I recently got my hands on Obama’s Social Media Toolkit via Twitter. Aside from being fascinated by the millions of people effectively at his fingertips (5 million friends on 15 social networks), I was surprised by the level of empowerment the campaign gave to steadfast advocates:
“The MyBO Web site contained videos, speeches, photos and how-to guides that gave people the raw materials they needed to create their own compelling content in support of Obama. In return, supporters created more than 400,000 pro-Obama videos and posted them to YouTube. They also wrote more than 400,000 blog posts on the MyBO Web site.”
The report makes another strong point about enabling the regular citizen – information is more effective coming from peers and fellow community members than it is from a political campaign. After the past few years and the general distrust of politicians in this country, the average citizen is a much more trustworthy catalyst in spreading awareness. The Obama Team understood this and allocated their resources effectively as a result (this report claims Obama’s online staff was 10x John McCain’s).
Politics aside, our President understood how to use social media effectively and, as a result, reached out to a multitude of marketers who carried his message with a genuine clarity that would not have been possible in a pre-Facebook world. It’s clear from the rising number of businesses on Twitter that the corporate world is trying to mimic the Obama model. I am skeptical about how effective this will be.
Simply exposing your brand is not as important as engaging enthused followers with a message or content that elicits a reaction…not so easy without a charismatic leader with gravitas that could rival a Roman emperor.