Obama: How the Web Was Won
November 6, 2008 4:05 PM
It’s day two following the 2008 elections, and I admit I needed a day to recover.
Never mind the party in the Hollywood Hills that I attended. Just the sheer drama and intensity that followed this year’s election were enough.
We had a strong female candidate for president, an African American who won, a candidate caught in an alleged affair (including potential baby mama) and, as a prospective VP, a former beauty queen mother of four with a pregnant teenage daughter. Two wars, a financial meltdown, plus environmental, job, credit, healthcare, mortgage, oil/energy and impending food crises.
Cafépress.com sent me Obama thong underwear and a McCain coaster as a gift, and I use both.
There has not been a presidential race more reflective of our current society and times. It was utterly full of drama, action and nonstop.
As an Internet business Web 2.0 geek, I’m dying to talk about President-elect Barack Obama’s social media and Web campaign efforts. It was a great sign of how the Web can work for a brand, and here’s how:
They got it. Obama’s Web campaign was pretty fresh from even a corporate America standpoint, let alone a political effort. His team knew where to go and what to do and kept it all cross-platform. That’s the kicker with social media and the Web. Content from the top down by you drives buzz from the bottom up by us. A good Internet campaign is everywhere, and Obama’s crew did just that. Be multimedia, be multiplatform.
User-driven content starts with you. Tons of user-driven content was created during the election for all candidates, but I noticed that whether it was positive or negative seemed highly influenced first from the candidate’s image in the media. Proof that PR and marketing efforts with a positive, energetic spin can drive a lot of what users create and share in turn. It should also include all forms of media—print, TV, blogs, etc.—because it trickles down.
It felt personal. How many photos did you see of Sen. John McCain with his family, or in his everyday world? Just one look at Hollywood and you’ll see how well this kind of stuff sells. While the Republican Party took a hit for Gov. Sarah Palin’s expensive fashions, Obama’s campaign revealed that Michelle shops at Gap and H&M. I’ve talked about how people feeling real to the audience can create attachment. This all helps—and I truly think this helped Obama’s Web campaign as well.
It was fresh … and refreshed. While I’m not sure how much was driven by Obama’s team versus users, the Web promotion of Obama was always on the move. Clips on YouTube, a Twitter feed, you name it. It shows consistent, constant effort is the way to go. Far too many think just setting up a MySpace page or just having a Facebook group is enough. It isn’t. You’ve got to keep it updated, and keep in front of the audience—over and over until you’ve nailed your goal.