Case Studies

Donald Trump and Buhari: What do they have in common as Trump launches alternative to Twitter?

Donald Trump and Buhari: Trump launches alternative to Twitter?

Donald Trump has just launched his own Truth social media platform to compete against Twitter and Facebook. The case study question arises: what does Nigeria’s President Mohammed Buhari have in common with U.S former President Trump?

You won’t find too many similarities between the two world leaders. But one reality they both “tough guys” share is their love-hate relationship with the social media platforms, Twitter especially.

Twitter kicked out Donald Trump permanently from its platform in June 2021, citing concerns over the “risk of further incitement of violence” and Trump’s previous transgressions.

In the same year, Twitter also removed a post by President Buhari for violating its rules. The tweet referred to the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War and to “treating those misbehaving today in the language they will understand.”

How did Trump and Buhari respond?

Donald Trump and Buhari: Trump launches alternative to Twitter?

Buhari, Trump, Twitter and PR strategies.

Buhari retaliated by immediately suspending Twitter in Nigeria because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

Donald Trump took his revenge against Twitter differently and much later. He decided to set up his own social media platform to compete against Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels.

Trump and Buhari also waged the public relations war using different strategies. Buhari applied political and commercial pressure, and his messaging was couched around national public interests.

Twitter blinked first and offered to open an office in Nigeria, after which the suspension was removed.

Both parties went away with a win in the PR and diplomacy battle. Nigeria’s President won back his bruised ego in the PR aftermath, while Twitter recovered its massive Nigerian market.

Trump on the other hand did not have such political luxury and capital. His own strategy was a marketing offensive. Riding on the back of his surprisingly large fan base in the U.S, Trump decided to set up his own social media App and try to capture some of Twitter’s market share.

What form of revenge could be better than stealing your opponent’s lunch?

Trump launches new channel on Apple’s App Store.

Truth social media

Donald Trump’s new social media venture, Truth Social, appears set to launch in Apple’s App Store on Monday, February 21st, according to Reuters, potentially marking the return of the former president to social media.

The launch would restore Trump’s presence on social media more than a year after he was banned from Twitter Inc, Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube. On Feb. 15.

Trump’s eldest son Donald Jr. posted on Twitter a screenshot of his father’s verified @realDonaldTrump Truth Social account with one post, or “truth,” that he uploaded on Feb. 14: “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!”

Apple’s App Store listing indicates that Truth Social is expected to be released in February but anything can still happen. Reuters also reported that even as details of the app begin trickling out, Trump’s Truth and TMTG company remain mostly shrouded in secrecy and is regarded with skepticism by some in tech and media circles.

The new Truth platform by Donald Trump sets out to compete against Twitter and provide an alternative voice to an expressive and often non-conformist audience.

Will Trump’s new Truth platform be successful in dislodging the other well established platforms?

Will Trump’s unorthodox PR approach work for or against his new Truth App? Will the new Trump Truth platform fold up when he realizes that it takes more than charisma and PR hype to run a social media platform as a business? Time will soon tell.

PR takeaways.

Truth social media

Anything can happen

In the world of politics and PR, anything can happen. Donald Trump is toying with the idea of running again for the U.S presidency in 2024. The constitution would not allow President Buhari to run again in 2023. But his influence on who runs and who wins is undisputed. Both leaders believe anything could happen.

Social media is power

The new media is the new power. Social media is playing a more strategic role in both corporate and political PR. However, it remains a beast that’s hard to contain. PR professionals would need to hone their skills in managing social media.

Engage your audience

One of PR’s biggest lessons is the paramount importance of always engaging and staying connected with your fan base. Too many brands take their target audience for granted and realize the error only too late.

For good, or for bad, Trump has stayed connected with his fan base, so they know how to dance to his music.

Creativity always reigns supreme

In Public Relations and marketing, creativity always wins. The quest to challenge the status quo should remain relentless.

Public Relations + intelligence
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