On Friday (January 20th), Donald Trump will officially become the President of the United States in a ceremony that is going to lack the A-list touch that his predecessor Barack Obama’s had.
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Throughout the last month or so, more and more musicians have come forward to say that they have refused to perform at the ceremony. While several big names, from Elton John to Celine Dion, have been rumoured to be performing, they’ve been quick to shoot down these reports.
Ordinarily, performing at an event like this is considered a huge honour and artists are lined up around the block for a chance. This time around, however, even the promise of a pay cheque – musicians typically don’t get paid for inauguration performances – can’t even get a star on the stage.
While some singers have been “busy” on the date in question, others have been quite vocal about why they have declined the offer. Reasons for refusal include fearing a backlash from critics of the President-elect, not agreeing with his politics and disagreeing with comments he has made in speeches, interviews and on social media.
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It seems that Trump’s tweets continue to ruffle feathers, even those posted years ago. As well as bringing into question whether the soon-to-be President Trump should invest in a personal social media team. This also shows the power that an ill conceived social marketing campaign can have on a brand and the willingness of people to endorse it, which is something all marketers need to consider.
When it comes to Trump’s personal marketing, you might think that any changes he makes now are too little too late, which is exactly what your followers can end up thinking after you’ve got something wrong. Trying to backtrack or change your stance after already putting a comment out there can draw just as much backlash as the original tweet, if not more.
It can be easy to react quickly to a trending topic or news event, sending out a tweet to show that your brand is on the ball. However, it is often these quick tweets that lead to negative responses and people questioning why they do any sort of business with you. In the case of Trump – as well as other brands who have got it wrong – this can result in multiple news stories, scathing retweets and a lot of negativity.
Rather than jumping in with your thoughts on something as soon as it happens, carefully consider what the company tone of voice should be, whether a definitive opinion on the matter is wise or if you should even write a tweet in the first place. A good tweet is appreciated by followers, but a bad one can cause all sorts of issues. It can also be recorded by Mark Hamill in the voice of The Joker.
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While there are likely to be a number of ways Trump’s tweets and comments cause a backlash, his inability to get a big name to perform at his inauguration is a great example of how poor marketing can turn people against you.
Arguably, one of the biggest reasons multiple singers have turned down the offer of performing at the ceremony is that they don’t want to be seen to endorse Trump’s brand. Even if they did not agree with his politics, online comments and statements made during and after his campaign, performing would make it seem that they did. It would also risk people associating them with Trump in the future.
In fact, one of the singers who did agree to sing at the ceremony, only did so if she could control the narrative surrounding her performance. Rebecca Ferguson accepted the invitation that was extended to her, but only if she could sing ‘Strange Fruit’, a song made famous by Billie Holiday and is about the race lynchings that happened across America in the early 20th Century.
When it was made clear that this wasn’t going to happen and that a different song had been chosen for her, Ferguson pulled out, effectively removing herself from a situation that would see her linked to Trump. She stated that the reason she had agreed to perform in the first place was so she could sing that particular song, which was the only song she felt would not compromise her artistic integrity.
Similarly, what you tweet, post on Facebook and write on your site can impact your brand’s endorsements. If you post something controversial or that causes a lot of backlash, it can affect the type and number of people who are willing to be linked to your brand. It can be hard to sign up social influencers or those who you believe will be good for the brand. Ultimately, you’ll be left with an empty stage, just like Trump, or with endorsements that are a lot less powerful.
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Man without a plan
When it comes to social media, it often seems like Donald Trump doesn’t have a plan – or that he ignores the one he should be following. He is quick to comment on things and get heated, which isn’t the best plan of action when you’re largely in the public eye – or about to take on the presidency.
Although you can’t plan for absolutely everything, it is best to have a strategy in place for general posting so you can be sure that social media activity fits with your company’s wider marketing efforts, each tweet is thought out and double checked and that the brand is represented in the best light.
The old adage of failing to plan is planning to fail is true when it comes to social media marketing, so you should take all the steps you can to ensure that your social media activity is well thought out and will be effective. This means no 5am tweeting about “overrated” individuals who have annoyed you.