Donald Trump’s Winning Social Media Marketing Formula

While Indians scurry around exchanging their notes, Americans stand in shock and awe over the result of their votes. Donald Trump emerged victorious on Tuesday as America’s President-elect, leaving a rather uncomfortable feeling on the rest of the world. It’s only a matter of time before the dust settles and reality bites, as “The Donald,” as he is fondly known, takes office.

Many may call his campaign one of the most controversial to date, but they just can’t deny that it has proven to be highly effective on his road to victory. Trump’s landslide victory came as result of his smart use of social media, a platform he has praised since winning. Marketers could take a leaf out of his book on how to implement strategies and work action plans to ensure the best results on minimum expenditure. His campaign is a great example of ROI driven digital marketing, where he spent virtually nothing while making the most out of free publicity.

Have your mind blown over the review in numbers on Trump’s campaign! While the use of social media for a political advantage is not new, considering how well Obama fared during his campaign, Trump’s win is a testament to why it has become so important in daily life. Let’s have a look at the various tactics Trump employed on his campaign.

He was brutally honest

Everyone knows, a politician’s biggest lie is when he is trying to convince everyone he’s telling the truth. But what happens when a politician comes out with an open mike in hand, and effortlessly speaks his mind to the people. We’ve seen that with Modi on his public rally’s and Trump took centre stage on the best platform to express oneself- social media. Forget the fact-checking, Trump’s sometimes outlandish claims added a perspective of thought amongst his ever-growing flower base. Here’s an example of that, one which Trump posted 24 hours ahead of election day.
Donald Trump brutally honest

He stuck to social media norms

Even Obama had to admit, in his last hilarious speech as president, that Hillary’s attempt to bond with the public on social media failed miserably. Trump, on the other hand, having prior expertise with social media norms thanks to his entrepreneurial background, modified his approach to fit political standards while still using social media jargon and youth slang that could connect well with his followers. His use of hashtags and constant responses to queries from his supporters leveraged success to his campaign.


Donald Trump Social Media norms

 He owned Twitter

You’ve already noticed that we’re referencing most of Trump’s campaign with his Twitter feeds, that’s because he practically owned the microblogging giant over the past few months of his rigorous campaigning. Nothing makes free press feel any better than having the power to deconstruct your opponents within 140 characters. His infamous hashtag #CrookedHillary and attack on the existing government emphasise his no-holds-barred approach to social media.

Donald Trump Twitter

He relied on audience engagement

One method that has become increasingly important on social media today is the way brands interact with consumers. Engaging with an online audience makes for conversion rates to increase, turning them into potential buyers of the product. In the case of the Trump Brand, Trump knew what he represents and had a decent idea on what his audience expect, opening the floodgates to thousands of interactions per tweet.

Donald Trump audience engagement


Trump was able to achieve an incredible response on election day, all thanks to the effort he put in and the ease of reach through social media. His formula for success should be familiar with adept digital marketers, but if you are till keen on maximizing those efforts and using the full potential of social media, here’s what you have to do, the Donald Way.

Powerful brand positioning

Trump’s slogan, “Let’s Make America Great Again,” is a powerful example of brand positioning strategies. In just five words, he sums up what he is all about and more importantly, what America wants the most, the return of those glorious days. Digital marketers know that brand positioning is the first of many key factors that can make a campaign run successfully. While Clinton’s slogan, “Stronger Together,” invokes an action, it doesn’t have a definitive goal. Your brand positioning must reflect the entire process of your campaign, and give consumers a meaningful reason to interact with you on social media.

A touch of emotion

Trump’s entire campaign was emotion driven. He appealed to the audience by telling them what they wanted to hear. Constantly rubbing the existing governing systems in the mud and hitting out on policies the public themselves have protested against over the years. He also narrowed down his target audience to the majority race in America, slashing out on the minorities through the early stages of his campaign. This method built his fan following in quicker rates and gave him the image of an all-American common man, which touched the hearts and minds of millions in the USA.

Customer management

Hillary’s and most of the Democrat Party’s campaign focused on benefiting the rich 1 percent of America. They left behind their blue-collar Democrats and ignored a vast majority of the American demographic. Trump did the exact opposite; his campaign appealed to existing voters as well as ignited passion in first-time voters. He even managed to pocket the blue-collar Democrats and win the vote of almost all Republicans. Trump’s campaign is a good example of effective customer management, where he was able to retain old voters and garner the support of new voters.

Exaggeration is helpful

Everyone knows that advertisements are bloated with exaggerated claims and over-the-top promises, but if that doesn’t keep consumers interested, what else will? Trump’s campaign was splattered with colorful promises and rather comical goals, but it played well with his audience as it clearly was a fantasy in their heads already. On the post-purchase point-of-view, every customer wants his money’s worth, so it’s only a matter of time before Trump’s true colors come shining out.


Trump carried himself very well throughout his campaign; never backing down from a potential war of words and staying true to the image he had created over the years as an established business tycoon. Trump portrayed himself as an all-American American, winning over the public with his celebrity stylized presentation and tough-guy demeanor. It was very much like the Modi one-man-show which gave Americans the confidence to vote for “The Donald.” Trump carried over this personality on every form of media he used, thus managing to cement his image in the hearts and minds of the public. Just have a look at this speech he made at one of his best rallies ever.

