The classical triangulation theory behind the perfect tweet

  • Even Cicero could learn from Donald Trump
  • He uses classical three touch-point structure to support all his hidden agendas…
  • …And gain traction in his target audience

Trump tweets a lot – see my previous blog about his through the night tweets to monopolise prime time breakfast TV – timing is key. But there’s something more compelling about his tweets. In fact there’s something addictive about them.

Read this one:

Three ideas encapsulating three Trump mission statements: first Obama must go, second – the emotional call: it’s his patriotic duty, third – I’m rich and own lots of golf courses – and all in 140 characters.

There’s method in Trump madness

and then there’s the hidden agendas. First: Obama is better at golf than running the country (by the way, he allegedly spends more time playing golf than any other president – it’s a bit of a joke in the US), second: I’m not nasty, I’m a nice and kind rich man, hence my generous offer, and third: look out for my golf courses – I own lots of them and it is America’s favourite sport so people will engage.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I am learning from the Trump tweets. These tweets are not streams of consciousness but carefully constructed to hit three touch points.

A tactic of triangulation combined with classical rhetoric

I have to thank Amanda Hess for her analysis – this article is worth a read for purists of communication theory, and Trump has to thank Cicero and Aristotle who would be proud of Trump’s tweets.

The best of Trump’s tweets manage to hit upon all three of Aristotle’s modes of persuasion: logos (the appeal to logic), ethos (the appeal to credibility), and pathos (the appeal to emotion).


The three touch points: facts/logos – it’s Friday: pathos/emotion – turbines kill beautiful animals and endangered species: credibility/ethos – they are destroying endangered species and the landscape (two hits in one here).

Again, see his response to the December 2015 death of six U.S. airmen in Afghanistan:

Logos: ethos: pathos.

How can we use this in B2B?

Tweets work best if you add to the story you are tweeting, so do the triangulation:

Take this tweet:

6 ways content marketing has changed the way we do PR from @TheNextWeb http://ow.ly/10w6C0

or

The game has changed, but the goals remain the same http://ow.ly/10w6C0 6 ways how #ContentMarketing has changed PR forever @TheNextWeb

Here’s another tweet:

Study: Why #B2B Marketers Waste 19% of Their Budgets @Contently http://ow.ly/10wacq

or

Report: B2B marketers wasting 19% of their budgets http://ow.ly/10wacq 5 tips on getting more value from your #B2Bmarketing @contently

Credibility: fact: ethos.

Try it! Twitter and the art of rhetoric – it’s a sure way to get better engagement.

Judith Ingleton-Beer, CEO of IBA International

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