What Can Internet Entrepreneurs Learn From Barack Obama?
Today, social media marketing is the most powerful way of building brand and relationships on the Internet. Its impact will diminish as everyone jumps on the bandwagon, but for
To demonstrate just how powerful it can be, read the article in the International Herald Tribune, "Electoral triumph built on a Web revolution" by David Carr. It describes how Barack Obama used social media marketing as the foundation of his campaign strategy, which resulted in him winning the presidential election. Results don't come much bigger
Here are a few valuable exerts from the article, with my comments (in bold) about the lessons that you and I can learn:
In February of 2007, a friend telephoned Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape and a board member of Facebook, and asked if he wanted to meet with a young man with an idea that sounded preposterous on its face.
Always game for something new, Andreessen headed out to the San Francisco airport late one night to hear the guy out. A junior member of a large powerful organization with a thin, but impressive résumé, he was about to take on far more powerful forces in a battle for leadership.
He wondered if the power of social networking, with its tremendous communication capabilities and aggressive database development, might help him beat the overwhelming odds facing him.
And as it turned out, Barack Obama, now president-elect, was right.
Barack Obama himself embraced the Internet and social media marketing. It was this personal
Like a lot of Web innovators, the Obama campaign did not invent anything completely new. Instead, by bolting together social-networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then the Republicans.
Adopting social media marketing is easy; everything you need is available, much of it for free. The key to success is how you use those tools.
As a result, when he arrives at the White House, Obama will have not just a political base, but a database, millions of names of supporters who can be engaged almost instantly. And there's every reason to believe that he will use the network not just to campaign, but to govern. His e-mail to supporters on Tuesday night included the line, "We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next."
The real advantage of social media marketing is it builds
The Bush campaign arrived at the White House with a conviction that it would continue a conservative revolution with the help of Karl Rove's voter lists, phone
Social media marketing tools are so
"I think it is very significant that he was the first post-boomer candidate for president," Andreessen said. "Other politicians I have met with are always impressed by the Web and surprised by what it could do, but their interest sort of ended in how much money you could raise. He was the first politician I dealt with who understood that the technology was a given and that it could be used in new ways."
This is an important point. If you think of social media marketing as just another way of promoting your services and generating sales you will fail. Social media is about building relationships which are mutually beneficial. Sales and making money will be the result of building trust.
The juxtaposition of a networked, open-source campaign and a historically imperial office will have profound implications and raise significant questions. Special-interest groups and lobbyists will now contend with an environment of transparency and a president that owes them nothing. The news media will now be contending with an administration that can take its case directly to its base without even booking time on the networks.
Again this is an important point. Today, every online entrepreneur is beholden to Google. If Google decides not to index your site for any reason, there is a good chance your business will fail. Social media marketing reduces this risk by putting you directly in contact with your audience, cutting Google and the other search engines out of the loop.
More profoundly, while many people think that Obama is a gift to the Democratic Party, he could actually hasten its demise. Political parties supply brand, ground troops, money and relationships, all things that Obama already owns.
And his relationships are not the just traditional ties of Democrats - teachers' unions, party
"Thomas Jefferson used newspapers to win the presidency, FDR used radio to change the way he governed, JFK was the first president to understand television, and Howard Dean saw the value of the Web for raising money," said Ranjit Mathoda, a lawyer and money manager who blogs at Mathoda.com. "But Senator Barack Obama understood that you could use the Web to lower the cost of building a political brand, create a sense of connection and engagement, and dispense with the command-and-control method of governing to allow people to self-organize to do the work."
This sums it up. People who understand social media can build
All of the Obama supporters who traded their personal data for a ticket to a rally or an e-mail alert about the vice presidential choice, or opted in on Facebook or MyBarackObama, can now be mass e-mailed at a cost close to zero. And instead of the constant polling that has been a motor of presidential governance, an Obama White House can use the Web to measure voter attitudes.
All successful online businesses are built on relationships and trust. The only way to build trust is to be in regular contact with your audience, and email remains the best way to do this.
"When you think about it, a campaign is a start-up business," Mathoda said. "Other than his speech in 2004 at the convention and his two books, Obama had very little in terms of
Amen! Power to the
There is tremendous power in opening up citizen access to government - think of how much
Obama's 20-month-long conversation with the electorate is entering a new phase. There is
"People will continue to expect a conversation, a two-way relationship that is a give and take," said Thomas Gensemer, managing partner of Blue State Digital, the folks who helped conceive and implement Obama's digital outreach. "People who were part of the campaign will opt
The founders of America wanted a government that reflected its citizens but would be at
That's the thing about pipes today: they run both ways.
"It's clear there has been a dramatic shift," said Andrew Rasiej, the founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, an annual conference about the intersection between politics and technology. "Any politician who fails to recognize that we are in a post-party era with a new political ecology in which connecting like minds and forming a movement is so much easier will not be around long."
This final point is a stark warning. Once you start down the social media marketing route, you are public property. You and your
The web is a fickle world. There are individuals who no-one had heard of two years ago, who can move markets with a single comment. On the other side of the
This is a great article because it provides a case study of just how powerful social media marketing can be.
I recommend you take the time to learn about this subject and start using it to build your personal and business brand.
- You are what you publish, so think carefully before you click 'submit'
- SMM is about a
two wayconversation so listen and interact
- Focus on building a relationship with your audience, not on promoting or selling something
- SMM is about building a
long termloyal following. Don't think of it as a marketing campaign
- Don't be afraid of social media, but do be aware of the possible
consquencesof becoming visible on the internet
Original Article from the International Herald Tribune "Electoral triumph built on a Web revolution" by David Carr.