Posted by Jeff Adelson-Yan (@jeffadelsonyan)
It’s no secret that our world is ever-changing and people are constantly innovating new ways to connect with their audiences online. When you think about a big brand, however, maybe you do not consider two of the biggest brands in America right now – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Sure, they are people. But at the heart and soul of their campaigns, they are selling you a brand. And I did not mean that to sound cynical – just realistic.
Every Presidential candidate becomes the embodiment of his or her issues: the symbol for right, left, conservative, green, liberal and tea parties alike. And more and more this brand is built online. Sure, television has a lot to do with it: Who is Glenn Beck endorsing? Who is John Stewart mocking? But the 2008 election seemed to usher in the digital campaign age. Young people took to Facebook and Twitter to promote their candidates of choice. And this year, it has been an even more significant jump.
So how important is social media to a candidate’s election? For starters, Mitt Romney has an app (perhaps now infamous for its typo “AMERCIA”) which enables users to take a photo and overlay a “We’re With Mitt” slogan atop it and then share it on Facebook and Twitter. Romney’s digital team director, Zac Moffatt, told Business Insider that the goal of the digital side of the campaign is to “reduce the points of friction to share a message.” The Presidential Hopeful is also utilizing Sponsored Stories on Facebook to reach current fans and their communities.
In addition to President Obama’s sound digital campaign, he is debuting the “Holy Grail” of digital organizing called Dashboard. This application links to your Facebook and helps campaign organizers connect with other constituents in the area. Not to mention, the addresses and data acquired can really help campaign managers pinpoint the areas that are thriving with support and those that need work relatively easily (sounds a lot like data-driven marketing to me). Sure beats newspaper polls and “hitting the pavement.” Did I mention that there is also a fully-staffed social media team in the White House? That too.
It’s safe to say that the matter of winning and losing could rely at least in part to social media efforts across the board and smaller brands (and state-level politicians) could learn a thing or two from the Presidential brands’ innovations thus far.