The Presidential Run and Social Media

Although I am not a huge fan of politics, I am fascinated to see how Mitt Romney and President Obama have taken advantage of the campaigns in the digital arena, specifically in social media.

The first event that really stood out to me was when I came across Obama’s Reddit Live Chat. Obama took questions on Reddit for 30 minutes where people could ask him anything. Since there was a flood of questions (over 10,000) coming in, Obama had the ability to choose which questions to answer and responded to them through a genuine styled tone of voice.  As this chat was unannounced, he even tweeted an image of himself to his official Twitter account confirming the Reddit chat was true.
Read more here.

There are many things I like about this spontaneous effort. I loved how Obama didn’t have a team of writers shifting the style of his response. It came across real and genuine. I also love the fact that it was unplanned to the public, giving it more potential to go viral. After the official announcement online, people retweeted and jumped on Reddit to see the conversation. Although Obama only answered a total of ten questions, I really enjoyed the ones he did answer. For example, “What was the most difficult decision that you had to make during this term?” It’s an authentic question that made it seem like he was talking to a friend.

Although Obama’s social media audience numbers may be higher than reported in this article, it claims Mitt Romney’s audiences are more engaged on the platforms. Zac Moffatt, Digital Director of the Romney campaign, explains that if they only ran tv ads, they would be missing a large amount of audiences. It’s important to have a mix of campaign tactics to reach the most voters.  The way that the family members are using social media is also important to mention.

Romney’s immediate family is more engaged on digital than in the past, and this has meant greater exposure for the candidate to social media. Ann Romney was an early adopter of Pinterest. Romney’s sons are active on Twitter and Facebook. Romney even said himself, “It’s more often that something will occur, and he’s like, ‘We should get that out on Twitter,’”

From a social media campaign perspective, I have to give my social media vote to President Obama and his campaign.  I believe in this changing world, taking advantage of technology and using it in a smart and forward thinking way is something I would want a leader to understand. Having a family that likes to be on social media and having a Facebook page just doesn’t do it for me. I want to see more about how to use these tools in a strategic way to engage, build relationships and gain loyalty from an audience.  This world is becoming more social and I think our president should be on board the way the world is shifting.

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