How did Barack Obama win a second term in office? While he did all the normal campaign things he also harnessed the power of the internet to ensure victory in 2012.
I've been watching an interview on BBC's Newsnight with Harper Reed. He was the Chief Technology Officer for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. He became the key factor in helping the president win a second term in the White House.
What Reed did was to analyze a range of data from social media like Twitter, Facebook and blogs as well as looking at donations, commentary and views of the election campaign. Then they could then target coordinators precisely.
In the past elections were run by an army of coordinators knocking on doors, connecting with people via the phone, and a range of hands on methods requiring a lot of legwork to make personal contact.
Reed described the use of social media as a 'force multiplier'. By using it and its power you can reach a great many more people. The aim is to make a 'connection' with people who support Obama.
By adopting online methods they did the same campaigning as before only using technology to do more with pinpoint accuracy and use it to reach more people with one action. Their online efforts were also used as a 'listening tool' to find out what people wanted. In essence he described it as how the campaign could get the 'conversation closer' to the voters.
Overall Reed feels that both politics and business needs to embrace technology to succeed in the future.
As online marketers we should be doing the same and looking at this as a model for how to conduct business in the future.
1. The Power of Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, blogs are all ways in which people express themselves. They are more than just social sites. They can galvanize support or be a weapon of mass destruction to any business, politics, or social trend.
Reed and Obama's technology team and used it to their advantage. Analyzing data, comments and support, then targeting their response to it including a correct connection with voters. Their action was successful and Obama was re-elected.
By listening to your niche and responding to it in a positive way could have similar results for your online market.
2. A New Take on Old Methods: Elections are about bodies and people supporting candidates. In the past it was done on foot or the phone and took many man hours. By embracing social media made this more efficient. One action using online technology could have a 'force multiplier effect'. Any online business can do the same.
Think of internet marketing as reaching many people through taking one action.
3. Listen to Voters: A key part of the Obama campaign was using social media as a listening tool. It is that closer conversation with voters. Hearing what they say and reacting to it way that resonates with the individual and also with a wider audience. It's the ripple effect that starts small and then spreads outwards. In your online business listen and respond in a positive way to your market.
4. Embrace Technology : The view here is that new technology is the future. It brings together a lot of different ways of listening and reacting to what people are saying and feeling. By harnessing this and developing an overall strategy is key to success. An online internet business can only benefit from using technology to meet the needs of customers.
5. It's All Free: The biggest point to make here is that all this is being done using open source network software. All of this is developed through collaboration on line and given freely to use by those who developed it. By using this type of software allows you to develop an online business using tools and resources to reach a global audience.
Together this shows you how powerful and potent internet marketing can be. If handled in the right way it can have a huge impact on your business. There's nothing wrong with using old ideas and methods. It's just that they're slow.
For faster results online marketers need to overlap the changes around and react to people in a positive way. You already know the results that can be achieved. If it's good enough for Obama it's good enough for you.