Obama Mania - The Power Of Listening and Engagement

. Tuesday, January 20, 2009
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I was originally going to call this post "The Power Of Social Media." However, I don't want people to get the wrong idea about why brand Obama has been so successful.

When I meet with a client to discuss online marketing strategies, I am occasionally met with a very enthusiastic individual who says "we want a blog, Facebook page, twitter account, Myspace, and E-Mail newsletter."

This is great. The individual is definitely aware of the different communication mediums available online. However, I always ask "what's the plan once you get these established." Unfortunately I always get the same response. A blank face.

People who are used to traditional advertising, newspaper, tv, etc, have a tendency to set it and forget it. Meaning lets establish a really good looking Facebook page and wait for people to come visit.

Online marketing is powerful because you can listen to your audience and engage them. The Obama campaign is a perfect example of listening and engagement.

Facebook Obama.
-3,949,867 supporters
-554,711 Wall Posts

Facebook is one of the hardest communication outlets to utilize. Partly because Facebook users care more about what their friends are doing and talking about, rather than what brands are doing.

Instead of constantly saying Vote Obama, the Obama campaign focused more on just getting to know Obama. By doing this the votes came naturally.

How can you learn from Obama? The first step is to redefine your goals. Most companies will say my goal is to convert as many people on Facebook into customers to my business. Makes sense right? Not so fast. With this being your goal, you end up having a facebook page that looks more like a promo flyer.

How many of you have friends that are always trying to sell you stuff? Do you enjoy being around this person? Do you plan on being friends with this person for much longer? Exactly.

Your goal on Facebook should be to allow users to get to know your brand. Facebook pages are great for getting across the personality of your brand, what it stands for and what community events it has planned.

The Obama Facebook page did all of these.
Most politicians would never think of putting their favorite music, or videos on Facebook. Fortunately the Obama camp knew better.

Twitter Obama

-168,148 following

Twitter is also a hard tool to use because you need to commit time to it. Twitter is a communication tool and the potential for marketers is huge. However if you never update your twitter status, never check to see what others are talking about and never engage in any conversations, then there is no point using it.

*Note: Obama follows more people then follow him. Unfortunately or fortunately, Hillary Clinton didn't understand the importance of following others on Twitter, and inevitably her Twitter strategy was a big flop.

So remember, social media marketing is not about selling. Instead it is about building relationships. Letting people know that your business exists and this is what it stands for. If you do this successfully, sales will come naturally.