Follow Friday: @BarackObama

Follow Friday: @BarackObama

On Monday January 21, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama embarked on his second term in office. Canadians are fascinated by American politics and anecdotal evidence from suggests that around the time of the 2012 U.S. election, editors noticed a significant disparity between reader interest in stories about Canadian politics and those about the U.S. election. In fact, according to a recent poll from Ipsos Reid, 18% of Canadians cite the U.S. election as one of the Top International Stories of 2012.

So why do Canadians care about American politics so much when politics in the States do not directly affect us? One reason that comes to mind is that the American President has done a phenomenal job in using social media to make voting and politics part of the popular culture and appeal to the masses. This Follow Friday we look at some best practices from the success of using social media from @BarackObama.

  • Highlight your personality

Humour, empathy, style, imperfection and personality. Obama stood out by consistently producing good content, acting ethically and adhering to the social media principles of transparency, honesty, accountability, reciprocity and gratuity. The public felt they were building a connection with Obama.

  • Use each platform to reach a different audience

Obama’s digital campaign incorporated Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and Spotify throughout the course of the election. Each social media platform was used to focus on a different segment of the populations’ likes and dislikes. For example, the Tumblr account targeted younger people who didn’t care about social security; whereas, the Facebook page targeted users over the age of 55 who would presumably be more interested in Social Security. Obama also had a Google+ hangout to expand his social networking audience.

  • Timing is everything

By entering the online conversation at the right time, Obama was able to leverage his social media campaign to his advantage.

For most of us running a national political campaign is likely not in the cards, but there are key tactics of Obama’s social presence that we can implement into our own work online.

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