Lessons for Small Businesses From Obama’s Marketing Campaign

Guest Blogger
Guest Blogger
December 11, 2012
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The following is a guest blog post from Nicole Henneman, who examines successful marketing strategies used by Obama’s 2012 campaign.

By now, you probably saw the iconic image that will ultimately depict Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election — the president hugging his wife with a warm, relaxed look on his face. The release of this picture, which is now the most viral photo ever, according to TheDailyBeast.com, can be considered the grand finale of the most brilliant online marketing campaign in history. Through vicious rhetoric, tough debates and a still-struggling economy, President Obama emerged recharged and re-elected. No one could win the presidency on marketing alone, but in 2012, the Internet was the difference between four more years and a new direction.

Small business owners may not have teams of strategists or experienced high-end technology, but they can still apply these campaign tactics to their marketing efforts. With a community-based perspective, relevant content and a innovation-friendly attitude, your small business can reach consumers in untapped markets.

Stay in the Know

Internet culture chews through current events like a starving jungle cat, so if you wait too long to weigh in on a topic, you’re doomed. Obama’s online marketing team stayed in front of the conversation, responding to current events before or as they happened. An Oct. 28 post on Facebook, for example, depicts the President on the phone with a caption listing how users can support the East Coast as it prepares for Hurricane Sandy. Not only does the post convey a compassionate message, it was also posted at a time when the incoming hurricane was on users’ minds.

Small businesses will have success with online marketing by tailoring their content to trending topics. If your business provides address software, discuss the advantages of address-verification tools to interested audiences in relevant circumstances, such as businesses looking to market their products for the holidays. Online marketing allows you to get your message across instantly, so there’s no need to waste time creating evergreen content or responding to yesterday’s news.

Join the Conversation

Gone are the days when consumers sat back and soaked up marketing messages without response. The Internet put a microphone in any user’s hand, and social media turned up the volume. Through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, consumers can now respond to advertising claims and potentially pass it along to their closest friends.

The social media user base is still relatively young, and President Obama had a clear advantage on the biggest platforms. By the end of the campaign, Obama had more than 23 million followers on Twitter, compared with more than 1.7 million followers for Mitt Romney. With such a large following, the Obama campaign was able to release advertising content on Twitter and let followers spread the message themselves. With the current disdain for direct campaign advertising, a video or banner from a friend on Facebook or Twitter carries much more weight.

If you haven’t already, take a page out of the President’s playbook and start establishing your business’ social media presence. Facebook and Twitter offer business free opportunities to reach consumers.

Fairly new to the world of social media, Nicole Henneman was a web designer who became fascinated with the world of Twitter and sharing media. Her blog articles focus on how social media can leverage a site’s page rank.

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