social media success story: Obama

One great approach to social media for your business, is to learn from those who went before you, and who have had great success. And what better success than becoming President of the United States?

Barrack Obama’s social media campaign helped unite people around his cause, allowing supporters to engage with Obama, publicly support his campaign and spread the word far and wide.

By the end of his campaign Obama had more than 5 million friends across 15 different social networks, and had raised $5 million online from  more than 6.5 million donations.

So what can we learn from Obama’s social media strategy?

Have clear objectives – Obama’s objective to raise money and increase advocates was clear from the outset. Having clear objectives is the first step to a successful social media campaign.

Go where your demographic is – Don’t start from scratch. Use popular social media sites to drive conversation back to your website, in Obama’s case his central page

Engage and add value – Identify touch points where people are already talking about your, engage and add value to existing conversations.

Allow people to engage at different levels – Obama let people choose the level and type of support they wanted to give him. This meant casual supporters could stay involved, and advocates could increase their involvement. For example, personal supporter could be minimally involved by making donations, commenting and signing up for emails, social supporters could spread his message through blog posts, photos and videos, and  advocates could recruit others to donate, host events and create groups.

Identify advocates and give them tools to share with others – Make it easy for advocates to increase their level of involvement. allowed users to create their own profiles, blog, start groups, and organise events – there were 2 million profiles and 200,000 blogs  at the end of the campaign.

Combine online and offline – Don’t have your online and offline campaigns acting in silo. Get online supporters to act offline (to maximise reach) and maximise offline activity by sharing it online

Ensure people can find your content – Create simple URLs for websites and use SEO to ensure your page comes up on the first page of google results for popular search terms. Also use search ads and adwords – 33% of people don’t distinguish between search results and paid results.

Measure results – Track the success of every element of the campaign. Obama’s campaign found that open rate of emails could be doubled just by changing the title. His campaign developed more than 7,000 tailored emails targeted to prospects and improved in real time – conversion rates improved throughout the campaign.

Follow social media’s distinct rules – Obama understood that to succeed in social media he needed to add value, interact,  respond quickly, accept some chaos, be open and transparent, and set ground rules.

Make social media central to your business – Social media was not an add-on in Obama’s campaign. It was central to all areas his campaign, with Obama investing in social media from the outset. Obama also ensured he had the right team, employing a team of specialised advisors including facebook’s co-founder Chris Hughes and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt.


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10 social media lessons from the obama campaign

How Obama won using digital media and social media

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