Mr. President 2.0: Barack (Social Media) Obama – Part 1
(This is two part series article)
I just had to use social media as his middle name. It is important to analyze how Barack Obama could leverage his views and personality to reach out to voters using social media tools. American elections created history of sorts – one and the most obvious one being elected as the first African American as President. Second and not so obvious one being use of social media for his presidential campaign by his campaign managers.
Let’s break it down into steps.
1. Voter Generated Content:
First thing that stood out of the campaign was his website. It allowed the voters and fans to not just learn more about him but also organize meetings and fan clubs on his behalf. Voters could download tools and use them in a manner they felt best to help them organize meetings. There was a ‘download’ section where voters could use donation widget, get campaign materials and Obama badges.
The campaign managers had hosted the blog on the website which was more personal in nature and allowed the president elect to share his views and thoughts at frequent intervals. Users could upload their photos and videos, of the meeting they had organized, on his blog for others to see.
Allowing people to create their own content is the golden rule of social media. Barack Obama got more people to participate in his campaign because of this.
2. Generate more funding:
It was clearly evident at the primaries stage itself that Barack Obama was generating a high level of funding. There were times when Hillary Clinton was reported appealing to her supporters “I hope you’ll go to my Web site. Share your thoughts with me, and help in any way you can.” Obama on the other hand had used his immense fan following to generate online donations. He created donation widgets and placed them on all of his profiles in various social media platforms. I am sure people wouldn’t have felt an easier way to contribute towards their leader’s campaign. As a matter of fact, majority of his donations were in lots of ‘sub $200‘
This worked right through even while contesting with Senator John Mc Cain. The ‘Obama-everywhere’ strategy raised more than $105 million in the first six months of the year, compared with Senator John McCain’s $76 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama’s campaign said that as much as 88% of donations stemmed from online sources.
3. Voter Segmentation:
By Age: It was hard to believe that presidential candidate actually had a profile on Facebook and then on MySpace. His profile on Facebook and MySpace was interactive giving his fans of 18-25 age group an opportunity to interact with him – much different from just placing banners ads that are barely effective and not personal.
On the other hand, he created his profile on eons – a social networking site targeted to the ‘boomers’ where he talks about his growing up days as that was more relatable to them.
By communities: Besides having his presence on Facebook and MySpace, Obama also created his profiles on Black Planet, on MiGente and on GLEE (Gays, Lesbians and Everyone Else) targeting the African Americans, Latinos and Gays and Lesbians. The campaign managers also created a separate section for AAPIS (Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders) on his website My.Barackobama.com
Reached out to professionals: It was even more surprising to find his profile on Linked In where I am sure he would have discussed his view points on business, income tax and finance. There are separate group created on linked too where his followers could download badges and give their suggestion to him.
Hope you are with us till this stage. We continue the analysis of Barack Obama social media campaign in the second segment