President Obama’s groundbreaking social media campaign was partly credited for his 2008 success, but four years later, the game has certainly changed.
In 2008, Obama’s team made his website the center of a social networking universe with all channels pointing towards the page. Another primary pillar of his strategy was “one-way” email marketing to reach followers.
However, as the Internet is now a decidely more social place, Obama will have to re-evaluate and update his media campaign for the 2012 elections.
To be sure, the focus has shifted towards social media platforms and apps.
This presents a particular problem for political figures since such platforms are often more unruly than direct email or a wesbite that strategists can think about and control.
Responding to these changes, Obama’s campaign team recently re-launched barackobama.com with new social features.
For example, users can log in using their Facebook accounts – allowing them to more easily invite friends to the site.
Clearly, the new Obama site is all about social integration and sharing.
“I think every campaign is wrestling with how to tap and adapt to most of the activity occurring outside of traditional websites – occurring on the major social networking platforms,” explained Mindy Finn, a Republican new media strategist in former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s office.
Obama’s 2008 campaign blogger, Sam Graham-Felsen, expressed similar sentiments.
“Our main goal [in 2008] was to reach out to people in those communities, and get them to come to MyBo and get them to interact with our tools. I think this time though, everybody is on Facebook now,” he explained.
“With the new tools that will be available, when you’re out walking your dog, you can conceivably pull out the Obama app and find five houses in the neighborhood that are likely voters. [And] If you’re waiting at a bus stop, you could contact five voters while you’re hanging around doing nothing.”