Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama - Web PR Case Study

Close to 65% of the American population voted in this election, its highest turnout since the election of 1908. By all means, this election was profound in its results. Obama’s victory is deeply symbolic. Politics aside, whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent or member of the Green Party, we cannot overlook the power of real world community relations combined with the reach and engagement of online social communities and networks.

Online tools such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter contributed to the netting of record-breaking campaign funding and the staggering galvanization of a younger generation of first-time voters who truly made an impact and a difference. The Obama campaign leveraged multiple technology platforms, social immersion strategies and good old fashioned door-to-door relationship building to engage constituents directly, raising an astounding $600 million in campaign contributions.

On Twitter, Barack Obama sent messages to convert prospective voters to action and subsequently extend reward for the result. This is extremely effective.

On Facebook, the Obama page boasted over three million fans compared to McCain’s 618,000.

In a text message sent to supporters on the eve of the election, he reaffirmed that they will be part of Presidency moving forward;

“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.
I will listen to you, especially when we disagree…and to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too."

**Messages like the ones above that are focused on your target public telling them about your product or service offerings will deliver results for your company.

This isn’t just about broadcasting content through new channels or merely soliciting feedback, participating in popular networks or actively listening, it’s the ability to identify and internalize themes to precipitate change and earn support through action – not just words.

For the first time, the U.S. President can simultaneously cultivate communities where people create, discover, and share information online.

For example: Obama Web PR Campaign Scope

- Launch a social network at Change.gov and/or whitehouse.gov

- Create a citizen feedback and collaboration page at GetSatisfaction

- Solicit policy proposals that people can vote up or down on Change For Us.

- Open the blog to comments on Change.gov (with community moderation).

- Address the country on YouTube and all other video networks with updates, polls, and also address issues in between official State of the Union broadcasts.

- Capture behind-the-scenes footage of the inner workings of the White House and share across all video networks.

- Create a user-generated channel on Magnify.net that features content from constituents.

-Create an @obamacares or @whitehousecares account on Twitter and other micro-blogging communities to listen and respond directly within each network.

- Complement the Presidential radio show with a regular podcast or livecast on uStream.tv or BlogTalkRadio and also interact with the people online, in real time.

- Publish speeches and important policy documents on document networks such as Scribd and Docstoc to be shared and disseminated throughout blogs and personal social profile pages.

- Create a portable and evolving Obama Widget using a SproutBuilder.

This is how a President, or any politician or business for that matter, can authentically connect with the people formerly known as the audience - in the real world.

**People shouldn’t only have a voice during an election time; listening and responding should be an ongoing practice and process of any office.

Adam Rooke,
Director of Operations Canada
Richter10.2 Media Group