3 Social Media Lessons Learned from President Obama’s Digital Media Team

With the heat of this year’s presidential election beginning to cool, we the social media lovers now have a chance to really examine the true extent of President Obama’s victory. Now having peeled off the Romney bumper stickers and hung up the Obama posters, it can be said that this election was partly defined by the connections people felt with the political candidates’ presence in new media. Republican, Democrat or Undecided, social media gave use the impossible — an intimate and personal connection with our political leaders.

Whether it be promoting your own platforms or presenting new resources on the web, diving into the congested world of social media can be incredibly daunting. While for most of us running a national campaign is not in the cards, there are key tactics of the Obama campaign that we can implement in our own work online. Obama’s successful campaign was run by only four digital media staffers, lead by Laura Olin, whose attention to detail and determination to highlight and capture the personalities of the President, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden played huge factors in the President’s re-election.

Highlight Your Personality

Without any directives by the White House, Olin and her team highlighted the interests and passions of each figure. “Joe Biden did lots of veterans stuff, a lot of, you know, middle-class families, blue-collar workers, first responders, stuff like that,” Olin tells The Daily Beast about her team’s posts and updates. “Michelle Obama was a lot about education, obviously women, health, and nutrition.” By highlighting the interests of these three individuals, the public naturally felt that they were building a connection with the Obamas.

Use Each Platform to Reach a Different Audience

The Obama Campaign’s digital staffers juggled and developed the candidates’ Facebooks, Twitters, Pinterests, Instagrams, Tumblrs, and Spotifys throughout the course of the election.  Across the board, these digital staffers used each social media platform to focus on separate populations’ likes and dislikes. “The Tumblr targeted younger people who don’t care about Social Security. Whereas on Facebook, [we] could target a post to users over the age of 55 who had ‘liked’ Barack Obama’s page and, because of their age, were presumably interested in Social Security,” Olin shares in her interview. “We would take advantage of that a lot. It was picking and choosing where we thought people would respond best.”

ALWAYS Spell Check

The tedious process of spell check is the last thing you want to do after 10 hours of sitting in front of an article but remember, it’s the final and necessary polishing. A process that was exhausting but crucial,  Olin shares, “I’m really proud that we avoided a really embarrassing ‘Amercia’ situation,” a jab about the Romney campaign’s mistweet. Come election day, after sleepless nights of tweeting, photographing and updating, the group’s hard work paid off with a huge population of 18-29 year olds, social media’s bread and butter, turning out to vote for Obama.

Taking a step back, it seems nutty to compare our Facebooks, Twitters and YouTubes to the President of the United States’, but living on the wild side, let’s just do it. Social media has evened the playing field for all of us, giving ourselves direct and instantaneous connection to one another no matter our social standing, age or gender. The Obama Campaign shows that to set your social media endeavors apart you must keep material current, undergo rigorous fact checks and be true to your own interests. I can’t guarantee that your Tumblr will be called “the best campaign Tumblr the world has ever seen” but your passion and hard work in maintaining these platforms will set you apart as a reliable online contributor.

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