Donald Trump’s candidacy has been an eye opening experience for many people. Most don’t understand his popularity and can’t believe the poll numbers. Or they think that once people vote, he will be found out and reality will set in and he’ll drop quickly out of sight.
As you know I’ve been following the Trump phenomenon for a while now. And looking at how he crafts his message and every element of his public persona, I’m not surprised he’s resting at the top.
So whether you’re trying to improve your profile to get that next raise or promotion. Or if you’re an entrepreneur trying to ride the next wave. Or if you’re just coming out of high school or college and trying to get that first or next job. Here’s some things you can learn from Trump and apply to yourself and your upcoming opportunities.
Donald J. Trump – the King of Twitter
Donald Trump uses Twitter unlike any of his competitors. See How.
- Banner – “Trump” then below it “Make America Great Again”. The “M” is missing behind Trump’s profile pic but otherwise great. It is short, simple, and to the point. And it ties into the Trump brand and the tagline fits his simple vision for America. And one thing you learn is you need to keep things simple and easy to understand – typically 5th or 6th grade writing is key. He does that here.
- Tweets and Followers – Trump has 5.76 Million Followers. We’ll compare that to the other candidates but that gives him great credibility and reach with his message. Also having 30,400+ tweets shows he’s a regular user. Something that is important if you want to use it as a key platform in getting your message out.
- Profile Pic and Bio – Good solid pic – cropped tightly to make his presence stronger. Serious look – no nonsense – good negotiator. Blue checkmark shows he’s got enough celebrity or authority to be a “Verified” Twitter User. You don’t get that unless you matter. He also lists his Facebook and Instagram accounts and Website
- Trump Tweets – First tweet – being interviewed on CNN (always good to be interviewed and on a major news station). And he chose CNN since they are better to him than Fox News has been. And he knows that the viewers are voters he’s trying to influence. He’s already done a lot of Fox News interviews so most of their viewers, the political news junkies, already know him and where he stands and whether or not they support him. But the CNN crowd, they’re either typically the Democrats or Independents who might be swayed. Some of them are even Republican voters so he can pick them up. Also he is setting the stage for when he moves into the general election. At that point he’ll already have a ready following.
- The next tweet down is a CNN poll for New Hampshire – one of the two early states. It shows he’s winning by a large margin. Adds “authority” and “social proof” that he’s a force worth following and voting for.
- The third one talks about how Ted Cruz would be a disaster. And that is coming from Bob Dole. Now Bob was an Establishment Candidate previously. And so having him talk about it (rather than Donald Trump himself) creates extra credibility. With LinkedIn that is like an endorsement or recommendation. For a business website or promotion it is like a client testimonial or celebrity endorsement. Always better when someone else touts you instead of you. Trump is doing a much better job of adding these in to offset his continuous self-promotion.
So how does Trump compare with Ted Cruz?
- Banner Headline – “Courageous Conservatives”. Courageous Conservatives is a solid branding for Ted Cruz. He is like Don Quixote who tilted against windmills in “Man of La Mancha”. He is very conservative (as you can tell by his following by Mark Levin, conservative talk show host). He is probably the most conservative. He will likely win nearly all the “True Conservative” votes. Donald Trump is not really playing in that pool. The biggest question is whether or not defining himself as a “True Conservative” pigeon-holes himself too much (a micro-niche can be good if you’re trying to profit off a smaller group or create a select following…but it may be too small for a national campaign). I think this is what gives him an edge in Iowa but where the voters are more diverse, he will likely see his message doesn’t connect as much as Trump’s does.
- Banner Tagline – “Reigniting the Promise of America”. This is a good tagline but unfortunately Trump’s was made public first and hammered home. So Cruz’s seems more like a “Me-too” line. This is fine if he wants to be Vice President but hit puts him in 2nd place if someone is doing a side-by-side comparison between him and Trump.
- Tweets and Followers – Cruz has 733K Followers (Trump has 7 times that). Cruz’s 12,900+ tweets are good but Donald has almost 3 times that and Trump tweets more regularly himself rather than having staffers tweet everything for him as it appears Cruz does. This makes Trump look more tech savvy than Cruz.
- Profile Pic and Bio:
- “Father of two” – makes him down to earth for other parents
- “@heidiscruz’s husband” – weak. Who wants someone running the most powerful nation in the free world and he refers to himself as his wife’s husband. Now maybe that pulls the women vote but women also like a powerful man. Taking the back seat to his wife doesn’t add to his presidential aspirations.
