3 Ways Obama’s Digital Marketing Won the Internet and the Election


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obamaNo change this time. President Obama keeps his place in the White House for another four years and yet again, social media has played a big part. Four years ago, Obama’s social media inspired campaign played a huge part in his election. It was so successful that it has inspired many digital marketing campaigns since. Including the aggressive social media activity of his opponent Mitt Romney this time around.

We’ve spoken many times on this blog about the similarities between digital marketing and political campaigning. Throughout this campaign, both sides have used digital marketing techniques and social media engagement to boost their chances. In fact, this whole election has been referred to as the social media election in some quarters. Obama’s victory in the actual election is a reflection of his general superiority as a digital marketer.

Three key moments stand out in defining why Obama won the online race while winning the political one too. Let’s look at those moments and the digital marketing rules that inspired them.

Engage Directly with Your Market: The Reddit AMA

Social media has broken down the walls between brands and consumers. The best brands engage in direct conversation with their customers every single day. Talking to your market creates a rapport; it allows prospects to see you as more than just a faceless corporation. It sees you as a content source, an informed conversationalist or even a friend. Speaking to your audience directly through social media is the basis of good digital marketing.

When President Obama did an AMA on Reddit in August, he did literally that. He let his market, the American people, ask him questions and he answered them. He put his human side on show, and gathered plenty of good will from a notoriously difficult group to crack. Reddit users can be brutal if they feel they’re being used, just ask Woody Harrelson. The AMA was a success because Obama allowed his personality to come through and as a result he gathered support and advocacy from a huge, web-savvy community.

Create Winning Content: The Empty Chair Tweet

A lot goes into creating great digital marketing content. The best content is funny, shareable, relevant and productive. When Obama’s campaign tweeted their response to Clint Eastwood’s ‘Invisible Obama’ speech at the Republican National Convention they ticked each of those boxes.

Great content like that is the holy grail of digital marketing. As a marketer, your target should be to create great content every single day. To do that takes planning, analysis and creativity. It takes a mix of skills and the implementation of a culture of content creation. Obama’s empty chair tweet may not have had a lot of time for planning, but it came about because the campaign had been consistently producing great content. Digital marketing works when various skillsets and professions work together and the same goes for great political campaigns.

Make Your Audience Feel Appreciated: The Acceptance Tweet

Digital marketing through social media is all about creating a community. You’re not just looking to drive sales, you want to create fans and brand advocates. Your social channels should make people want to listen to you, and then tell others about you. Both campaigns in this election achieved this level of engagement, with many social media advocates of both candidates campaigning right up to the last minute.

The best way to turn a social media follower into a true believer and advocate is to make them feel appreciated. There should be benefits to being your fan on Facebook, people should feel like you care about their opinions and appreciate their promotion of your brand. This can come in the form of promotions and special offers, or you can simply tell them how much you value their support. Obama demonstrated this by tweeting his appreciation in the moments leading up to his acceptance speech. For the first time, a group of social media followers heard from a newly-elected President before traditional media. I’ll bet they felt pretty special.

These are just three moments in an epic campaign in which both parties scored victories and suffered defeats. One thing is clear, in marketing as in politics, the winner in the digital realm is usually the winner in the real world too.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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