Rinse and repeat

In typical businessman fashion, Trump knew that he could never achieve perfection without a little trial-and-error. If you’ve been following his campaign closely, you’ll notice how he carefully shifts his marketing strategies from one perspective to another; beginning by attacking the opposition with harsh, over-the-top judgments to slowly letting go of the hominem insults and placing focus on talking about a better America. Trump also balanced his mediums of delivery smartly, telling people what they wanted to hear at the exact moment they wished to hear it, all the while constantly drilling into the consumer’s mind, his underlying message of a greater American future.

The Trump Brand is the shiniest new thing popping straight out of the realms of Social Media. Polished and ready to be grasped by the consumer’s hands, it’s only a matter of time before the brand’s USP comes into full play and hopefully deliver its promises.

You may also find it interesting to read how social media was used by Indian politicians in the 2014 elections.

Infographic – The AAP Donation Campaign

AAP Donation campaign

The Aam Aadmi Party’s Donation drive has always been in the news for all the right reasons – it’s focus on clean money, complete transparency in the process and the use of innovative means and effective social media campaigns to raise funds (an excellent example of this being Arvind Kejriwal’s recent tweet for cash which raised more than Rs. 80 lakh in 24 hours after the tweet).

In this Infographic, we analyze the AAP donation campaign – the average donation per donor, the donations received and the candidates receiving the highest donations.

Have you donated to the Aam Aadmi Party?

Infographic: Indian National Congress on Twitter

Indian National Congress on Twitter Indian National Congress on Twitter

In the last in a series of three infographics, we analyse the presence on, and effective use of Twitter by the Indian National Congress party.

Just in case you missed our earlier two infographics in the series, you can read the one on the effectiveness of Narendra Modi‘s Twitter campaign here and the other on Arvind Kejriwal‘s Twitter campaign here.

Do share your views below, on how Twitter and other social media is changing the way election campaigning is done in India.


Infographic – Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter

Arvind Kejriwal img-responsive center-block

In the second in a series of three infographics, we analyse the presence on, and effective use of Twitter by Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi CM and the head of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Just in case you missed it, you can read the first Infographic on the effectiveness of Narendra Modi‘s Twitter campaign here.

Watch this space for our next infographic on how the Indian National Congess is faring on this social platform, in the run up to the elections.

Do share your views below, on how Twitter and other social media is changing the way election campaigning is done in India.

Indian Elections 2014 & the Obama Campaign


Analysis - Narendra Modi's Presence on Twitter
Narendra Modi’s Presence on Twitter

In the first in a series of three infographics, we analyse the presence on and effective use of Twitter by Narendra Modi, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate for the 2014 Indian Elections.

Narendra Modi has been using Digital Media very actively and so have other leading politicians, including Arvind Kejriwal. Has the 2014 election campaign replicated the methods used by Barack Obama during the US elections? The BJP and Narendra Modi have definitely taken a cue, while most Congress leaders have stayed away. Here’s a comparison of the 2 US elections in 2008 and 2012 with Indian Elections 2014.

2008 US Election and Comparison with BJP vs. Congress

Barack Obama vs. John McCain is equivalent to BJP vs Congress. While Barack Obama pushed the boundaries of political campaigning online, from raising online contributions to active tweeting, his opponent, John McCain was hardly online. This is very similar to the Indian context, where multiple BJP leaders have built a strong presence and following online – specially Narendra Modi with 12 Million fans on Facebook, while the Congress has by-and-large stayed away, with Rahul Gandhi only having 125,000 Facebook fans.

2012 US Election

In the 2012 US election, Barack Obama was up against Mitt Romney. While Romney did spend approx. $5M online, Obama spent over $47 Million on his digital campaign.

One of the key components to the Obama’s digital campaign was his website, a ‘social network’ where volunteers could sign up, enroll their friends and neighbors and help increase the virality of Obama’s digital campaign.

AAP has taken a leaf out of this and launched , where anyone can contribute to the party with amounts as low as Rs. 1. Similarly, the Volunteer section on the website promotes signups to its volunteer program.

Is the presence of Politicians in Social Media helpful? 

The active online presence of politicians and involvement of citizens helps democracy by initiating discussions and debates and helping citizens vote for the best candidate.

Further, this opens the platform to more active democracy, where elected representatives are more accountable to the voters. We have seen social media make businesses more accountable – the day is not far when social media also makes our politicians more accountable.

Watch this space for our next two infographics on the Twitter presence of Arvind Kejriwal and the Indian National Congress.

Infographic on FB presence of Indian CMs



Facebook Presence of Indian Chief Ministers Facebook Presence of Indian Chief Ministers

Indian Politicians have taken note of Social Media and many have actively initiated engagement on Facebook. We analysed the presence of all the current Chief Ministers of India and analysed the extent of their Facebook presence. The infographic shows the Facebook presence for each CM.

The most popular CM on Facebook is Narendra Modi, with over 11 Million likes. Arvind Kejriwal has 4.7 Million likes, while Rahul Gandhi has a relatively low presence with only 120K likes. Closer home, Tamilnadu CM J Jayalalitha has 33,000 likes. Global leaders like Barack Obama have over 39 Million Likes, showcasing the impact of Social Media in US Politics.