- “fighter for liberty” – solid one – he fights for freedom for everyone
- “Player of iPhone games” – an attempt to connect with millennials. It may work with some but degrades his “Presidential” image he’s now going for.
- “2016 GOP candidate for President” – Helps people know this is his Twitter account but you notice Trump does not have this. This also ties him a little bit to the “Politician Class”. For Trump he doesn’t have to go that route because people knew him before he ran for President.
- Twitter Verified – good
- Has his political website – this is good to connect with to raise funds and get email opt-ins for future political contribution contact. But it is also clear that the website is all political. And the tagline there “Join the Movement of Courageous Conservatives” is good since it ties to his personal brand headline of “Courageous Conservative”. But it is one things to follow a “Courageous Conservative” and something different entirely to be one yourself. What about the conservatives who aren’t courageous themselves but would follow a courageous conservative? He will pull in the fanatics but may miss out on others who want to stay in the background but still support him. Not inclusive enough.
- Now lets look at his tweets and see how he does.
- The first one is pinned (you can pin a tweet to the top of the page so it doesn’t scroll down in the news feed – that way it is the first thing you see when you go to his Twitter site – that is smart). It is a short video about Phil Robertson from “Duck Dynasty” endorsing Ted. I guess Ted is trying to pull in the Duck Dynasty Southern crowd and conservative NASCAR fans. But you’d expect something bigger there than a reality TV star’s endorsement (I know that is kind of funny since Donald Trump is running for President and not just an endorser – but Trump is more than a reality TV star. It is the businessman, leader, and hard-nosed negotiator that is running – the TV star is just a marketing benefit). My biggest issue here is for this to be a pinned tweet it should be something very substantial. I don’t think this really does it and moves him into the 2nd tier.
- The next tweet talks about Cruz’s Michigan office handing out water in Flint. I give him credit for tying into the Flint water news. But it is his office, not him handing out the water. And it just comes across as another politician trying to curry favors.
- Overall when I compare Trump’s tweets to Cruz’s, there is no comparison. Trump is constantly hammering home the message that he is #1 and the alpha male and the winner. Cruz is selling a down-home message that says I’m like you which isn’t bad, but for the President people want leadership and confidence and kick-butt, take-names kind of guy, particularly right now with the unrest in the Middle East and at home. And Cruz just doesn’t address that in his messaging – other than courageous conservatism that is hard for people to really understand what that means.
Now how about Bernie Sanders?
Bernie brings two Twitter accounts.
His senatorial based one looks like this.
- About the same tweet and follow volume as Ted Cruz
- His profile pic looks like a crusader which ties in with his messaging
- “longest serving independent in congressional history” which gives him credibility – in that as an “independent” he is an outsider but “longest serving” shows he can still make something happen and is relevant
- His tweets are all about causes – “In the US today 50 million people are still uninsured or underinsured. We live in a nation where health care is a privilege for the wealthy.” – plays on the rich vs poor and ties into to health which everyone worries about.
- His other tweet “It’s unacceptable that many kids have criminal records for smoking marijuana while the CEOs of banks do not.” – working the fat cat CEO’s against poor kids (particularly black kids from poor areas) who are sitting in prisons for minor offenses while the CEOs steal all our money.
On his other Twitter account Bernie keeps the theme alive.
- “A Future to Believe In” – nice, generic but easy to wrap all his causes in – now sucks! You need to follow me if you want a better future. Good populist sentiment. Almost as good as Trump’s, better than Cruz’s.
- “I believe America is ready for a new path to the future.” – the tagline in his profile bio works well with the banner headline.
- Fewer tweets on this site with 5,800 but that makes sense since this is just a presidential twitter account
- “Unanswered questions for Secretary Clinton” – questions about the Bakken pipeline, carbon tax, moratorium on coal leases, banning fossil fuel extraction on public lands, opposing offshore drilling and fracking. What Bernie is saying is he’s against things that harm us and our environment but Hillary Clinton won’t answer those questions. She’s just playing politics. He believes in the cause. Follow him. This is really good because it defines the enemy and rallies the troops behind his movement. Note that Trump, Cruz, and Sanders all work towards that end Anything you can do to lead a movement will gain you followers.
