Too often it seems that national news headlines are backed up by nothing other than a handful of celebrity tweets. But in a new Atlantic article, “The Resistance Media Weren’t Ready for This,” it’s appropriate. Staff writer McKay Coppins details how the large Facebook pages and Twitter celebrities who built their following on building up the Mueller investigation are adapting to its conclusion. It’s worth a quick read, but what is even more interesting for marketers and would-be pundits is the method with which these “Resistance Media” influencers were able to create a cottage industry out of their political passions.
I used a Twitter thread to detail how “resistance” and “Russiagate” personalities and pages take advantage of human psychology and the quirks of social media to amass huge followings – and how you can learn from their tactics.
Here’s how #Russiagaters got their huge Twitter followings. 1/
— Adriel Hampton (@adrielhampton) March 28, 2019
The first innovation is outrage – by tapping into hot, highly emotional news stories (with the help of services like ActionSprout, NewsWhip, or CrowdTangle) and either reposting or repackaging content with a photo meme or short video, guerilla publishers push their brands into mainstream consciousness with viral content. “Found” videos – often from cell phones capturing shocking interpersonal conflicts are turned into branded viral content as well. However, Facebook is continually working on its algorithms to de-emphasise contrived viral content to keep user feeds focused on friendlier inter-personal content and its own advertising. Posting popular mainstream news under a brand or influencer page is one of the safest ways to increase name ID without running afoul of Facebook rules.
Over on Twitter, there is no sign of a crackdown on contrived content. Mini-celebrities like those mentioned in Coppins’ article found the emotional outrage in the Mueller investigation of Trump – so how did the breakouts happen? Some of the media figures involved in Russiagate had full-time content producing jobs, but others, like the notorious Krassenstein brothers, used raw marketing smarts to center themselves in Resistance Twitter. It’s a formula that’s easy to copy – if you (or a virtual assistant) have time.
The secret to predictable, overnight increases in exposure on Twitter is being among the first to offer a relevant reply to a set of large, popular accounts. In practice, what this looks like is several hundred accounts replying within seconds to tweets by top politicians, executives, and Hollywood celebrities. And what it looks like in your own Twitter analytics is the bars on the right:
This strategy to generate hundreds of dollars or more in organic impressions per day plus a steady stream of new followers works like this:
- Create a bank of content and a strategy for updating it regularly.
- Turn on notifications on the Twitter account you will use for replies.
- Turn on notifications for the list of popular users (they get lots of replies) that best matches your content strategy.
- Be one of the first to reply whenever these users tweet.
- Mix up the content and list so that you’re not reusing a meme or link too frequently.
In a month-long experiment with this strategy, my average impressions jumped 3x. You can do the same.
Adriel Hampton is a marketing consultant and founder of The Really Online Lefty League.