Donald Trump’s recent comments about the heritage of federal judge Gonzalo Curiel have renewed the friction between the GOP’s presidential nominee and the GOP’s Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Trump’s statement and Ryan’s response is the latest in a difficult conversation between the two theoretical allies. The tension has put both men in the news repeatedly over the past month and also created a reasonable amount of media buzz.
In many ways, this increase in attention is fairly insignificant to the Trump campaign. Trump has been hailed as a master of media - social and otherwise. He currently has almost twice the engagement rate of Hillary Clintonand an audience that dwarfs most other US politicians. In addition, Trump has made Twitter his home turf; tweeting his opinions daily on a wide range of issues.
However, what happens when someone like Paul Ryan, with a much smaller social media footprint, becomes caught up in in this type of social media juggernaut? Politically, the tangles with Trump have probably given Ryan’s staff fits, but there can be an upside for smaller organizations that find themselves engaged with a massive media force like the Trump campaign.
When we compared Trump and Ryan over the past month, we found trends that are useful for someone like Ryan. His audience during this period only increased modestly, but his overall engagement with his audience skyrocketed 462% - even as Trump’s engagement declined slightly.
Although the political circumstances were less than ideal, this kind of increased visibility is a golden opportunity for a savvy social media team like Ryan’s and they appear to have made the most of it.
The moral of this story: with real-time measurement to give you insight into a dynamic situation and a nimble response team, you can manage the momentum of unexpected engagement to your advantage (even if it is a little bit like being dragged behind a social media bus).