Posted on Nov 9, 2016

How Trump is Manipulating Online Media & Facebook

A Simple Emotional Lesson For Online Businesses

Would you agree this has been one of the most interesting and engaging elections, and emotions are running high on both sides?

There’s an important lesson for your online business based on what happened in this election…

Before we get to that, I noticed something today about some of the most successful people I know… which might help you…

Can you have a guess at how they might have responded to the election?

They did not respond the way that most Clinton supporters did.

And they did not respond the way that most Trump supporters did.

They did something different to the majority… because the crowd tends to be wrong. What makes us, as humans, so powerful, is our ability to think independantly and rationally.

Yet at such an important time, we see emotions running high on all sides.

And when you find those energies are sucking you in a direction, it can be worth taking a moment of awareness…

What I’m about to say might change your day entirely…

The Ant…

I remember being stressed and emotional a few weeks ago after a draining few weeks of hard work and travel, and I took a moment to sit in the sun and reflect.

That’s when I saw the ant walking in the grass.

I’ll get back to Trump in a minute… but this Ant is important…

That ant had no clue, he didn’t care about all the crazy thoughts, problems, fears, challenges, desires and emotions in my mind.

In that moment I had never liked an ant more!

He brought me a moment of calmness…

That ant did not care about all the things going on in the world… he just worked away on finding his way through the grass, probably searching for food.

He had his purpose, and he went on with it, without care for anything else…

I learned a lesson from that ant that day, and he’ll never even know it.

He taught me to take a step back and explore what I have control over, and focus on that.

He made me realize I was small too. This is a big world, and we’re a little like ants finding our way around.

The best we can do at times is work on what we have control on, and hope that spills over to have a greater effect on the world…

So today I put this as my desktop background…

circle of control

Back to the Election…

This is not a political post. I would like to share some insights that may help you with your online business… you can create energy and direction that gives you force in the right direction whether what is happening in the world around you is good or bad… as long as you have a working mind and can move physically, you can do that.

I watched the election in my spare time with an aim to learn more about persuassion and marketing.

After all Obama’s campaign some years prior was also incredibly enlightening – after all he did hire some of the greatest & famous minds in marketing to help him. But the world is not the same as it was then.

Like you I could not help but get pulled in by this election… but my purpose was to grow my understanding and knowledge about persuassion, influence and marketing. There is a lot to learn from all sides, so let’s stick to that.

What’s clear is we’re not in the same world as 10 years ago and people are thinking very differently. That’s an important lesson and that’s out of our control.

So What Happened…

Last year in an email to subscribers I talked about Donald Trump’s skill at getting attention and framing narratives. Hillary Clinton is also incredibly skilled at this.

Simply getting more TV coverage drastically improves a candidates chance of being elected… and this is true for an online business  to some degree (usually minus the controversy). Traffic is the first part of sales or advertising revenue.

But there’s more to it…

Trump’s win in the presidential race is another demonstration of how radically media and persausion has changed since the advent of the internet…

Trump - Simple & Emotional = Viral

With so much noise out there, and such competing and sophisticated demands for attention, and being only a click away from the next inticing thing, it’s resulted in simple and highly emotional messages getting more attention.

That would explain why Bernie Sander’s more complex narratives failed… they did not fit into the current fast paced media and online cycle.

We could be upset about the state of the media, but it’s not something we have much control over.

However, we can learn about it for getting results in our own businesses, whether you do SEO, social media, paid traffic or something else.

Simple & Emotional = Viral

The Trump movement has revealed a critical aspect of modern persausion and marketing.

The effectiveness of a candidates campaign has been in their ability to create a narrative and draw people into that frame, and make it catchy and simple so it gets attention.

For example… A key narrative of Trump was fighting the corrupt establishment & corrupt candidate to bring radical change…

A key narrative of Clinton was to stop an unqualified, egotistical, risky maniac from getting into office, to bring togetherness.

These are highly emotional and controversial narratives that people can get attached to.

If you sit on one side of the fence, then your preferred candidate has narratives that probably resonate with you.

And you probably haven’t bought into the other candidates narrative. The story they are telling either does not resonate with you or you don’t beleive it.

Our own products, services, blog posts, advertisements and websites are subject to the same forces…

Is your messaging simple enough for your audience?

Does it grab attention?

Does it pull on emotions?

Does it have a compelling narrative they can relate to?

Simple messages and tapping into emotions now have huge viral power online and offline to a degree that didn’t exist before.

That change is due to the massively increased amount of data, news and entertainment now hitting all of us every day.

Compare the simplicity of their slogans…

  • Make American Great Again (he’s not the first to use this)
  • Stronger Together

Obama’s was also simple… ‘Change We Can Believe In

Over 100 years ago back in the 1800s Abraham Lincoln could get away with a more complex slogan…

“Don’t Swap Horses in the Middle of the Stream”

In today’s fast paced attention lacking world simple emotional messages are memorable. They have real impact whereas we tend to discard nearly everything else simply because we have so little time (or attention spans) to analyze any particular message at depth.

Here’s the question for you. “In your business, website, advertisement, blog post or product, can you simplify your message down and also make it more emotional?”

That’s something you can control.

As a marketer it always pays to remember that people act based on emotion, over logic.

Download Your Free Guide

14 Ways to Make Your Content go Viral in 2016


  • Thank you Chris, perfect article. And whole story in 2 pics is GREAT!

  • Very succinct summation Chris.

    Thanks for sharing your take on it.

  • Sami says:

    Great lessons Chris, thanks.

    Though Bernie’s failure was more due to the internal party machinery and well united internal forces stacked against him – an outsider.

    Bernie’s message did truly resonate with the youth – the very people who exhibit the very lack of attention span that you rightly mention.

    But your lesson is very valid even with respect to Bernie – he had a clear simple message for his base.

    Thanks again – you have lifted my mood and I’m focusing on my own circle of control 😉

    • Chris Munch says:

      Hey Sami…

      Bernie Sanders use of language when he talks is at grade 10.1, and Donald Trump’s is at 4.1… so ultimately Trump’s use of language is far simpler.

  • Josh says:

    Hey Chris,
    Really love this article and great hearing your thoughts on it, first about being the little ant and just finding our way in the world, then circle of control vs. concern.. it all fits and the current election is a good way to teach these lessons.
    I’ve also been watching the election (even as a brit) to learn about persuasion and marketing and I kept coming back to the simple, dumbed down emotional message.. so I was super glad you talked about that too.
    Great post 🙂

  • Tony says:

    Chris you have obviously been thinking about this changing space of attracting eyeballs and minds for some time. You have shown some great insights in this blog. I am sure that you are also reading a lot on the topic. What are the 2 or 3 sources that have influenced you most?

    • Chris Munch says:

      take action, read a lot, work with & talk with smart people

  • Jai says:

    Great Post. Simple & emotionally connecting messages work far better than just plain marketing messages. Your ANT example is great and perfect on present condition.

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