- Trump’s plan to start a new social media network is highly unlikely to succeed, experts have told Insider.
- The former president is reportedly planning a new platform to recover the audience he lost after being kicked off Twitter.
- But Trump will struggle, experts believe, with any new platform likely to struggle financially.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Donald Trump’s plan to create a new social media platform is doomed to fail, experts have told Insider, with the former president unlikely to extend his following beyond a dwindling number of his remaining supporters.
Kicked off Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube after the Capitol riot on January 6, the former president has spent the last few months in the digital wilderness, resorting to issuing press statements via email.
Now, says his aide Jason Miller, he’s planning to come roaring back with his own social media network within “about two or three months.”
“I do think we’re going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here with his own platform,” Miller said in March. “This is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media.
“It’s going to completely redefine the game, and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does, but it will be his own platform,” he said.
Axios reported that Trump’s team is in conversations with taking over or partnering with smaller apps, including one called FreeSpace, which only counts a few thousand downloads to date.
However, some experts doubt that the project will ever get off the ground.
“Donald Trump says a lot of things. Before he was elected, he said he would rarely leave the White House and that he wouldn’t have time to play golf and that he’d give up Twitter if elected,” Peter Loge, an associate professor at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, told Insider.
“Until the talked-about social media platform is up, running, and being used, I wouldn’t assume it exists.”
Trump will struggle to recreate the audience he had on Twitter
Even if Trump does get off the ground, experts believe that Trump will have a difficult time recapturing the success he enjoyed on Twitter.
Even though Trump’s reported plan to partner with an existing app might mean that the network may not face many of the technical hurdles associated with launching a brand-new app, experts said that Trump will likely struggle to persuade people who are not already his loyal followers to sign up to it.
“This [new] social media network is in my professional judgment unlikely to grow Trump’s following,” said Professor Stephen A. Greyser, a marketing and communications expert at Harvard Business School.
“It is dominantly oriented [on] maintaining his existing following.”
Twitter was a tool credited with helping him to capture the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and subsequently the presidency itself and a highly effective means to communicate his unfiltered thoughts to millions of followers once he was in the White House.
The nature of Twitter was that Trump’s often provocative political statements would be seen and heard across the political spectrum, rather than only by his existing fanbase.
However, if Trump’s ambition in launching a new platform is merely to maintain regular contact with his existing followers, then it may prove an effective tool, said Professor Greyser.
“It is serving as a reminder to existing users, so to speak, of the brand. But it’s unlikely to be attracting new brand adherence,” he said.
This may not be enough for Trump.
The signs since he left the White House are that he wants to maintain and expand his influence over the Republican party. He’s even hinted several times that he is eyeing another run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. It is not clear that a new social media network will be much help in that regard.
Trump’s new platform could struggle financially
“Any new site would face stiff competition from others trying to get a sliver of attention from Americans already overwhelmed with online options,” said Peter Loge.
“You have to sell ads or data to make that work, which means you need enough people to buy the ads and the data.”
“That means the service has to have enough users to make ads and data worth buying. Those are users who have to be pried away from other services that they are already using and from which they are already benefiting.”
“There are hundreds of social media services out there, all competing for limited user attention and limited ad dollars. Trump would presumably start with a significant base, but would likely have trouble expanding that base beyond his current fans.”
The midterms next year may provide a clear indication as to whether Trump newly equipped with his own social media network, will continue to exert the same sort of oversized grip on the Republican party he has in recent years.