Learning business by watching others succeed (part 1)
6 business lessons from the Barack Obama campaign
Barack Obama is not the first presidential candidate to use the Internet in his campaign. But Barack Obama is the only one who managed to really teach business lessons through his campaign, i.e. turn online donors into real ground supporters and voices. How did his online advertising campaign work?
Barack Obama had an email list of 13 million people. He had five million friends on 15 different social networks such as Facebook (3,000,000), MySpace, covering several Asian communities, African-Americans and Spaniards. He had a website with over 8.5 million visitors per month, over 400,000 blog posts. He had over 2,000 official YouTube videos that were watched over 80 million times. But what was the purpose of this activity on the Internet?
Business Lessons to Learn from Barack Obama’s Campaign
1. Build a network of supporters. In the Obama campaign, building a network of supporters was possible at 3 levels: personal, social, and “intermediary level.” Starting at a personal level, becoming Obama’s friend on one of the social networks, people became almost participants in the campaign. They were always informed about the latest events in the campaign and became “intermediaries”, they could send comments to the profiles of their friends. At the social level, anyone could register on Obama’s website and create a group of supporters that will post photos, blogs and videos on YouTube. Thus, Obama’s supporters stimulated “demand for Obama”, raised its popularity, and, ultimately, the number of votes.
2. Empowerment of VIP members. Those that created support groups and attracted potential campaign donors gained access to the Obama database. Limited, of course, but even this was far from accessible to everyone.
3. Providing materials to users for self-creation of content. Obama’s website contained videos, speeches, photographs, and various instructions that gave people the opportunity to create their own content to support his campaign. So supporters have created more than 400,000 videos on YouTube and more than 400,000 posts on the site.
4. Obama was where people are. The campaign used more than one social network. Because some use Facebook, others MySpace, and minorities AsianAve, MiGente and BlackPlanet. Therefore, the Obama team has selected the most influential social networks. All of these social networks were used to attract friends to Obama’s site.
5. Using tools that people already use and are close to. All these social networks were well known and had their fans. Each participant had his own profile and his group of friends, the attraction of which did not require large investments.
6. Made it easy for people to find them. They were everywhere on the net. The Obama team has invested a lot in search engine optimization (SEO). After all, nothing will work if they cannot find you.
Instead of a conclusion: every small business should practice guerrilla marketing of this or similar type and use every opportunity to attract consumers. You can really learn from this story for your business. And this is just one thought on how social networks can turn into marketing weapons.