With the launch of Change.gov, commentary on Obama’s social media strategy and success have been made here, here and here. Yup, here too. Some are even calling Obama and the government integration of new media tools through Change.gov the Digital New Deal while others wonder about the extension of the Obama brand and community – post election.
Social media is awesome. Grand. Influential. Amazing. In my professional role working with government agencies, I must admit that my first reaction to Change.gov was, “Sweet, I can’t wait for this priority on social media to trickle down among other government agencies. Man, that would make our job so much easier.” Or, would it?
Because now, instead of talking about why to do it, the opportunity to implement may [hopefully] increase, meaning we must show results. And, Obama set the bar high.
Granted, Obama’s campaign is an amazing case study that aided in achieving an important end objective – getting Obama elected. However, Obama’s online success is due to more than social media.
- Obama’s campaign was newsworthy as according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism. This encourage the public to be interested and engaged. The study found that:
“Overall, the presidential campaign filled 54% of the newshole as measured by PEJ’s News Coverage Index from Oct. 27-Nov. 2. That represents a slight uptick from the previous two weeks when the election was at 52% (Oct. 20-26) and 51% (Oct. 13-19). The race for the White House was the dominant story in all five media sectors, most notably in cable, where it accounted for 84% of the airtime studied, and on the radio airwaves, at 65%.”
- Obama created the Obama-brand. If you work in government, you may understand some of the government’s sensitivity to the word brand. And from the outside, how the public might react to the government branding or marketing itself. (Hence, the whole debate back when to transition from health communications to health marketing.) However, the Obama-brand has become widely accepted and adapted while maintaining a consistent message to diverse audiences across a range of platforms.
- The number of resources available. Obama’s fundraising numbers were out of the roof. Not every project is as fortunate. This is why highlighting and emphasizing ROI is important and critical.
- Obama was the first, and it was sexy. Being the first is always advantageous. In the government 2.0 sector, Obama led the way in showing how to leverage a comprehensive social media plan to create an online presence that connected with the overall program’s mission. Not only did he do it, but he made it sexy by implementing creative elements that encouraged not only online users, but also online ambassadors.
- Obama and his team understood the essence of social media online and off line. This is the biggest one I think. Obama’s message tapped into the cornerstone of social media – help me, help you, help me, empower America. Did you get lost in that? Web 2.0 is about the conversation and Obama is encouraging conversation with him and among each other. The Change.gov Web site communicates it best:
“Share your vision for what America can be, where President-Elect Obama should lead this country. Where should we start together?”
He took the essence of social media tools and made it his mantra. He is change, but he needs you to help create that change. You want change, but you need him to lead that change. Brilliant.
In your opinion, what other factors outside of social media helped mold Obama’s online success?