferate his presence and reach his message to every corner of America, but if SMEs adopted such an aggressive approach, they would run the risk of looking too pushy, boastful and promotional. Brands that generate and manage social media campaigns successfully get the balance right of how often they post, the type of content they post, and engaging with their followers without being too assertive or promotional, including acknowledging others.

As well as promoting their own brand and its products and services, SMEs should, unlike Trump, avoid excessive self-promotion and focus on sharing content that relevant to their industry or niche. As Big Fin advises in an article titled ‘6 Common Social Media No-Nos’:

“Start sharing content that others would want to share, even if it does not directly relate to your company, as the caption will aid in directing those who glance at the post back to your page. Sometimes shareable posts will not be connected to your business, and that is perfectly okay!”

  1. But as least he is active!

Although his practices can’t be advised, perhaps the biggest lesson SMEs can learn from Donald Trump and his insatiable appetite for social media, is to be present and active on the various social media channels.

Research shows that more and more SMEs are using social media to attract business and help overcome business challenges. Consequently, if an SME isn’t active on social media, it runs the risk of losing out on business to competitors who are active on social media.

With 1.79 billion active users on Facebook worldwide, social media is a phenomenon SMEs simply can’t afford to ignore. However, as we can see through the new President of the United States, once it’s out there, it’s out there, and SMEs need to think carefully about the content they post for the world to see.

Get it wrong and the damage can be irreversible.

For help with bespoke digital marketing campaigns, including social media management designed to help SMEs garner results, get in touch with Tailor Made Media today.