So the big question about Bernie Sanders isn’t whether or not he can create followers. He can as evidenced by his large crowds like Trump’s. On that front he and Trump are similarly based.
The question is whether or not Sanders’ cause is big enough. Both to win the Democrat nomination and also to win the Presidency. With all the media and school indoctrination in environmentalism, he has a lot better chance than he might have 20 or 30 years ago. But it also matters whether when the votes start being cast, will global warming be a big enough cause to move the needle. Especially if jobs and Isis and immigration are hot button issues for the voters. If that is the case then Trump and Hillary have the edge over Bernie.
So what about Hillary?
Well Hillary has a lot of controversy swirling around her campaign. From the email scandal to Bill’s indiscretions to her health issues and just not being a likable and trustworthy person. It all seems to be catching up to her.
So lets look at her Twitter profile and see what shows up there.
- Banner is a picture of her with Bill in the middle with his back to the camera. Shows that she and Bill Clinton are linked. What is missing is her overall message. It isn’t in her banner or in her bio. That is bad marketing. No one knows what her message really is
- Profile pic is good – good hair, looking upward optimistically
- Solid followers – on par with Trump – positions her as a major player
- Not many tweets at 3,558 – this fits with her desire to be insulated and not be “with” the people but rule over them. This doesn’t help her because people can’t connect with her this way.
- “I’m fighting for everyone who’s ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out.” Pretty good – she’s a fighter and one of you. You may be struggling but she’s fighting for you is the message. This actually fits well with her demeanor. She doesn’t have to be the nice person or really friendly if she’s a fighter.
- “Wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate” – trying to be connectable but also the advocate fits in with her “fighter” persona. This unfortunately is where the issues with Bill’s affairs and Hillary’s attempts to have the women silenced hurts her.
- “FLOTUS, Senator, SecState” – credibility booster – she’s been there and done that.
- “hair icon, pantsuit aficionado” – not sure if either of those are great but helps a little by admitting failings (I don’t see either of those as strengths unless you’re in the middle of a women’s empowerment seminar).
- “2016 Presidential Candidate” – just like Ted’s – a politician
- Here tweets are a mix between the Donald Trump approach of selling her as the leader and also using some of Bernie’s cause tweets. But hers don’t seem to connect as much as Trump or Bernie. She’s kid of straddling the fence.
- “The progress we’ve made under @POTUS is remarkable. Hillary on how we can keep it going”
- “We need to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act, not start over with another contentious national debate.”
- “A reminder of what we’re all fighting for.” – this is a good video of all the people struggling to be heard and their rights stood up for – gays, disabled, kids, women, and lots of crowds following her campaign. This is probably the best tweet and should be pinned to the top of her page. Also this is a good emotional connection.
So what does all this mean?
The way I read the tea leaves, Trump will beat Cruz and Hillary will beat Sanders. Then Trump will beat Hillary.
I think Sanders has gotten the most mileage out of his brand and is really overachieving. Being an Independent/Socialist normally would be a HUGE detriment. But his marketing and branding is so solid. He knows who he is and what he’s about. And he is leading a cause. And the cause is one that he’s lead for a while and is credible with.
Hillary has the political machine and money and will likely take over once they get out of the smaller states where personal presence and connection are less of an influence. And where the environment is not the only major issue. Then Hillary can talk about leadership (her experience) and other causes that still connect with mainstream Democrats and curry the women vote.
Cruz has a good brand but it is even smaller than Sanders’. And the problem is that most conservatives don’t measure conservative credentials as their primary voting issue. They also look at leadership and a vision that is farther-reaching. Conservatism by itself is a hard sell. It isn’t easy for people to truly understand and get their head and heart around it.
Trump on the other hand has “Make America Great Again.” That connects with nearly everyone because we want to be great and successful and prosperous. We want to be in a better place. And if America is Great then that implies lots of good things like jobs, recovering stock market, better healthcare, etc. And with Trump, he never lets you forget that he’s winning and by voting for him you’ll be on that winning team too.
So as you look out on the political landscape, or the business landscape, or your own personal growth and influence landscape, what are you doing to make the most out of your personal gifts, skills, and relationships? Are you a brand that is winning? If not yet, what can you do to get there?
Imagine you’re on stage. Getting all the accolades. Envision your journey to get there. Now look back at where it all started. Did you find your purpose, your passion, and develop your plan?