Normally I would stay away from political topics, but I’ve had a request to take a look at President-elect Trump’s Twitter activity from a (completely neutral) PR standpoint. Trump’s activity on Twitter has been so candid and personal that it is getting attention from media and even China. The general complaint isn’t that he’s using social media, it’s how he is using it. I think it’s hard to compare Trump to other U.S. presidents. He’s not a career politician and there are very few presidential social media experiences to compare his to.
If I were on Trump’s PR team…
…I wouldn’t be surprised by the content of his posts. Trump and his team probably have outlined the ways he will use social media and the messages he will communicate.
…I wouldn’t expect anything less. His candid approach to social media directly resembles his candid approach to anything else. He is staying consistent with his brand.
…I would want to find a balance between the @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS twitters. Perhaps pause the use of his personal account.
…I would want to make sure the tweets are using good grammar, spelling and punctuation. He is the leader of the free world after all!
…I would want to make sure that nothing he tweets is a threat to the nation and our national security. Don’t overshare.
…I would want to balance the content between spontaneous personal tweets and pre-written planned tweets (holidays, congratulations, death mourning).
…I would want to work with him to groom his online presence. He can keep his candid personality, but I would recommend not running to Twitter about everything that upsets him. Be candid for positive things–like if unemployment is down.
As you can see, I wouldn’t change that much of his content but work on the presentation of it. What makes this particular case so tricky is the fact that his election is unprecedented. We’ve never had such an anti-politician be elected president. You also have to add in the social media element and his personality in general. I bet his PR team is trying to figure out his public persona as president (will he even take their recommendations?). You don’t want to tell him to change everything to appease his critics and risk upsetting his supporters. However, you would expect the president to carry himself as a dignitary. The challenge is finding a balance between Donald Trump and the president.
I think it is really innovative for a president to share details of the work he is doing on social media. It involves the public in the presidency more than news media does and makes the president more accessible. It seems that the public has not yet taken to this idea (or at least Trump’s execution of it). If done well, it can be very good for the presidency and set a standard for future presidents. But what this incidence comes down to is this: does the president-elect polish up his social media presence because of his position, or does he stick to his candid approach because that’s what got him elected?
Holly Hoehner is a public relations senior at the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.