Donald Trump continues to make headlines on a daily basis. Part of that is thanks to his savvy director of new media, 29-year old Justin McConney. Dan Pfeiffer, a former communications adviser to President Obama, tweeted just last week that because of the Trump-McConney partnership, Trump “is way better at the Internet than anyone else in the GOP which is partly why he is winning.”
Sam Nunberg, a former political adviser to Trump observes that, “Justin McConney has his ear to the social media world, and he’s ahead of the curve. He’s innovative, well-connected and always thinking about how to push the envelope.”
In fact, in 2011 when McConney took the job, Trump had 300,000 Twitter followers. Today, he has more than 4.3 million followers. Nick Pacilio, a spokesman for Twitter’s government team pointed out that, “Justin has taken Trump’s instinct to Tweet and developed it into an effective way to communicate with voters and fellow candidates.”
Trump’s campaign constantly puts out 15-second Instagram videos. These videos engage the press and public, and often drive the seemingly endless news reports on Trump. The videos garner enough media coverage that they perform the same function as traditional ads placed on radio and television. Interestingly, Trump has so far refused to buy television advertising, in stark contrast to the other candidates.
Rather than use a well-informed team to compose his Tweets, Trump mostly writes them himself. He also decides which of his supporters to retweet.
Trump’s social media blitz continuously focuses on Trump stating his thoughts to the camera while sitting at his desk. The no-frills policy seems to be working. While many of Trump’s ads are considered cheesy by the “intellectual and political elite,” large swaths of the public love them.
One thing is clear, in a hyper-saturated media environment, Trump’s unique 15-second videos catch the public’s attention and make an impression. And, that may be one significant reason why Trump continues to lead the polls, despite all of the controversy that he repeatedly finds himself in the middle of.