Did Social Media Help Donald Trump Win The US Presidential Election?

JSB talks to Ted Rub in about the US Presidential Elections

JSB Talks Digital is a weekly podcast show hosted by social media author, strategist, consultant, speaker and trainer Joanne Sweeney-Burke. Each Friday Joanne shares her digital marketing and social media insights from her work as CEO of Digital Training Institute.

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In this episode

  • In social media news: Facebook releases new report on brand loyalty and millennials; Twitter Rolls Out Quick Replies and Welcome Messages in Direct Messages and 88% of HR professionals using social media for employer branding
  • I Interview US-based Social Media Strategist Ted Rubin about the US Presidential Election
  • Shoutouts to: three very different events that I’m speaking at
  • JSB’s column – Did social media help Donald Trump to get the keys of the White House?
  • Find out what tool saved my working week


Useful links from this episode 


Interview of the Week *(transcript available below)

In this week’s show I’m joined by…. Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and the man who coined the phrase, Return on Relationship. We talk about the recent US Presidential Elections during his week-long trip to Ireland. I had the pleasure of spending time with Ted and social media friends in Ashford Castle this week, as you can see we really enjoyed ourselves. Ted has strong opinions on the US Presidential elections so have a listen to what he has to say about the result and the future for the US.


Ted Rubin and friends at Ashford Castle

JSB’s Featured Column:

Did social media help Donald Trump to get the keys of the White House?

Do you remember when Kim Kardashian broke the Internet with a nude pic of her behind? Well it’s safe to say Donald Trump really broke the internet on November 9th 2016 when he was announced President elect of the United States to a sleepy US audience who stayed up to watch the results, and an equally sleepy international audience who were waking up to it!

The Tweet-machine went on fire, Facebook went into algorithmic overdrive and everyone was Snap-chatting the  TV Coverage.



The social media tool that saved my working week is… Lifetime Value Calculator

Do you know how much a customer is worth to your business after you calculate the cost of winning them?

The social media tool that saved my working week this week is the Customer Lifetime Value Calculator.

*Transcript of Ted Rubin interview

JSB- What role did social media play in the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States of America. I’m considering this question as the dust settles on what has been one of the dirtiest and most controversial elections in US history.  So, if Trump was focused with detailed precision on his demographic and understood who would vote for him, because he was certainly consistent with the tone of his messages over the 18 month campaign, then maybe he worked social media marketing. Because, as we know, you can find your target audience right across the social web. I’m going to pose the same question to Ted Rubin, a Social Media Strategist, a Keynote  Speaker, a Brand Evangelist , and the man who coined the phrase “return on relationship.”  Ted, thanks for joining me on JSB Talks digital. I know you aren’t a Trump supporter, but before we get into that conversation I want to ask you, did social media help Donald [Trump] win the keys to the White House?

Ted Rubin- Of Course. Undoubtedly! But, you know, but I think you have to expand upon that and not just call it social media but call it just marketing in general. I mean I’m unfortunately not stunned; as I’m sure many of my followers, all of my followers know, you’re aware, I’m totally against a Trump presidency, although now it exists. But I’m unfortunately not stunned. I’ve said for a while I believed this would happen and that is why I did everything possible in my power to help effect the opposite result. You know you have to keep in mind that this is all about marketing, ok. It’s proof positive that marketing works and that social marketing works. No one, even in the Trump camp, in my opinion, will make a direct claim that he’s actually qualified. They have done an incredible job selling, marketing, the need for change no matter who the change agent is and no matter what he used to support or express that need for change. So make no mistake about it; social media has found its place driving the marketing of the most significant win and marketing campaign in American history! I guess all the experts preaching “you can’t change people’s minds about politics using social media” missed this one.

JSB- Do you think, Ted, people like you who are anti-Trump supporters by virtue of you giving him so much social media airtime, actually aided in his success?

Ted Rubin- I don’t believe that. I think that there’s a few things at play here. First of all when you’re social, when you use your influence and express you opinion, you’re not just doing it for the end result. You’re also doing it because you want people to know who you are, what you stand for, what’s important to you; you want to share that and more importantly, in my opinion, you want to create the conversation. Like, I did give space for a lot of anti-Trump people to speak on my page because, as long as they were appropriate and respectful, and some of them weren’t, I had to delete some comments. I don’t mean because of their opinions but because of the way they expressed them or they showed hatred or racism or things like that. But it created a conversation. It helped me learn more about who they are, more about this whole movement, more about who the Trump people are. Back to your question, no I don’t think it did because there are plenty of people bigger than me and with bigger platforms than me who were positive for Trump and who were supporting him.
What he really did incredibly well is the most significant thing here is it points to the incredible marketing social community building effort of his campaign. He listened! He listened to the electorate, he found what touched their base emotions, what they were scared of, what they wanted, and then this guy- he’s the ultimate silver spooner insider- won a campaign that went about casting a side in the belly of political and financial elite. I mean, think about what great marketing that is; here’s a guy who’s all about the gold element, making money, he was born rich, his father gave him money, his father bailed him out time and time again and then he used the system just to bail himself out. He donated to politics, he was a Clinton supporter for years and years when it did him good, and now he’s got himself labelled as an outsider. I mean what a remarkable job! You can’t just do that with billboards. You do that by getting into the hearts and minds of people, and for me social media helped perfect that. I mean he spent a fraction of what the Clinton campaign spent on traditional media and he did it by touching people’s emotions and getting them to get in, have conversations, talk about it, share about it, and then of course, he also was out there and was totally social. Remember social isn’t just about social platforms, social is about getting in front of people, speaking to people, talking about them , being in front of them, talking the way he did, and then taking advantage of their fears. I find it very scary, but it’s also a tremendous learning experience. Look, in the end people that know me know what I try to do is I try to look at the silver lining. Number one is, I think, as a social marketer and of preacher of content and of story-telling, of engagement, that this is a major hallmark moment.

