5 Things You Can Learn from Obama’s Social Media Strategy

Posted on May 16, 2012 
Filed Under Content Marketing Strategy, General, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Networking, Traffic Building

Obama-social-mediaPresident Barack Obama has over 26 million likes on Facebook. Some say that he won his election off the back of social media. He revolutionized fundraising through the power of the internet and recently hosted the very first Whitehouse Google+ hangout. Both as a presidential candidate and as President of the United States, Barack Obama has powerfully leveraged social media to raise funds, get elected and push his policies.

There’s a lot that corporate CEOs can learn from Barack Obama. After all, Obama is really the CEO of the largest corporation on the planet – The United States government. Here are five social media lessons to take home from Barack Obama.

#1 – Hire Social Media Savvy Staff

Did you know that Obama hired senior staff from the popular social media site Reddit to help run both his campaign and his White House?

If you plan on using social media, make sure you hire people who understand social media. Social media involves understanding quite a different mindset than traditional branding-based marketing.

While it’s possible to train someone from the ground up, it usually makes more sense to just hire people who have the skills already.

#2 – Use Social Media to Influence Perception

Barack Obama understands the power of painting pictures. He also understands the power of social media for putting spin on things.

For example, when Osama Bin Laden was captured, Barack Obama deliberately released photos from within the situation room. The images showed Obama and his staff carefully deliberating the situation. They were victorious, but not boastful. For a lot of people, this image helped reinforce a sense of trust in the president’s decision making.


Another example was how President Obama used the White House Correspondent’s dinner as a viral springboard. The dinner, which usually few pay attention to, got millions of views on YouTube. As a result of this video, President Obama’s image of being overly calm and collected was somewhat dispersed by his sense of humor.

Social media has enormous power to change image.

#3 – Leverage the Power to Spread a Message

Obama really understands how social media can be used to spread a message.

When the opposition launched a campaign to extend a payroll tax, President Obama and his White House used various social media platforms to spread the message.


They used infographics that showed exactly how the payroll tax would affect the average person. They created a lot of buzz on various social media platforms. They raised a lot of awareness of the issue through the power of social media.

In the past, an advocate had to go out of their way to create signs or make phone calls to support a cause. Today, all they have to do is click “share.” This is a game changer and President Obama knows it.

If you have a message, try to get people on board and on your side using social media.

#4 – Adapt to Changing Business Models

New technologies and new business models appear everyday. The faster you are to catch on and adapt, the more you’ll pull ahead of your competition.

In Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, they decided to take donations using Square, a small device attached to iOS smartphones that can allow people to take payments on the road. Instead of having to take down credit card details of donors, street canvassers can now charge their card right on the spot.

What new technologies are arising in your industry? Are you on the cutting edge or are you just doing things the way they’ve always been done?

#5 – Obama Tweets!

The President of the United States is an active Twitter user. In fact, Twitter is an integral part of his strategy for shaping his image and for spreading the word on his various initiatives.


Are you “too busy” to tweet? Tweeting can create a more humane image for your brand. People feel like they’re getting to know the people behind a brand, rather than just get advertised to all day. In addition, Twitter is a great place to make important announcements or diffuse PR issues.

These are five ways in which President Obama uses social media intelligently. What can you take away from these lessons?

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