Trump’s tweets dampen social sentiment toward brands, even when they’re nice

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"Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore 3" by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore 3” by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

When President Donald Trump calls out a brand in a tweet — whether he’s heralding or haranguing the brand — positive social media sentiment around that brand goes down, according to an analysis by data analytics firm 4C.

4C looked at social data surrounding six brands that Trump had mentioned on Twitter since being elected — General Motors, Walmart, Toyota, L.L. Bean, Ford and Boeing. For each brand, the company measured the sentiment of the posts people published or interacted with on Facebook and Twitter that either mentioned the brand’s official accounts or used hashtags and keywords related to the brand. To gauge the impact, 4C compared the sentiment around each brand three days before @realDonaldTrump made the mention and the sentiment three days after the call-out.

While the sentiments Trump were sometimes positive and sometimes negative, people’s reactions to Trump sharing his sentiments appear to have been only a negative for the brands. That may have to with Trump’s tweets drawing more attention to the brand. In each case, the mention elicited an increase in the number of posts and engagements with posts on Facebook and Twitter that invoked the brand.

In the case of Ford, L.L. Bean and Walmart, Trump had nice things to say about the brand, yet sentiment dropped from what it had been before the name-drop.

Boeing and Toyota each caught flak from the then-president-elect and then caught an L in social media sentiment.

And for GM, it didn’t matter whether Trump was commending or criticizing the auto maker; each time cut into how positive people were when posting about the brand.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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