JSB- Do you think social media can unite the United States of America? A front page [of a] newspaper in Ireland this week, the headline was “The Divided States of America.” Can Trump now use social media for good?

Ted Rubin- Of course he could. I don’t know what he’s going to do, I have no way of seeing into his mind. The US presidency is a very unique thing in that before they even take office they’re thinking about the next election, when you’ve been elected for the first time. So do I think he’ll use it for good? I don’t know, but’s not really about him, it’s about us. Everyone’s saying “Oh, my god, look what’s happening, will be still be able to speak our minds? Do what we wanna do?” But that’s not up to him, that’s up to us. That’s up to the people. In a post I made I said “us” and the pun was intended; us, US, United States. So what I think social [media] will allow is for us to have a better view than in the past into what people are saying and thinking. Back before this was available an election like this could have been incredibly decisive because everybody would be talking about “Oh, my god. What’s going on behind closed doors. What are all those Trump supporters doing in their homes and in their towns? Are they preparing to do horrible things?” By the way, I don’t believe that, I’m just saying. And you could build up this kind of fear, but now since things are so transparent, and we set so much of an ability through live video and all the other tools we have, that we’re going to see what’s really happening. These are regular people. These are people like us, they’re not arming themselves to their teeth, horrible things aren’t going to happen, the world’s not going to fall apart. We’re going to move on and if we do what we need to do every one of us is going to find our own silver lining. For me it’s that social media has come of age and, as a dad, this election has helped connect myself and my daughter.

JSB- I am wearing your wristband that says “#NOLETUP” and you talk about return on relationship. Trump didn’t let up the whole way through the 18 month campaign, but do you think he’s now benefitted from the return on relationship and that’s no manifested its self in him now being President-Elect?

Ted Rubin- Well he’s certainly gotten a return on relationship, on all the relationships he’s built, and all the hands he’s shaken and all the talks he’s had and all the outreach he’s done. And, by the way, I want to make something clear. You know, there are times when you can say someone didn’t give it her all. Hilary Clinton gave it her all! You know, there have been elections where you say “Oh my god, if they had done this, if they had done that, if she’d just gone out there more.” I think this woman put it all out on the table and it just didn’t happen, it wasn’t the time. But I do really believe there’s a tremendous return on relationship for Trump. And let’s just hope that he uses it for the benefit; let’s hope he changes a little bit of his rhetoric, let’s hope that that he doesn’t really deliver some of some of these preposterous promises he’s made, and let’s hope that in the end he is anxious to do more good for America and not necessarily just good for Trump.

JSB- And finally, Ted, will you have President-Elect Mr. Donald Trump on your Facebook Live show to bridge hearts, minds, and non-Trump voters?

Ted Rubin- Well first of all, I doubt he’d come on my Facebook Live show.

JSB- You’d never know!

Ted Rubin- But truth be told I would not be interested. Not at this point. I need to feel we’re going forward, I’m not looking to mend any fences with someone until I see exactly what his intentions are. That’s not what I do. If that’s what I did, if that was my job, if I was a journalist, if I was someone involved in the traditional or very upfront media then I would be out there, because I’d want to bring everybody on my show. For me, it’s a little bit more about what’s important to me and right now what’s important to me is to figure out how this works for me and the people I care about. How we can start effecting change in the future. Remember, what’s really important is staying involved and make your voice heard! This is not over, this is just beginning.

JSB- Ted Rubin I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring our country with Séan Nolan who was very kind to bring you around. Delighted to see you again this week and thank you so much for coming on JSB Talks Digital, and I look forward to hearing more from you when your back stateside, but via social media.

Ted Rubin- I’m looking forward to it too and listen, this is very new and if you saw my Facebook page, I actually want to get into my blanket fort on my bed and stop being an adult just for the day. I’m also wearing my Irish drinking socks and I think today is the perfect day to exercise that right to back a few with my buddy Séan Nolan who took me around the country. And Joanne, thank you so much for having me on your show it was great seeing you and I’m looking forward to next time.


JSB- Sláinte. Enjoy, Ted. Byebye.

I love feedback

I’d love to know what you think about this episode. So please get in touch by commenting below or tweet me @tweetsbyJSB or send me a snap to jsbsnaps.

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Listen: JSB Talks Digital Podcast Episode #22

I would like to thank Eoghan Murphy aka The Galway Gamer for producing my podcast series and to Flirt FM on the campus of NUI, Galway where I am based for the use of their studio.

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